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Blue Jays plan to activate Roberto Osuna before home opener

Ben Nicholson-Smith | posted Tuesday, Apr 11th, 2017

Osuna threw a 24-pitch simulated game at Tropicana Field Saturday, an important step on his path back to the active roster. Barring an unexpected development, the 22-year-old closer will be available to make his season debut out of the bullpen against the visiting Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday.

“Unless something changes overnight he’ll be activated,” Gibbons said.

Before Tuesday’s game the Blue Jays will have to make a corresponding move, likely optioning a relief pitcher to triple-A. On paper, Casey Lawrence looks like the leading candidate to return to Buffalo after pitching for the Blue Jays both Saturday and Sunday.

Osuna dealt with back and neck stiffness late in spring, but had been expected to break camp with the team regardless. Instead, the club placed him on the disabled list with a cervical spasm, back-dating the DL stint to ensure he’d miss just six games.

Osuna saved 36 games in 2016, posting a 2.68 ERA with 82 strikeouts in 74 innings as Toronto’s closer.

The Blue Jays’ bullpen will see its share of turnover this year, especially considering that the group includes an assortment of relievers with options. Dominic Leone, Ryan Tepera and Aaron Loup could all theoretically be sent to triple-A without clearing waivers, though Tepera has pitched four scoreless innings and Loup, the lone lefty in the bullpen with J.P. Howell sidelined, will also be needed on the 25-man roster.

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TREATMENT FOR DONALDSON

Josh Donaldson continues getting treatment on the right calf that tightened up in Sunday’s series finale against the Tampa Bay Rays, but the Blue Jays won’t know until Tuesday whether they can pencil the third baseman into their starting lineup right away.

“He’s feeling all right,” Gibbons said. “We won’t know until tomorrow (but) he’s feeling better.”

Donaldson left Sunday’s game after his calf tightened up running out a ground ball, but afterwards he expressed optimism that he’d be ready to play by Tuesday. Donaldson initially strained his calf early in spring training, prompting the Blue Jays to ease him into Grapefruit League action gradually in the hopes that he’d make a complete recovery.

BACK HOME

After a 1-5 road trip, the Blue Jays are absolutely glad to be back in Toronto for their first homestand of the season.

“I think that’s an understatement,” Gibbons said. “It wasn’t a good trip by any means.”

“I think we were all looking forward to getting back here at the home field,” he added. “The crowds we get are really into it. It’s really different than a lot of places, so I think that’ll do wonders.”

What’s the best neighbourhood in your city? MoneySense found out

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Apr 11th, 2017

MoneySense has released its expanded Where to Buy Now survey that uncovers the top real estate markets for buyers in Canada. This year’s ranking covers the top 35 cities in the country and goes block by block in nine major cities to rank almost 2,000 neighbourhoods.

In Toronto, the best neighbourhood to buy real estate in is Pleasant View, where the average home price is $891,000. That’s followed by East End-Danforth ($824,300), Victoria Village ($965,200), Regent Park ($817,900), and, in fifth place, Parkwoods-Donalda ($1,182,900).

The best neighbourhood in the GTA is North Richvale, in Richmond Hill, where the average home price is $954,500. Markham’s Cornell neighbourhood is next ($695,700). In third is Crosby, in Richmond Hill, where the average home price is $1,036,400. Aurora Grove (yes, in Aurura), has an average home price of $708,700. Finally, Rouge River Estates, in Markham, has an average home price of $926,500.

The best city in the country for real estate investment value is Guelph, MoneySense editors concluded.

“Strong economic growth from manufacturing and agriculture helped keep the housing resale and rental markets strong,” MoneySense said. “And the red-hot Toronto market is convincing some buyers to relocate and make the commute to work.”

The Where to Buy Now ranking is based on MoneySense’s own proprietary metrics, including:

  • momentum in recent real estate transactions,
  • real estate value relative to nearby cities or districts,
  • health of the local economy,
  • price level of local rental markets, and
  • a survey of real estate agent experts on markets.

