Blue Jays' manager, GM disagree about Delgado

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Cito Gaston has said previously that he’d like the Blue Jays to bring back Carlos Delgado and MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports that the manager “spent time lobbying” for the move while appearing at a team function last night:

If there’s some way to bring Carlos back here, I’d love to see him back here, because he can do a lot of things as far as helping the young kids about knowing about hitting. We haven’t forgotten him. I’m a big Carlos fan. So it would be nice to have him back here and to see him also perhaps go into that Hall of Fame with a Blue Jays uniform on. That would be great.

Delgado would no doubt be open to rejoining the Blue Jays, especially now that the Mets are seemingly out of the picture, but the 38-year-old first baseman was limping around winter ball and general manager Alex Anthopoulos has made it pretty clear that he doesn’t agree with Gaston:

When you have a player of that magnitude and the success that [Delgago] has had you’re always going to talk about it and see, “Is there a scenario? Is there a potential fit?” As we sit here today, we’ve got Lyle Overbay at first base and our priority would be to have Adam Lind as more of a DH. What we’re trying to do is always try to build as competitive a team as we can, but one that will also not hinder or block or impede upon a young player that we think is going to be a part of the core.

Anthopoulos was perfectly willing to admit that the Blue Jays may have some interest in Johnny Damon, so the downplaying of a potential Delgado reunion isn’t just an example of a GM being coy. With that said, it’ll be interesting to see if Gaston can change his mind between now and spring training because at this point it looks like Delgado might be available to anyone willing to offer a minor-league deal.

Angels’ Pujols has foot surgery, could be sidelined 4 months

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols had surgery on his right foot Friday, possibly sidelining him past opening day.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler said Pujols had the procedure Friday in North Carolina to release his plantar fascia, the ligament connecting the heel to the toes. The three-time NL MVP was bothered by plantar fasciitis repeatedly during the season, but played through the pain in arguably the strongest year of his half-decade with the Angels.

Eppler said the surgery typically prevents players from participating in baseball activities for three months, along with another month before they’re ready to resume playing in games. Opening day for Los Angeles is April 3, and the Angels hope Pujols can be ready.

“He’s at that point in his career where he’s keenly aware of what’s happening with his body,” Eppler said in a phone interview. “I don’t put the timetable on Albert like you would with your younger players. We’ll just see in Albert’s case, as he progresses, what his timetable is.”

Pujols, who turns 37 next month, batted .268 last year with 31 homers and 119 RBIs, the fourth-most in the majors – although his .780 OPS was among the worst of his career. He largely served as a designated hitter instead of playing first base due to problems with his hamstrings and feet.

Pujols heads into 2017 with 591 career homers, ranking him ninth in major league history. He is 18 homers behind Sammy Sosa for eighth place.

After playing in pain until the final week of the Angels’ disappointing season, Pujols began shock wave therapy on his foot early in the offseason, believing he wouldn’t need surgery.

But Pujols’ foot became more painful in recent weeks despite the therapy, and he huddled with the Angels’ top brass to decide on surgery after his most recent trip to see Dr. Robert Anderson in North Carolina. Continuing with conservative care would have required 10 more weeks, forcing Pujols to miss the first half of the 2017 season if he still required surgery.

“He just felt that the pain had gotten to a point where he was comfortable” having surgery, Eppler said. “If we did delay it, you’re just looking at 2 1/2 more months into the season.”

Pujols had a different type of surgery on his right foot last winter, but recovered in time for opening day. He also had plantar fasciitis in his left foot during the 2013 season, eventually forcing him out for the year when his fascia snapped.

Pujols has five years and $140 million remaining on the 10-year, $240 million free-agent contract that pried him out of St. Louis, where he won two World Series and became a nine-time NL All-Star.

The Angels haven’t won a playoff game since Pujols’ arrival and Mike Trout‘s concurrent emergence as one of baseball’s best players. They went 74-88 last season, the injury-plagued club’s worst record since 1999.

Diamondbacks hire Mike Fitzgerald to head Research and Development department

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Mike Hazen, new Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Red Sox, addresses the media during a press conference to announce his promotion before the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park on September 24, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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According to an official announcement, the Diamondbacks have acquired former Pirates quantitative analyst Mike Fitzgerald as their new Director of Research and Development.

Fitzgerald joined the Pirates’ front office in 2012, where he frequently accompanied the team on the road to help breach the divide between analytics and the clubhouse. According to a profile written by Grantland’s Ben Lindbergh in 2014, Fitzgerald’s multifaceted approach brought balance and perspective to the organization, whether he was assisting coaches in making statistically sound decisions, optimizing the batting order, weighing in on scouting and personnel decisions, developing more effective defensive positioning, or keeping players and personnel appraised of the latest developments in sabermetrics.

In the wake of Fitzgerald’s departure, Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington praised the Diamondbacks for a smart acquisition and said that the club has every intention of finding a replacement analyst, albeit one who will have some big shoes to fill.