News and Notes: Robertson cleared, Kokkonen joins the Marlies, and Andersen skates

The news doesn’t stop with the trade deadline, and it’s been a busy morning for the Leafs. Here’s a quick rundown of the events of Thursday leading into tonight’s game with the Jets.
Robertson cleared to rejoin the Leafs

Forward Nick Robertson has been cleared from the NHL’s COVID Protocol list and is available to re-join the Leafs this morning.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) April 15, 2021

Following yesterday’s unfortunate suspension of play for the Marlies, Nick Robertson was put into the NHL protocol because of his close contact with the team. It appears that the necessary testing has been done and Robertson is now able to rejoin the Leafs, which is quite fortunate because he’s an exciting addition to a lineup that is already missing William Nylander, and in a holding pattern waiting for Nick Foligno.
It’s likely that Robertson will be back with the Marlies once the Nylander and Foligno are with the Leafs, so this is his best opportunity to get in some quality NHL time, and it’s nice to see it wasn’t cut short.
Kokkonen to join the Marlies

Mikko Kokkonen will soon join the Toronto Marlies. The 2019 third-round …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Ross Atkins: Nate Pearson is pain-free and now the focus is getting him ramped up

Here’s some good news from the mouth of Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins…

While talking to Mad Dog Chris Russo on MLB Network, Atkins said that Nate Pearson is feeling incredible and he’s 100% pain-free. The focus for Pearson now is building him up so that he can handle a starter’s workload. Atkins also went on to say that, based on the way Pearson is throwing, he looks like he has a very successful year ahead of him.
As Keegan Matheson reported last week, though, it’ll still take some time for Pearson to make his way back to the Blue Jays. Remember, Pearson only had one outing in Grapefruit play and it was one inning long, so he’s basically working his way back up from scratch and going through his own spring training now.
Barring any setbacks, it would seem that mid-May is a realistic target for Pearson’s return.

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Both Reese McGuire and Breyvic Valera have cleared waivers

Here’s some good news from an Asset Management perspective…

The Blue Jays announced on Sunday that Reese McGuire and Breyvic Valera have cleared waivers and have been reassigned to the Alternate Training site. McGuire and Valera were designated for assignment earlier this week in order to open up room on the 40-man roster for Joe Panik and Tim Mayza.
Valera getting through waivers isn’t really much of a surprise as he’s a 29-year-old middle infielder with a ho-hum glove and a .592 OPS over 54 games at the big-league level. But McGuire, a pretty solid young backup catcher, getting through is a bit more surprising. I thought that somebody out there would take a flyer on him.
Anyway, that’s good news for the Blue Jays as it keeps them with a backup middle infielder and a third-string catcher in the minors in the event of an injury. The team went out and acquired Juan Grateol from the Anaheim Angels last week as insurance in case McGuire got claimed but now they’ll be able to instead just bring a familiar player in McGuire back if necessary.

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

George Springer and Robbie Ray head to the Injured List, Ross Stripling and T.J. Zeuch will start against the Yankees

Here’s some bad-but-expected news on Opening Day Eve.

Both Robbie Ray and George Springer will begin the season on the 10-day Injured List. Springer has been dealing with an oblique injury for the past couple of weeks while Ray has a bruised elbow from following down the stairs.
Both Springer and Ray’s IL stints can be backdated to March 29 meaning, if all goes well, both players would only need to miss the first six games of the season. This obviously isn’t an ideal way to start the season, but you’d rather not rush a couple of key players back before they’re ready. That’s especially the case with Springer as oblique injuries can take quite some time to get back to 100 percent and the last thing the Blue Jays need is for this to become a season-long thing.
So, in Springer’s place, the team has Jonathan Davis on the roster as the fourth outfielder behind Lourdes Gurriel, Randal Grichuk, and Teoscar Hernandez.
Meanwhile, it appears that Ross Stripling and T.J. Zeuch will be the starters that the Blue Jays send out to face the Yankees on Saturday and Sunday after Hyun Jin Ryu …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

An exciting announcement from The Nation Network and how it affects the Leafs (coverage)

Good news everyone, especially those of you looking for even more Leafs coverage and hockey coverage in general.
The Nation Network have asked me to be the messenger regarding the growth in NHL coverage you’ll find both on The Leafs Nation, and other network sites, but most specifically DailyFaceOff.com.
The Nation Network will be scouring Canada looking for talented journalists they can add to DailyFaceOff.com to build out the site’s coverage of the league. Writers will be covering each NHL market, and for those of us seeking more Leafs coverage, this likely means you can count on Daily Face Off as well as The Leafs Nation to give you even more Leafs than you’ve already been getting from us. The site will feature some of the best writing, podcasts, and hockey video content you will find on the internet.
Many of you are already using DailyFaceOff.com which is the best resource for current line combinations, starting goaltenders, injury updates, and anything you could require as far as fantasy hockey goes, but over the next few months we’ll see the site completely take off from where it is today, to not only be a …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Nick Robertson starts skating, Rasmus Sandin close to skating, Leafs prospects in quarantine

