Did the Blue Jays go after a reporter they don't like?

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There’s a chilling little story coming out of Toronto as Mike
Wilner, who covers the Blue Jays for Toronto’s The Fan 590-AM, was suspended for the team’s weekend series against the Yankees following a confrontation with Jays manager Cito
Gaston last week.  The “brief but tense” exchange happened on Wednesday, when Wilner asked Gaston about his bullpen usage. The reason his suspension is chilling is because both the Blue Jays and the radio station are owned by Rogers Communications.

Did someone at the team complain to Rogers execs about Wilner’s questioning of Gaston, leading to his suspension? That’s what the sources to the various reports of the event are suggesting. Though it would be strange if Wednesday’s thing — which most reports I’ve read described as a bit tense, but nothing crazy — was the kicker, as Wilner has been highly critical and often downright hostile to Gaston in the past. Indeed, earlier this season he either felt the need or was forced to apologize to Gaston on his blog for his sharp comments relating to Lyle Overbay.

I don’t know what happened behind the scenes here, but I hope that neither the the Jays nor Gaston had anything to do with this. Sure, no one likes to be criticized, but you gotta have a thicker skin about this stuff, and going after the media like this makes you look really bad.

Same goes for Rogers too, who I hope would realize that a conglomerate can’t expect its media holdings to have any credibility if they are punished for criticizing the sports teams they are tasked with covering. A certain decorum can be expected, sure, but if your media guys can’t ask tough questions, they’re basically a glorified P.R. department, aren’t they?

Now, let me give you a piece of mind about Bill Cosby, Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Bob Costas and the entire cast of “The Office” . . .

The Tigers are trying to convert Anthony Gose into a pitcher

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Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.

While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.

Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.

Stephen Strasburg is the Nationals’ Opening Day starter

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Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg will take the mound for the club on Opening Day, manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. The news is hardly surprising given Max Scherzer’s questionable status this spring, though it had yet to be confirmed by the club.

Strasburg is approaching his eighth run with the club in 2017. He went 15-4 in 2016, finishing the year with a 3.60 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 in 147 2/3 innings. This will mark his fourth Opening Day assignment with the Nationals.

Scherzer, the Nationals’ Opening Day starter in both 2015 and 2016, is scheduled to make his season debut sometime during the first week of the season. The right-hander is expected to take things more slowly this spring as he finishes rehabbing a stress fracture in his finger.

The Nationals will open their season against the Marlins on April 3.