Nationals sign ex-Braves catcher Suzuki to 2-year deal: report

Catcher Kurt Suzuki is heading back to the Washington Nationals after agreeing to a two-year, $10-million US free-agent contract, a deal pending a successful physical. The deal was disclosed to The Associated Press on Monday by a person familiar with the agreement who spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract was not yet official. The 35-year-old Suzuki would get $4 million next year and $6 million in 2020, up from $3.5 million last season, his second with the Atlanta Braves. He became a free agent after batting .271 this past season with 12 homers and 50 runs batted in as

Bills QB Josh Allen returning to starting lineup Sunday

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen will make his return to the starting lineup this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Head coach Sean McDermott made the announcement on Monday. Allen missed four games after suffering an elbow injury in Buffalo’s Week 6 loss to the Houston Texans. “I’m excited to see him back on the field,” McDermott said. The Bills used three different starters — Derek Anderson Nathan Peterman, and Matt Barkley — during Allen’s four-game absence. Barkley started for Buffalo against the Jets and provided the team with its best performance under centre this season. He threw for 232 yards, two touchdowns and

Late pitcher Halladay among new names on Hall of Fame ballot

Career saves leader Mariano Rivera and late pitcher Roy Halladay are among 20 new candidates on the Hall of Fame ballot for the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, joined by 15 holdovers headed by Edgar Martinez. One of the best pitchers to wear a Blue Jays uniform, Halladay was killed last November when his small plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico. He was 40. Halladay, nicknamed Doc, was with Toronto from 1998-2009, winning 148 games and the 2003 Cy Young Award as the American League’s best pitcher. He won the National League Cy Young in 2010 after being traded to Philadelphia

Wheelchair Doubles Masters: Louise Hunt & Dana Mathewson lose final

Hunt competed at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics Great Britain’s Louise Hunt and her American partner Dana Mathewson lost the women’s Wheelchair Doubles Masters final in the Netherlands. The pair lost 6-3 6-1 to Dutch pair Marjolein Buis and Aniek van Koot. Hunt and Mathewson had beaten Buis and Van Koot in a group match but found them too strong in the final. Briton Lucy Shuker and her partner Diede de Groot won the third place play-off 6-0 6-1 against Katharina Kruger and Michaela Spaanstra. The Masters is the ITF’s final doubles championship tour event of the year. Inspired to

Canada defeats St. Kitts & Nevis in CONCACAF Nations League qualifier

Captain Atiba Hutchinson’s goal late in the first half lifted Canada to a 1-0 victory over St. Kitts & Nevis on Sunday in CONCACAF Nations League qualifying play. The win was the fourth straight for coach John Herdman since he took over the Canadian men in January. His team has outscored the opposition 15-0 in the process. As expected, the well-organized Sugar Boys proved to be a tougher test than the U.S. Virgin Island and Dominica, whom the Canadians dispatched by a combined score of 13-0 in their two previous matches. “It was a resilient performance,” said Herdman. “At times

Danny Willett ends 953-day wait for victory at final European Tour event of the season

Danny Willett ended his 953-day wait for victory (Image: GETTY) Despite a near disaster at the last, Willett managed to brilliantly save par and a round of 68 and win by two shots with an 18-under par total. Fellow and reigning Masters champion, Patrick Reed (70) and England’s Matt Wallace (68) shared second on 16-under par. The win is Willett’s second victory in Dubai after claiming the 2016 Omega Dubai Desert Classic but a first since April that same year when he superbly won the Masters. Though there was an anxious moment for the 31-year-old when his drive on the

A new superstar has arrived – Becker says Zverev’s win is a watershed moment

Highlights: Dominant Zverev beats Djokovic to win ATP Finals Alexander Zverev stunned Novak Djokovic to win the season-ending ATP Finals on Sunday, earning the 21-year-old the biggest win of his career. Six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker, who coached Djokovic to six major titles between 2014 and 2016, watched the match as a BBC Sport commentator. He explains why his fellow German’s victory over the world number one is a significant moment. Alexander Zverev winning the ATP Finals is a moment which the whole tennis world has been waiting for. For years we have been saying tennis needs new faces

