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Series preview: Red Sox return to Toronto, resume AL East slate 04.30.13 at 1:26 pm ET
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The Red Sox will head north of the border for the second time already this year to open up a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays will come into Tuesday a startling 9 1/2 games behind the first-place Red Sox, who own the best record in baseball and are looking to set the new club record for wins in April after matching a previous franchise high in concluding a four-game sweep against the Astros. The Sox are coming off a 10-game homestand (their longest of the season) in which they went 7-3.

Many baseball experts picked the Toronto Blue Jays to take the AL East title, with some predicting they’€™d win the pennant, if not the World Series. But the Blue Jays have not gotten off to the kind of start they would have liked or anticipated, heading into the last game of April in the cellar of the division with a 9-17 record. Toronto is coming home after a 1-6 roadtrip, capped by a four-game sweep in New York at the hands of the Yankees. The Jays have won only one of their series so far this year, taking two from the Royals earlier in the month (the only time they’€™ve won back-to-back games).

To say the Jays have been disappointing thus far would be an understatement. The roster has been ravaged by injuries both minor and major, from soreness limiting starters like Josh Johnson and R.A. Dickey to the loss of star shortstop Jose Reyes for three months due to a severely sprained ankle. But the biggest problem has been a general lack of performance. At the start of play on Monday, the Jays were as far from first place as the Marlins were in the NL East. The Astros were actually a half a game closer to the division lead than the Jays, trailing the AL West-leading Rangers by nine games.

It’€™s hard to pinpoint where Toronto’€™s biggest weaknesses have been. They’€™re in the bottom third of many offensive categories, including OPS, runs scored and batting average. Their pitching hasn’€™t been much better; the staff had the fourth highest ERA in the majors at the start of Monday’€™s games. With that being said, here are the matchups for the upcoming three-game series.

THE MATCHUPS Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adam lind, Blue Jays, brandon morrow, casey janssen
J.P. Arencibia talks John Farrell’s leadership, Jerod Mayo’s eyesight 12.03.12 at 7:35 pm ET
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NASHVILLE,  Tenn. ‘€“ Major League players don’€™t typically swing on by the winter meetings.

There are exceptions, such as when a player needs to talk shop with a team, or if there is the desire to be integrated into the decision-making aspect of organizations. Former Red Sox pitcher Bryan Corey, for instance, was in the lobby at the Gaylord Resort looking for a scouting job after ending a career that finished with stops in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Mexico City and the Atlantic League.

But J.P. Arencibia’€™s presence was purely out of convenience.

The Toronto catcher, who attended the University of Tennessee, lives in town and decided to swing by to catch up with the world of baseball. While making the rounds, Arencibia took time to comment on two chief topics ‘€“ Red Sox John Farrell and Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo:

WHAT WAS FARRELL’€™S BEST ATTRIBUTE AS A MANAGER?

With me the one thing I respect the most about him, among other things, is you always knew where you stood. As a player I think that’€™s important. I always had the opportunity to walk into his office and if I had a question he was going to answer it 100 percent honestly, and I think that’€™s something for me I respected every day. When I came to work I knew exactly where I stood.

WERE YOU SURPRISED WHEN FARRELL WAS TRADED?

I didn’€™t really look too much into it. I just know he had gotten traded. It’€™s unfortunate because I had a good relationship with him, so obviously I wish him well, but not too much. I would tell him, ‘€˜Good luck,’€™ but I can’€™t because he’€™s in our division.

DO YOU THINK FARRELL LEARNED FROM HIS TIME WITH THE BLUE JAYS?

I think from the first year to the next year that’€™s what you have to do. This game is tough. A lot of people can make calls from the sidelines. When you’€™re actually in the game and having to make decisions yourself, the game is fast. He’€™s learned and grown in his own. He’€™s a good manager and he’€™s going to continue to improve, just like everybody else continues to improve in this game.

DOES ANYTHING ABOUT MAYO’€™S SUCCESS SURPRISE YOU?

It doesn’€™t surprise me for the fact that I saw him when he was a freshman in college and we lived in the dorm together and he was the first guy in the weight room every day. Then when we went back in there to get treatment he was still in the weight room doing two-a-days on his own. I knew from Day 1 with that work ethic and his talent he was going to be one of the best.

DID HE ALWAYS PRESENT A LEADER-TYPE QUALITY?

From when I knew him, he’€™s always had a quiet confidence. Being able to see him where he’€™s at now, just talking to him, how much more mature he is and knowing that role as a leader, he’€™s embraced it. Not only could he lead by the way he talks, but he also leads by example because he’€™s always been one of the hardest workers I’€™ve ever known.

ARE YOU SURPRISED MAYO HAS LANDED A LASER-EYE SURGERY SPONSORSHIP?

We never talked about his eyesight.

Read More: 2012 Hot Stove, J.P. Arencibia, Jerod Mayo, John Farrell
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