Find the full ranking, visit MoneySense.ca.

Disclaimer: Rogers Communications is the parent company of MoneySense, this station, and this website.

moneysense

United CEO defends employees who dragged passenger off flight

Caryn Rousseau and David Koenig, The Associated Press | posted Tuesday, Apr 11th, 2017

The CEO of United Airlines’ parent company is supporting the way his employees handled an incident with a passenger who did not want to go after being asked to leave a plane on Sunday night at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.

In a letter to employees Monday evening, Oscar Munoz said he was “upset to see and hear about what happened.” He added, however, that the man dragged off the plane had ignored requests by crew members to leave and became “disruptive and belligerent,” making it necessary to call airport police.

“Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this,” Munoz told employees. “While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right.”

Avoid Getting Bumped

Munoz said that the airline might learn from the experience, and it was continuing to look into the incident.

Earlier in the day Chicago’s aviation department said one of its police officers involved in dragging a man off a United Airlines flight at O’Hare International Airport did not follow standard operating procedures and has been placed on leave.

The department said in a brief statement Monday it did not condone the aviation security officers’ actions Sunday night.

The statement did not release the officer’s name and it was not immediately clear which of the three men seen in the now-widely seen video taken by another passenger which one was placed on leave.

United has said that the incident came after the flight to Louisville, Kentucky, was overbooked and airline officials asked for volunteers to get off the plane. When none of them did, the airline told four passengers who were selected at random that they had to get off the plane. Three of them did but the fourth refused. United called the airport police, who came aboard the plane and dragged him away.

Video of the incident sparked an uproar on social media, and a spokesman for the airline insisted that employees had no choice but to contact authorities to remove the man.

As the flight waited to depart from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, officers could be seen grabbing the screaming man from a window seat, pulling him across the armrest and dragging him down the aisle by his arms. The airline was trying to make room for four of its employees on the Sunday evening flight to Louisville, Kentucky.

Other passengers on Flight 3411 are heard saying, “Please, my God,” “What are you doing?” “This is wrong,” “Look at what you did to him” and “Busted his lip.”

Passenger Audra D. Bridges posted the video on Facebook. Her husband, Tyler Bridges, said United offered $400 and then $800 vouchers and a hotel stay for volunteers to give up their seats. When no one volunteered, a United manager came on the plane and announced that passengers would be chosen at random.

“We almost felt like we were being taken hostage,” Tyler Bridges said. “We were stuck there. You can’t do anything as a traveler. You’re relying on the airline.”

When airline employees named four customers who had to leave the plane, three of them did so. The fourth person refused to move, and police were called, United spokesman Charlie Hobart said.

“We followed the right procedures,” Hobart told the Associated Press in a phone interview. “That plane had to depart. We wanted to get our customers to their destinations.”

Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Airlines’ parent company, described the event as “upsetting” and apologized for “having to re-accommodate these customers.” He said the airline was conducting a review and reaching out to the passenger to “further address and resolve this situation.”

The passenger told the manager that he was a doctor who needed to see patients in the morning, Bridges said.

“He was kind of saying that he was being singled out because he’s a Chinese man” when speaking to the manager, who was African-American, Bridges said. “You should know what this is like,” the man said, according to Bridges. The Associated Press was unable to confirm the passenger’s identity.

Two officers tried to reason with the man before a third came aboard and pointed at the man “basically saying, ‘Sir, you have to get off the plane,”’ Bridges said. That’s when the altercation happened.

One officer involved has been placed on leave, the Chicago Aviation Department said Monday. After the passenger was removed, the four United employees boarded the plane.

“People on the plane were letting them have it,” Bridges said. “They were saying, ‘You should be ashamed to work for this company.”’

A few minutes later, the man who was removed from the plane returned, looking dazed and saying he had to get home, Bridges said. Officers followed him to the back of the plane.

