TORONTO [PeterPaul.ca] — The new look Toronto Blue Jays take to the field at Rogers Centre to begin one of the most anticipated seasons in franchise history against the Cleveland Indians Tuesday night.
The Blue Jays, who signed some of the most visible baseball stars in the league including the likes of Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, Mark Buehrle and Melky Cabrera during the off-season, will send knuckleballer R.A. Dickey [20-6 with a 2.73 ERA in 2012] to the mound against Cleveland’s Justin Masterson [11-15 with a 4.17 ERA in 2012].
Game time is set for 7:07 p.m. and the first 45,000 fans entering the stadium will receive a rally pom. Upon exit, another 45,000 fans will receive a magnet schedule. The giveaways are the beginning of the Jays’ promotions schedule for 2013.
In addition, “Courtesy of Honda Canada, three lucky baseball fans will be awarded one of three exciting prizes during the game, including a new 2013 Honda CR-V EX-L AWD, a 2013 Honda sport bike and a Honda lawn care kit,” an article on the team’s website said.
The revamped line-up for Tuesday’s opener follows but will not be made official until it is handed to the umpire at game time:
1. SS: Jose Reyes
2. LF: Melky Cabrera
3. RF: Jose Bautista
4. 1B: Edwin Encarnacion
5. DH: Adam Lind
6. C: J.P. Arencibia
7. CF: Colby Rasmus
8. 3B: Maicer Izturis
9. 2B: Emilio Bonifacio
The team will begin the season with 13 pitchers—five whom are on the disabled list—two catchers, six infielders, and four outfielders. Third baseman Brett Lawrie is on the 15 day DL followed by RHP Dustin McGowan and RHP Michael Schwimer—both of whom are on the 60 DL.
Blue Jay fans all over the city dawned their team regalia Tuesday unlike seasons past from jackets, t-shirts and baseball hats.
Toronto is looking to improve on its 73-89 record in 2012 when they finished fourth place.
“I think we recognize, the baseball world recognizes, that we should have a good ballclub,” said team manager John Gibbons. “We just have to step up and answer the bell. That won’t be easy, because there are a lot of good teams in the league. But there’s no doubt, there’s definitely a different atmosphere than I’ve ever experienced here,” he added.