Gathright catches Blue Jays' interest
Outfielder a possibility to fill Toronto's leadoff man slot
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Blue Jays definitely have some interest in Joey Gathright, but the club has not signed the speedy outfielder as one report indicated early Thursday morning. At this point, Toronto is merely discussing a deal with Gathright.
"Gathright is a player that we're interested in. That's all I can say," Blue Jays assistant general manager Tony LaCava said on Thursday. "We haven't been able to secure him yet, but I think a lot of teams are interested in Gathright."
On Thursday morning, general manager Alex Anthopoulos left the Winter Meetings before speaking with reporters. A report in the Toronto Sun claimed that the Jays had signed Gathright on Wednesday night. Anthopoulos responded to an e-mail, saying only that there was "nothing to announce."
It has been Anthopoulos' policy not to comment about rumors or speculation. For the most part, LaCava did the same when asked about Toronto's progress with any discussions that took place this week at the Meetings. Asked if Gathright might be considered for the Jays' vacant leadoff role, LaCava shrugged his shoulders.
"It remains to be seen," LaCava said. "I don't want to go too much further. We're talking to him, and he's obviously a guy with speed and that's something that would be attractive to us. But we haven't finished anything. We're talking to him and his agents, as are other teams."
It was not clear whether the Jays were discussing a Major or Minor League contract with Gathright.
Gathright, 28, had stops with the Cubs, Orioles and Red Sox organizations in 2009, hitting .267 with nine runs scored in 37 games between big league stints with Chicago and Boston. The speedy outfielder was traded twice during the season and spent the majority of the year in the Minor Leagues.
After Chicago dealt Gathright to Baltimore in May, the left-handed-hitting outfielder hit .325 with 11 doubles, 20 RBIs, 24 stolen bases and 50 runs scored over 83 games between tours with Triple-A Norfolk (Baltimore) and Triple-A Pawtucket (Boston). The Red Sox traded for Gathright in August and he hit .313 with a .353 on-base percentage in 17 big league games with the club.
In parts of six Major League seasons over his career, including stops with the Rays and Royals, Gathright has hit .263 with a .327 on-base percentage.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.