Another man travelling with high school students stood up at that point and said they were getting off the plane, Bridges said. About half of the passengers followed before United told everyone to get off, he said.

The man who was originally dragged down the aisle was removed from the plane again, and United employees made an announcement saying they had to “tidy up” the aircraft, Bridges said. Bridges’ wife told him she saw the man taken away on a stretcher, he said.

After a three-hour delay the flight took off without the man aboard, Bridges said. A United employee apologized to passengers, he said.

Airlines are allowed to sell more tickets than there are seats on the plane, and they routinely overbook flights because some people do not show up.

It’s not unusual for airlines to offer travel vouchers to encourage people to give up their seats, and there are no rules for the process. When an airline demands that a passenger give up a seat, the airline is required to pay compensation of double the passenger’s one-way fare, up to $675, if the passenger can be placed on another flight that arrives one to two hours later than the first flight, or four times the ticket price, up to $1,350, for longer delays.

When they bump passengers, airlines are required to give those passengers a written description of their compensation rights.

Hobart declined to say how the airline compensated the passengers who were forced to leave the plane, saying he did not have those details from employees on the scene.

Last year, United forced 3,765 people off oversold flights and another 62,895 United passengers volunteered to give up their seats, probably in exchange for travel vouchers. That’s out of more than 86 million people who boarded a United flight in 2016, according to government figures.

United ranks in the middle of U.S. carriers when it comes to bumping passengers. ExpressJet, which operates flights under the United Express, American Eagle and Delta Connection names, had the highest rate of bumping passengers last year. Among the largest carriers, Southwest Airlines had the highest rate, followed by JetBlue Airways.
Bridges said United should not have boarded the flight if it was overbooked.

“The man handled it wrong,” he said. “The police were kind of put in a bad spot. There’s a lot of ways United could have handled it, and that was not one of the good ways.”

Jian Ghomeshi launches podcast project called ‘The Ideation Project’

THE CANADIAN PRESS AND NEWS STAFF | posted Monday, Apr 10th, 2017

Former CBC personality Jian Ghomeshi, who was acquitted of sexually assaulting three women, has resurfaced with an online music and podcast series.

“The Ideation Project” is described as “a creative adventure with the aim of taking a bigger picture view on newsworthy issues and culture.”

It will feature words, original music, recording and production by Ghomeshi.

The project debuted this morning with a six-minute monologue called “Exiles” that asks “what does it mean to feel like you have no homeland?”

The website says future content will cover “a variety of topics from politics to philosophy to pop culture and the human condition.”

Ghomeshi’s return to the spotlight comes about a year after being acquitted of sexually assaulting three women.

He was fired from the CBC in October 2014 after the broadcaster said it saw “graphic evidence” that the former “Q” host had caused physical injury to a woman.

Bombardier to inform shareholders about changes to executive compensation

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Apr 10th, 2017

Bombardier is expected to formally inform shareholders Monday about changes to the compensation for several of its top executives when it files a new proxy circular with the securities regulator.

Chief executive Alain Bellemare has asked the board to delay payment of more than half of last year’s total planned compensation for six executive officers, including himself, by one year to 2020, provided the company meets certain objectives.

Executive chairman Pierre Beaudoin also asked the board to cut his 2016 compensation by US$1.4 million to bring it in line with what he received the previous year.

That hasn’t satisfied protesters and opposition politicians who say the company’s reversal doesn’t go far enough.

On Sunday, protesters threw paper airplanes in front of Premier Philippe Couillard’s Montreal office as they called on the company to reverse the raises altogether.

They also criticized the Quebec government for not having insisted Bombardier protect jobs and limit raises as the company received US$1 billion in taxpayer dollars.

The 2016 compensation figure was roughly 50 per cent more than the amount paid to the same executives in 2015, but Bombardier argued it was not appropriate to compare the two years because some of the executives started their jobs at various times in 2015 and didn’t work the whole year.