There was some interesting (and good) news today from Marlies head coach, Greg Moore on a few players who are joining the lineup soon. Nick Robertson is first on this list of many players. He’s been day-to-day with an abdominal injury for the past two weeks and has finally started skating, per Moore.
Rasmus Sandin is another player of note. He’s played in one (partial) game with the Marlies, where he blocked a shot and didn’t return. He’s been out since February 16th, but Moore said today that Sandin will “hopefully” start skating next week.
The final player of note, who’s currently with the team is Teemu Kivihalme, who’s missed the last two games due to a hand injury. Moore said yesterday that Kivihalme is close to returning but didn’t mention when that might be.
A prospect update
During Kyle Dubas’ mid-season press conference, he confirmed that Semyon Der-Arguchintsev is currently quarantining in Toronto. He’s one of the — according to Moore — “there’s a couple of guys in quarantine that should be joining us here next week sometime.”
Some speculation: Pavel Gogolev, who the Marlies signed in February has finished his season …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Friedman’s thoughts on Leafs being “all in” and more

The majority of the Leafs news on Tuesday came directly from Kyle Dubas (covered here), the Leafs are aggressively searching for help sooner rather than later, it’s likely to be a forward, a rental, and in addition to that, the Leafs placed Jimmy Vesey on waivers and have a number of players returning from Europe to the Marlies. We’re trying to make sense of it, but so are the insiders. Here are Elliotte Friedman’s thoughts on the Leafs this week.
1. Toronto’s Kyle Dubas confirms he’s all in. The last two weeks haven’t been great, but the vast majority of the season’s been strong. He’s going for the best forward he can get and their top prospects are on the table. No Boston or Tampa Bay until at least the third round. Crazy not to take the leap.
Rough skid be damned, Dubas is still eying the ultimate prize, and for the sounds of things it’s going to come at a steep price. Top prospects being on the table is a tough pill to swallow, especially when Dubas has also been promoting the idea of bringing in rentals. Not having Nick Robertson …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Ross Atkins speaks about Nate Pearson, Julian Merryweather, Alejandro Kirk and more!

Bad news on the Nate Pearson front, as Ross Atkins mentioned today to media that the Blue Jays’ No. 1 prospect suffered what he called a “mild re-aggravation” of his groin while working to get back up to speed. It’s looking more and more likely that Pearson will begin the season on the Injured List.

Seeing Pearson suffer a setback is unfortunate, but I think we all knew that he wasn’t going to be ready for the start of the season as soon as he got injured in the first place. The Blue Jays have been extremely protective of Pearson’s arm by limiting his innings over the years and there was no way they were going to do anything close to the realm of rushing him to be ready for opening day.
It seems as though Ross Stripling is the most likely candidate to replace Pearson in the rotation, which right now consists of Hyun Jin Ryu, Robbie Ray, Tanner Roark, and Steven Matz, but Atkins specifically raved about T.J. Zeuch, who topped out at 95.9 miles-per-hour on Monday. Atkins said that the team is encouraged from what they’ve seen from Zeuch thus far (he was also …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors: Ace Sixth Man Chris Boucher is ready to carry the load

Raptors: Ace Sixth Man Chris Boucher is ready to carry the load

Let’s start with the bad news. Kyle Lowry, Chris Boucher, and the Toronto Raptors have lost their last three games, first to the lowly Pistons (129-105) on March 3rd, then to the Celtics on March 4th (132-125), and on Thursday to the Hawks, (121-120). Thursday’s game, the Raptors first after the All-Star Break, was an […]
Raptors: Ace Sixth Man Chris Boucher is ready to carry the load – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Cece Scott / Raptors HQ

The Alternate Training Site lives on as Triple-A baseball’s start has been delayed by one month

Bad news if you’re a fan of the Buffalo Bisons — The Alternate Training Site will continue to exist for at least the first month of the 2021 season.

According to a report from ESPN, Major League Baseball has opted to push back the start of the Triple-A level season to early May. It was originally slated to begin on April 6, a few days after the start of the big-league season, but players will instead go to Alternate Training Sites like the ones from last summer for at least one month.
Here’s what MLB’s executive vice president of baseball operations’ statement said…
“This is a prudent step to complete the major league and minor league seasons as safely as possible, and we look forward to having fans back in ballparks across the country very soon.”
With COVID-19 vaccinations quickly becoming available in the United States, MLB is ultimately strategizing to have non-big-league players wait around and practice so that they can receive the vaccine before embarking on the minor-league season. Both Double- and Class-A level ball had always been scheduled to begin in May this season.
Minor-league players are obviously in a more susceptible position to contract the virus, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation