05/14/2013 9:03 PM ET
Despite loss, Leafs' run inspires Blue Jays
By Evan Peaslee / MLB.com
TORONTO -- "The sports world is a cruel world, man."
That's what manager John Gibbons had to say about the Toronto Maple Leafs' fortunes Tuesday, a day after the hockey club blew a three-goal lead in the final 11 minutes in Game 7 of their first round series, ending its first playoff appearance in nine years.
"It just sucks," Brett Cecil said. "They've been waiting so long, and they were so close. They give up a three-goal lead with 11 minutes left. That's when you got to step on their neck and make sure they don't end up in their own zone.
"It's a heartbreaker."
The Maple Leafs were the underdogs going into their series with the Boston Bruins, a team that is considered by many as one of the best in the NHL, and very few people even gave Toronto a chance in the series.
After falling behind 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, it looked very much like the pundits were going to be right. Then the Leafs won two straight to force a Game 7 in Boston, only to have things slip out from under them late in the final period.
"A lot of the games, that's pretty much game over," Cecil said.
"It's tough," added J.P. Arencibia. "No one wants to lose a game [like that]."
Despite the loss, everyone on the Blue Jays felt the excitement and buzz in the city because of the loyal and passionate hockey-crazed fans in the city, something that was evident every time the camera panned across Maple Leaf Square, where an estimated 20,000 fans took in the team's game on the video board outside of the Air Canada Centre.
"Yeah, you feel it," Arencibia said about the excitement in the city. "They're definitely passionate for a winner in Toronto, and the playoffs. ... You definitely feel it."
It's something that the Blue Jays players hope they'll get to experience if they can get themselves into a race for a postseason berth late in the season.
"You hear about how they used to sell out every game in '92 and '93, and the '90s. And that's what you want the city to be," Arencibia said. "People packing the stands, and us be able to feed off of them and ultimately give them what they want, which is a winning team."
Although the fan support and excitement was something that impressed the Blue Jays, they also understand the heartbreak of how it ended.
"I've never been to the playoffs in baseball, so I don't know quite what it's like, but I can definitely imagine working as hard as those guys work and getting to where there were and have it slip away," Cecil said.
"A lot of the guys are young and they're going be here next year. So there's always next year. They'll get over it, but it's going to take awhile, that's for sure."
Blue Jays move Morrow's start to Saturday
TORONTO -- Brandon Morrow's next start will once again be pushed back a few more days.
Morrow, who's been dealing with some tightness in his back and neck, is now slated to pitch Saturday against the Yankees in the Bronx.
This time, however, he should be good to go.
"Yeah, definitely. I was confident I could go tomorrow," Morrow said prior to Tuesday's game vs. the Giants.
"It was not my decision to do that. They are being extra cautious. Take the extra couple of days. It allows me to get a full bullpen tomorrow at a higher intensity than I threw in last time."
It also allows the Blue Jays righty to start against a division rival.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos reasoned it this way: Regardless, they were going to need a starter for Saturday's game. Instead of having Ramon Ortiz make that start at Yankee Stadium, the team would rather turn to their fireballer and make sure he's completely healthy.
Getting Wednesday's start in place of Morrow will be Ortiz, who will be making his second start for the club.
Last time out, the soon-to-be 40-year-old was able to limit the Red Sox to one earned run, but he did allow five walks and four hits in only five innings on the mound.
Santos to have cleanup surgery on elbow
TORONTO -- Sergio Santos will have surgery on his ailing right elbow by the end of the week.
Santos, who's been on the disabled list since April 14, will have surgery to clean up some loose bodies and bone spurs in the throwing arm.
The 29-year-old right-hander has always had these loose bodies, but after having some discomfort after his most recent outing in extended spring training Saturday, the team decided it was best just to take care of it now.
"He's always had bone spurs and loose bodies; you don't operate or do anything unless there's some type of discomfort," said general manager Alex Anthopoulos. "He can grind through it and pitch through it, but ultimately the best thing is to clean out the loose bodies, shave down some of the bone spurs."
The procedure itself is pretty minor and would have the former shortstop ready in six weeks and rehabbing as quickly as two or three days after the surgery.
Santos was originally placed on the disabled list with right triceps soreness, something that has cleared up for the most part.
"Maybe it's all related in that way," Anthopoulos said. "[But] again, it's just a minor cleanup."
Melky to get MRI for hamstring issue
TORONTO -- Tuesday's designated hitter, Melky Cabrera, will undergo a MRI on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old has been dealing with leg soreness in his hamstrings, and the team has decided to evaluate further if there's anything to be concerned about.
"Just to make sure -- if there's a strain, is there inflammation, is there something else going on?" general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "We've been treating him on and off, but it's been tough when he's playing out in the field every day. ... It's been hard to let it heal."
Cabrera, who's been starting to heat up at the plate, hitting .333 over his last 10 games entering Tuesday and has finally started to see those extra-base hits that were absent for much of the first month, has yet to miss a game for Toronto this season.
The hamstring injury, predominantly in the outfielder's left leg, has been an issue that dates back to Spring Training.
"He had it at the end of Spring Training, but he said he would fight through it and get through it," Anthopoulos said. "We thought over time with treatment it could get better."
Since the issue hasn't subsided, the team decided to make sure what, if anything, was causing the soreness.
By the time batting practice takes place around 4 in the afternoon, the team should know the extent of the injury.
"We're hopeful that it just needs a little bit of rest," Anthopoulos said.
Happ progressing well in recovery
TORONTO -- J.A. Happ, who has been on the disabled list since taking a ball to the head in Tampa Bay on May 7, is "moving in the right direction," according to general manager Alex Anthopoulos.
His sprained right knee, which was hurt when he fell to the ground after being struck by the ball, is healing, and everything seems to be on the original timetable.
However, Anthopoulos did say that the next few days "would be telling" on how his rehab process goes.
Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.