Joey Votto’s status in limbo for World Baseball Classic

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Joey Votto is hoping to play for Team Canada in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, but he underwent knee surgery last summer and must pass a physical for insurance purposes before he’s given the go-ahead. This according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.

“We have every reason to believe there will be no issue whatsoever,” Team Canada’s manager, Greg Hamilton, told reporters on Saturday. That physical will presumably take place in a couple of weeks.

Votto hit .337/.474/.567 with 14 home runs and 56 RBI in 111 games last season for Cincinnati. He owns an exceptional .316/.415/.553 career MLB batting line.

If he’s cleared to play, the 29-year-old native of Toronto will join a roster that already includes Brett Lawrie, Justin Morneau, Russell Martin, Michael Saunders, John Axford and Jesse Crain. Ryan Dempster was extended an invitation but is probably going to stay in camp all spring with his new Red Sox teammates.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.