Notes from Florida: Leroux, Siddall, Fregosi

* Chris Leroux (Mississauga, Ont.), who pitched two scoreless innings in his spring debut against his former team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, is battling for a bullpen spot with the New York Yankees. .... 2014 Canadians in College Letters of Intent 2014 Canadian draft list 2013 Canadians in the Minors  2015 Canadian draft list

By Bob Elliott

DUNEDIN -- All Chris Leroux wanted was a chance to pitch for his hometown team.

“I wanted to sign with the Blue Jays this winter,” said the Mississauga right-hander. “They had no intention of signing me. I spoke with (general manager) Alex Anthopoulos and he said that they were stacked with young starters.”

Leroux, 29, pitched in two games with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and went 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in five starts with the Yakult Swallows in Japan. He walked 11 and struck out 14 in 22 innings. He had a very impressive stint in winter ball as a starter.

Masahiro Tanaka’s arrival filled the Yanks rotation, but there is competition for the bullpen spots. With Mariano Rivera retiring, David Robertson takes over the closer’s role.

Matt Thornton, Shawn Kelly, plus either David Phelps or Adam Warren (whomever loses a job for a starting role) have jobs along with Robertson.

Along with Leroux, who pitched two scoreless against the Pirates in his spring debut, Preston Claiborne, Fred Lewis, Mashiro Tanka, Yoshinori Tateyma and Matt Daley will battle for the other three or four spots, depending upon manager Joe Girardi, in the bullpen.


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Now that it’s official, what does rookie Joe Siddall’s veteran partner think?

“For someone with zero experience in the broadcast booth, I was both amazed and pleased at how well Joe did,” said Jerry Howarth on Siddall’s first broadcast as a full-time employee, as the Blue Jays met the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.

“Of all the people I’ve worked with who are new to the position of analyst, he was the most comfortable and most natural I’ve ever been partnered with.”

Mike Wilner, Howarth and Siddall will bring listeners the 162-game Jays season on Sportsnet The Fan 590. The opener is March 31 at Tropicana Field against the Tampa Bay Rays.


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Gord Ash, not Roy Halladay, will represent the Blue Jays at the celebration of life for Jim Fregosi before and after the Atlanta Braves-Philadelphia Phillies game on Wednesday.

Ash hired Fregosi in the spring of 1999 to replace Tim Johnson.