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February 19, 2005

TORONTO -- You know how some big league ballplayers will kick the chalk line around to re-draw the batter's box to better fit what they want as they step to the plate? Well, it's time for Batter's Box, formerly "Batter's Box Baseball Blog," to kick the technical chalk a little bit, expand its virtual space and continue to grow into its All-Star potential.

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It's official: the Toronto Blue Jays have acquired Shea Hillenbrand from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Adam Peterson. Hillenbrand presumably becomes the Blue Jays' full-time DH, spelling Eric Hinske at 1B now and again. And except for a few million dollars that may or may not be spent in the next several weeks, that's your 2004-05 Blue Jays' off-season.
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In unsurprising news Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandberg were elected to the Hall of Fame today.
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Bob Elliott reports in today's Toronto Sun that Blue Jay opening day hero Doug Ault passed away on Wednesday December 22, 2004. We offer our condolences to his family.
Batter's Box favourite Aaron "Named for Hank" Reynolds and his wife Vanessa were blessed with a baby boy early this morning. Further details will be forthcoming; the new parents have more important things to do right now.

I know I speak for all of us here at Batter's Box when I wish the entire Named for Hank family health and happiness for years to come.

Correction by Joe: Theodore was born late on the 23rd, not early on the 24th. An extra-early Christmas present!
ESPN has reported that the Jays have signed two of their major league players to contracts:

Justin Speier will receive $1.9 million in 2005 and $2.25 million in 2006. He made $1.6 million last season.

John McDonald will receive $400,000 in 2005. Last season with the Indians he made $324,400.
Peter Gammons of ESPN has reported that Mark Mulder has been sent to the Cardinals in exchange for pitchers Danny Haren and Kiko Calero, and catching prospect Daric Barton. (BBRRS: Treacle) So over the last two days the A's have:

SP Mark Mulder
SP Tim Hudson

SP Danny Haren
SP Dan Meyer
RP Kiko Calero
RP Juan Cruz
OF Charles Thomas
C Daric Barton (minors)
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With great sadness, we report that we've just learned that Bobby Mattick, the symbol and soul of the Blue Jays franchise, passed away last night at the age of 89.

For those who might not fully appreciate the role Bobby has played in the Blue Jays' franchise, consider these quotes:

"He means what the Blue Jays stand for since 1976." - Paul Godfrey
"I don't know where this organization would be without him." - Paul Beeston

Bobby, who filled virtually every important position on this ballclub from the day he joined it as an expansion team, spent 71 of his 89 years in baseball as a player, scout, manager and executive. The Jays have named their top minor-league awards and their spring-training facility in his honour. Gabe Paul once called him the finest judge of free agent talent ever. The list of players he recruited, signed and developed includes Frank Robinson, Curt Flood, Vida Pinson, Rusty Staub, Don Baylor, Tommy Harper, Bobby Grich and Dave Stieb.

We extend our deepest condolences to Bobby's family, friends and colleagues throughout baseball and especially with the Blue Jays, and our appreciation for all he has done for our favourite team. Please share your memories and appreciation of Bobby Mattick in this thread.
Spencer Fordin of has reported that the Jays have signed Scott Downs to a minor league deal. Expos fans will remember Downs as the guy they got from the Cubs in the Rondell White trade.

Downs will likely be a candidate for the #5 spot in the rotation. reports that Tom (Nasty) Mastny was sent to Cleveland to complete the trade for John McDonald.

It's a minor trade- a 23 year old pitcher who has just completed a successful year in the Sally League for a good glove, no hit shortstop. Digging a little deeper though, the trade seems to suggest to me that the Moneyball label does not always belong on these Jays, and sometimes could equally well be placed on the Indians.
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