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Kevin Gausman impresses teammates in first bullpen session with Blue Jays


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DUNEDIN, Fla. — A small crowd gathered as Kevin Gausman began his first official bullpen session as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Players, coaches, scouts, and reporters all slowed down or stopped nearby to watch Gausman pitching to catcher Reese McGuire on Monday at Toronto’s player development centre in Dunedin, Fla. Although other Blue Jays pitchers were also getting their work in, all eyes were on Gausman.

“It’s nerve-racking, to be sure,” said Gausman of being the centre of attention.

“Especially that netting’s not that high over there,” he added with a laugh, referring to protective fencing backstopping McGuire. “I wouldn’t stand back there too close. Especially early on, it’s spring.”

Jokes aside, Gausman’s first spring training session with the Blue Jays caught the eye of Charlie Montoyo, his new manager.

“He located his pitches on his first bullpen, always fun to watch,” said Montoyo, who whistled and wiggled his index finger back and forth to show the action on Gausman’s pitches.

“You know when you go ‘yes!’? One of those.”

Gausman agreed to a $110-million, five-year deal with Toronto on Nov. 30 after a 14-6 season with the San Francisco Giants. The right-handed pitcher had a 2.81 earned-run average over 192 innings in a major-league best 33 games started. He also struck out 227.

Expected to be a key member of Toronto’s rotation this season, Gausman said that every pitcher gets a lot of attention at their first bullpen session of spring training. He said that after working with only one or two people all winter it’s only natural for players to be curious about how their teammates have developed in the off-season.

Still, Gausman couldn’t deny that his blood was pumping after his workout.

“It’s the first time you get that adrenalin, it lets you know that yeah, spring training’s started,” he said. “You always get a little bit more sore after your first ‘pen here, more than any other you’ve thrown the whole off-season.”

One pitcher who particularly impressed Gausman was six-foot-six right-hander Nate Pearson, who has yet to play a full season in the bigs.

“Just a big body guy, throws 100, the ball just explodes out of his hand,” said Gausman, who is entering his 10th season in Major League Baseball. “Hopefully, I can help him out in any way. He seems like he’s just got to gain experience and figure out what works for him.”

Gausman isn’t sure what catcher will become his go-to battery partner for the regular season. Because it’s such an important relationship he wants to get to know McGuire, Danny Jansen, and Alejandro Kirk off the field first, starting with sitting beside them at breakfast in the Blue Jays’ cafeteria.

“I’m a little bit different than most guys that pitch, I’m up in the zone a lot,” he said. “So we’ll be talking about target, presentation.

“Some guys I like to have almost stand up straight and some guys are big enough bodies to where they can just kind of get on one knee and kind of give me a target but it’s kind of just figuring each other out.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 14, 2022.

John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press

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Canada donating four Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine

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Ottawa – Defence Minister Anita Anand says Canada will send four of its German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine “in the coming weeks.”

Anand announced the move this afternoon, making Canada the latest country to promise the heavy weapons to Ukraine.

Canada is also providing trainers, spare parts and ammunition, while Anand left open the possibility of sending more Leopards in the future.

Ukraine has implored Western allies to send such weapons for weeks as its forces struggle to make gains against Russia.

But Canada was unable to respond until Germany agreed on Wednesday that countries could re-export their Leopards.

The Leopards that Canada is donating are among the 112 currently owned by the Canadian Army, which includes 82 designed specifically for combat.

Retired military officers had warned that any donation would have an impact on the Army and will need to be replaced, given that the fleet is already stretched thin.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2023.

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No more expensing home internet bills to taxpayers, Pierre Poilievre’s caucus told

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Ottawa – Members of Pierre Poilievre’s Conservative caucus have been told they are no longer allowed to charge taxpayers for home internet services.

As first reported by the National Post, a breakdown of recent expenses shows 31 Tory MPs have charged taxpayers for home internet services for either themselves or staff.

A spokeswoman for the House of Commons says that is allowed under existing rules for members of Parliament, who can expense the fees through their office budgets.

No rules have been broken, but the opposition whip’s office told MPs that a new policy has been set for caucus, according to a recent email obtained by The Canadian Press.

The email says after a discussion with Poilievre, it has been decided no caucus member or employee can expense home internet costs.

The message says if the party expects Canadians to see Conservatives as responsible financial stewards, “we must lead by example.”

Kerry-Lynne Findlay, the chief opposition whip, says in a statement that given the high cost of living, “we do not expect that taxpayers should be left paying the bill for the home internet” of MPs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2023.

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