The Blue Jays lay off workers

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Ten months ago, the Blue Jays laid off 40 people in their front office. Yesterday, they laid off more:

Another round of layoffs hit the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday, as cuts were made all across the business side of the organization. Interim CEO Paul Beeston, just back in the office after a vacation, said the total number of cuts was less than two dozen although he would not divulge a specific figure.

“The number was significant,” Beeston said from his office. “It’s not a pleasant thing to do but we felt it was necessary to ensure the long-term health of the organization.”

The Jays attendance went down by about 600,000 this year. They’re also  owned by a media company — Rogers Communications — that has been hit particularly hard by the recession, so it’s understandable that they’re in financial trouble. Oh, and staring at a guaranteed $11 million raise for Vernon Wells in 2010 doesn’t help matters.

Given that they’re feeling the need to lay off people who make less than a million bucks combined, you have to figure that they’re going to take every opportunity this offseason to make cuts where it really matters: Finally trading Roy Halladay, for one thing. Getting a new G.M. that makes less money than Ricciardi for another.

No matter what they do, we’re entering a long, dark and depressing period for Blue Jays fans.

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.