Approximately 3 seconds after the Blue Jays deal to acquire Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson,Emilio Bonifacio, and Mark Buehrle, from the Miami Marlins was finalized Toronto fans started their countdown.  Saturday marks one of those important dates on many fans calendars as the Jays open their exhibition schedule against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Florida.


Toronto’s exhibition schedule includes five weeks of 33 more Grapefruit League match-ups before the long-awaited, sold out in an hour, April 2nd opening night.  The team has been in Dunedin(at the Blue Jays training facility) for some time, and the players are just as excited as the fans to get the games going.


“This gets old,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “I mean you’ve got to do it, but four days of live BP (batting practice), that kind of gets a little monotonous now.  And they’re ready to go.  Fans want to see it, everybody wants to see it.  Then you can see how the team’s playing and go from there, what do we need to work on and that kind of thing.”


Gibbons has his work cut out for him trying to acclimate so many new faces into the Blue Jays ranks.  Along with the players acquired in the Miami deal Toronto has had a busy off-season, signing free agent infielder Maicer Izturis, and trading for reigning Cy Young award winner R.A. Dickey.  The Blue Jays also signed controversial outfielder, and previously PED (performance enhancing drug) suspended Melky Cabrera.


With the new acquisitions has come a huge jump in payroll and expectation not seen in these parts in two decades.  Multiple Las Vegas Books have the Blue Jays as the odds on favourites to win the World Series, a tall order for a team coming off a 73-89 season even with all the incoming talent.


Right-hander Brandon Morrow is slated to start  for one inning Saturday, and he is expected to be followed by Brad Lincoln, Steve Delabar and Esmil Rogers.


Canadian third baseman Brett Lawrie will headline the position players on the road trip to nearby Lakeland.  He is expected to be joined by Adam Lind, J.P. Arencibia, Emilio Bonifacio, Maicer Izturis and others.

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