TORONTO -- The Blue Jays are open to the idea of eventually playing exhibition games in Montreal and various cities across Canada.
Toronto president Paul Beeston said his club would consider playing games on the road at the end of Spring Training. He thinks it would be a way to showcase not only the Blue Jays, but also the sport.
"I think it's good for us, I think it's good for baseball in Canada," said Beeston, who added he does not have a timeline for when this initiative might take place.
"Everyone forgets the number of quality players that are coming out of this country right now, and the more that we can expose professional baseball across the country, I think, the better it is for getting people to play the game."
Toronto has been down this road before. When the club first came into existence in 1977, and through the early 1980s, there were times the Blue Jays traveled across Canada for exhibition games.
In the past, the Blue Jays have played at the end of Spring Training in cities like Vancouver, Ottawa and even a failed attempt in Saint John, New Brunswick, that had to be cancelled because of snow.
Montreal would appear to be the most realistic possibility this time around, because the city has Olympic Stadium. The Expos played there for 27 years before moving to Washington. While the stadium hasn't been used for baseball since 2004, it's possible some modifications could be made.
"Even the concept of Montreal being talked about as some type of game being played is exciting," Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "Even that it came up as a scenario is exciting, and hopefully it won't end there. There are other places that can get talked about."
Escobar sent to hospital after hitting head
TORONTO -- Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar was sent to the hospital to undergo a series of tests after suffering a head injury during Wednesday night's 5-3 win against the Athletics.
Escobar hit his head while sliding into third base during the bottom of the fifth. The 28-year-old drove a triple to deep right field, and when he dove head first into third base he collided with A's third baseman Andy LaRoche's knee.
The Cuban native was removed from the game one inning later for precautionary reasons after experiencing dizziness.
"He'll be taken in for some precautionary tests because of the dizziness that he suffered on that slide, just to rule out any concussion symptoms or anything along those lines," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.
After the collision at third, Escobar grabbed his helmet and remained on the ground for a couple of minutes. He was examined by the club's medical staff but remained in the game and came out to play defense the following inning.
"The on-field tests that [assistant medical trainer] Hap Hudson administered, we felt like it was safe for him to continue, but we kept a close eye on him in that next half inning, and it was clear that there [were] some abnormal reactions -- just to basically keep a clear mind," Farrell said.
"We had him examined after that half inning, and it was determined at that point, because of the dizziness, our medical staff said it was best to have him removed, which we did."
Escobar's status for Thursday's game against the Athletics won't be known until the results from his medical tests are revealed.
He had started the season as one of Toronto's hottest hitters. In five games, Escobar's batting .474 with one home run and three RBIs.
Blue Jays out of running on Cuban prospect
TORONTO -- Top Cuban prospect Leonys Martin can be scratched off the list of international free agents the Blue Jays are potentially interested in.
The 23-year-old outfielder reportedly is on the verge of signing a multiyear contract with the Rangers. Toronto had previously been linked to Martin through multiple online reports.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos would not comment on whether he was seriously considering Martin, but did admit he was at least on the Blue Jays' radar.
"Like a lot of the international and Latin players, we scouted him, were aware of him," Anthopoulos said. "I had heard he was close to signing or it was done, something to [that] effect, a few days ago. But we had scouted him like any other team."
Martin was a reserve player for the Cuban team at the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He defected the following year while attending the World University Baseball Championships in Taiwan.
He reportedly doesn't hit for a lot of power but possesses good speed with above average defense. He is expected to start his career in the Minor Leagues, but is not that far off from being ready for the big leagues.
Anthopoulos wouldn't answer any specific questions about Martin, but he did say his team continues to try to acquire as many assets as possible.
Even though Toronto has Travis Snider, Rajai Davis and Jose Bautista firmly entrenched in the outfield, with top prospect Anthony Gose on the way, that doesn't mean the club would hesitate to pull the trigger on top international free agents that play a similar position.
"Things change so fast," Anthopoulos said. "Trades present themselves, we signed Adeiny Hechavarria in the offseason and then Yunel Escobar became available. We were not, not going to acquire Yunel because we had Adeiny. It's a great problem to have.
"You let it sort itself out, because as much as you believe in a prospect, they're still just a prospect. There could be health issues, they could still not perform, so you have a lot of time in baseball."
Stewart to start season with New Hampshire
TORONTO -- Blue Jays top prospect Zach Stewart will start his season at Double-A New Hampshire for the second consecutive year.
Stewart went 8-3 with a 3.63 ERA while striking out 106 over 136 1/3 innings for the Fisher Cats in 2010. He was second on the club in starts (26), ERA, innings pitched and strikeouts.
Despite the impressive numbers, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos felt it was best for Stewart to return to Double-A. Part of that reason is because Triple-A Las Vegas plays in the Pacific Coast League, which is notoriously tough on pitchers.
"We talked about that at length," Anthopoulos said. "We figured with a guy like Zach it won't be the worst thing in the world to continue to work on certain things, because we know it's a tough environment in Las Vegas."
Stewart will still receive consideration for a promotion to the Major Leagues later in the season. The club is fully prepared to have him skip Triple-A, just like Kyle Drabek did last season, and Jesse Litsch did in 2007.
"We told him such," Anthopoulos said. "If he's throwing well and he's the most deserving guy, we have no problem calling him up."