ATP Tour Final: Alexander Zverev stuns Novak Djokovic to win ATP Finals in London

Watch the moment 21-year old Alexander Zverev seals a surprise 6-4 6-3 straight sets victory over world number one Novak Djokovic with a sublime forehand passing shot to win the ATP Tour title at the O2 Arena in London. REPORT: Zverev stuns Novak Djokovic to win ATP Finals in London Available to UK users only. BBC Sport

Alexander Zverev stuns Novak Djokovic to win ATP Finals in London

Alexander Zverev beats Novak Djokovic to win the ATP Tour final Alexander Zverev stunned world number one Novak Djokovic in straight sets to win the season-ending ATP Finals and earn the biggest victory of his career. Djokovic, 31, was the heavy favourite to win a sixth finals title but was outclassed 6-4 6-3 by the German. Third seed Zverev broke Djokovic for a 5-4 lead in the first set and then served three big aces to take the set. Zverev, 21, continued to dominate in the second set and sealed a memorable victory as Djokovic faltered. “I’m unbelievable happy, obviously

GB’s Cotterill & Lapthorne lose Masters final

Antony Cotterill and Andy Lapthorne were the top seeds in Bemmel Great Britain’s Antony Cotterill and Andy Lapthorne were lost the men’s Wheelchair Doubles Masters quads final in straight sets to Nick Taylor and David Wagner. The American pair won 6-4 7-6 in the Netherlands – their fifth victory in eight meetings with the top seeds. Bryan Barten and Ymanitu Silva beat Greg Hasterok and Lucas Sithole 6-4 6-2 in the bronze medal match. Cotterill and Lapthorne last won the event in 2016. Briton Gordon Reid and Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez were beaten in the semi-finals of the men’s doubles by

Outgoing Blue Jays manager John Gibbons: ‘It’s probably time for change’

The respected John Gibbons, with his laid-back demeanour and Texas drawl, is leaving Toronto for a second and, likely, final time as Blue Jays manager.

The 56-year-old, who held court with reporters alongside general manager Ross Atkins for more than 25 minutes ahead of Wednesday afternoon’s final home game of the season against Houston, has mutually agreed with team management to part ways with the team he first joined in 2002 as a bullpen catcher.

“It’s probably time for change. We both agreed the time is right,” said Gibbons, adding he isn’t ready to retire as a major-league manager and would like to stay in the game, perhaps in a special assignment role.

Gibbons, who has a year remaining on his contract, considered himself fortunate to have remained in the job after Atkins replaced Alex Anthopoulos in December 2015.

“I can’t thank him enough for keeping me around,” he said of Atkins. “And he put a lot of money in my back pocket, so that’s not that bad, either.”

The 71-87 Blue Jays entered play Wednesday fourth in the American League East standings, 35.5 games behind first-place Boston.

I actually think I’m the perfect guy for a rebuild, but I don’t know if I have the energy.— Blue Jays manager John Gibbons

It’s believed Toronto management wants its own man, while Gibbons, who was hired for a second time as manager in 2012 by Anthopoulos, had hinted in August that he would prefer not to manage a team through a rebuild.

Atkins said it’s “time for a new approach, a new voice” but stopped short of addressing what else he is seeking in Gibbons’ successor.

“I actually think I’m the perfect guy for a rebuild, but I don’t know if I have the energy,” said Gibbons, a former major league catcher in the mid-1980s with the New York Mets.

‘We finally became relevant again’

Gibbons, who will finish the season this weekend at Tampa Bay, is second to Cito Gaston in franchise history in games (1,578) and wins (791) among managers. He also led Toronto to two of its seven trips to the post-season, memorable runs that ended in losses in the 2015 and 2016 AL Championship Series.

