01/11/13 4:08 PM ET
In Saskatoon, Blue Jays contribute to training facility
Proceeds totaling $21,000 from Winter Tour Luncheon will go toward SMBA building
By Zack Meisel / MLB.com
General manager Alex Anthopoulos and four players -- catcher J.P. Arencibia, outfielders Colby Rasmus and Anthony Gose and pitcher Drew Hutchison -- spoke to fans at the Delta Bessborough Saskatoon about the upcoming season at the inaugural luncheon as part of the Winter Tour, presented by TD. Fans also had the chance to win autographed team memorabilia or a trip to Toronto via a raffle.
The money raised through Jays Care will be used for the baseball facility, including the construction of four batting cages, three pitching bullpens and infield modifications. The building will serve 1,200 players who have registered for programming with the organization.
"In the offseason, Saskatoon Minor Baseball teams only have access to local school gyms, which are not conducive to the development and refinement of the skills they gain all summer," SMBA president Darren Richens said in a statement. "The Toronto Blue Jays' generous contribution to improve access and opportunities at our facility demonstrates a true commitment to growing the game from coast to coast."
More than 400 children who are part of the Blue Jays Baseball Academy Rookie League in Saskatchewan will have access to the SMBA facility.
"Through capital funding and program support, we're striving to give more kids in Saskatchewan the opportunity to be part of a team and embrace the sport of baseball all year round," said Rob Drynan, the interim executive director of the Jays Care Foundation.