Watch Gibbons discuss Toronto’s rebuild:

John Gibbons speaks with the Toronto media ahead of his final game managing the Blue Jays at home. 0:57

“It all came together [in 2015] and we finally became relevant again. We got close to getting to the World Series,” Gibbons said of the team reaching the post-season for the first time since 1993. “To do that when you’re the manager, since that’s the ultimate goal, that’s what stands out.”

After taking the Jays to a pair of World Series championships in 1992 and 1993, Gaston took over from the fired Gibbons in June 2008 with the Jays in a 4-13 funk. But the latter returned a little more than four years later, replacing John Farrell, who left for his “dream job” of managing the Boston Red Sox.

If you can’t play baseball for John Gibbons, you can’t play for anyone.— Former Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi

Before Wednesday, Gibbons had posted a 791-787 regular-season record in 11 years managing Toronto across two tenures.

In 2004, he was promoted to first-base coach when skipper Carlos Tosca took over from ex-Blue Jays backstop-turned broadcaster Buck Martinez. Gibbons was appointed interim manager when Tosca was let go that August and had that tag lifted two months later.

Run-ins with players

“If you can’t play baseball for John Gibbons, you can’t play for anyone,” J.P. Ricciardi, his former minor-league roommate and ex-Blue Jays GM, said at the time.

The easygoing and sometimes self-deprecating John Gibbons is known as a manager who lets his players play and treats them like men. (Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

However, the man affectionately referred to as Gibby has had a few run-ins with his charges over the years.

In 2006, disgruntled designated hitter Shea Hillenbrand wrote, “The ship is sinking” and “Play for yourself” on a display board in the Blue Jays clubhouse. Gibbons confronted the player and reportedly challenged him to a fight, three days before Hillenbrand was traded to San Francisco.

Watch Gibbons get a standing ovation on Wednesday:

After formally announcing he won’t return to the Blue Jays in 2019, manager John Gibbons delivers his lineup card for the final time at Rogers Centre. 2:12

Dugout incident

A month later, Toronto starting pitcher Ted Lilly was staked to an 8-0 lead, but was visited on the mound by Gibbons after allowing five runs in the third inning. Lilly initially didn’t give him the ball to the manager to signal his exit from the game and, after the left-hander begrudgingly walked off the field, Gibbons followed him into the clubhouse tunnel, where they engaged in a shoving match.

Considered a player’s manager, the Blue Jays’ John Gibbons has had differences of opinion with some over the years, including pitcher Ted Lilly in a Aug. 21, 2006, game against Oakland. (Aaron Harris/Canadian Press/File)

Gibbons said he doesn’t have any regrets from his time in Toronto.

“I’m sure there’s many things I could have done differently,” he said. “The only thing I can say is I’m a fair guy.”

Last month in New York, Blue Jays centre-fielder Kevin Pillar attempted to steal third base with his team trailing 6-2 to the Yankees and was thrown out. Gibbons screamed at him for about 30 seconds in the dugout before expressing how much he respects the defensive wizard as a player and person.

Gibbons ‘a dad away from home’ for Pillar

“He’s the only manager I’ve ever played for [in the big leagues],” Pillar, 29, told the Toronto Sun this week. “I feel like he’s always been in my corner, despite the mistakes I’ve made on and off the field.

“He believed in me, maybe when other people didn’t, and that’s something I’ll always respect him for. He’s kind of been a dad away from home.”

Watch Gibbons discuss the season:

John Gibbons speaks with the Toronto media ahead of his final game managing the Blue Jays at home. 2:18

Following his first stint in Toronto, Gibbons served as bench coach with the Kansas City Royals for three seasons and managed the San Diego Padres’ double-A affiliate in San Antonio, where he was raised.

Gibbons believes the Blue Jays could be a contender in the near future and suggested management take a conservative approach.

“You never know how long that’s going to take,” he said of a rebuild. “It’s always good to inject some youth and energy and there are some good-looking, young kids [in the Blue Jays’ system]. Only time will tell but it’s definitely not an easy division.”

About The Author


Get more stuff like this
in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.