The creative extremes some GTA realtors will use to get your business

Adrian Ghobrial | posted Monday, Apr 10th, 2017

Fancy a free trip to see Mickey and Minnie? Or how about a lease-free vehicle for a year?

As Toronto’s red hot real estate market continues to sizzle, the bidding wars aren’t just for homes and condos but also for your business.

“Some agents are gifting trips to Disney World, while others are offering to take care of a car lease for up to two years,” said agent Paul Raposo with Keller Williams Reality, who says it’s all about the fight for listings.

“Have you ever watched an MMA match? It’s almost as competitive as that but not quite as violent.”

Raposo says he targets millennial movers and shakers.

“We’re offering them a night out as a thank you, a night out with all their friends at one of Toronto’s hot spots. We’ll also pick you up in a limo or SUV. Or a membership for a year at a local gym or fitness club.”

Creativity can go a long way when you’re competing with tens of thousands. In 2005, there were 48,000 agents in Ontario. Today there’s nearly 80,000. Since 2014, 9,000 new agents have received their licence in the GTA alone, which is now home to 52,000 relators.

“It’s reflective of the market,” said Kelvin Kucey of The Real Estate Council of Ontario.

“With a market that continues to be very hot in the GTA, people want a piece of that. We’re getting higher and higher educational standards when it comes to new recruits and the registrants.”

Agents tell CityNews another method happening with more frequency is realtors slashing their commission, but Paul King, also with Keller Williams Reality, says that’s where he draws the line.

“When I come in and do a presentation, when I do the listing, you know I’m taking care of all aspects of the listing so I’m actually investing a lot of money to get the maximum price for their sale.”

Complimentary staging, according to both King and Raposo, is par for the course and it can cost thousands. Other expenses can range from complimentary ice cream trucks outside an open house, to the use of a drone, even actors for a video to list the home.

When it comes right down to it, Raposo says, potential clients need to break down who will work the hardest and get you the most money for your property.

“I can provide you with a trip to Disney World but what’s more important? A trip to Disney World or I sell your home for a lot of money? Then you can take that money and go to Disney World with your family.”

Babcock thinks playoff hockey will surprise young Maple Leafs

Jonas Siegel, The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Apr 10th, 2017

No one usually recognizes Jake Gardiner on his walk home from the Air Canada Centre, but that changed Saturday evening after the Maple Leafs clinched their second playoff berth in the last 13 years.

Post-season hockey is new again in Toronto and for most members of the Leafs heading into a first-round series with the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Washington Capitals. The Leafs got the Caps – and not the Ottawa Senators – by dropping their regular-season finale to Columbus on Sunday.

“We’ve drawn a real good team and we’re going to find out what playoff hockey is in a hurry,” head coach Mike Babcock said after the 3-2 loss to the Blue Jackets, which sealed Toronto’s slotting as the second Eastern Conference wild card team. “We’re going to find out that it’s way different than regular-season hockey.”

Nine Leafs who’ve yet to play a single NHL playoff game are likely to suit up for Game 1, including the high-performing rookie trio of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander. Another handful, including Gardiner, Nazem Kadri, and Tyler Bozak, have just a single playoff series under their belts, that one coming during the Leafs last playoff appearance in 2013.

Others like Matt Hunwick, Matt Martin and Frederik Andersen have registered a few post-season trips each, however, for fewer than 30 games.

Only three have real experience: Brian Boyle (100 games), James van Riemsdyk (46) and Roman Polak (49). Former Capital Eric Fehr has 60 games worth, but he’s hurt and unlikely to be available versus Washington.

Babcock, perhaps not surprisingly, plans to spend lots of time before Thursday’s opener in D.C. detailing for his group what exactly is different about playoff hockey.

“They’re not going to believe me and then it’s going to happen,” he said.

The difference?

“No space. Zero. Battle for every inch of ice, from the opening faceoff to the end,” said Babcock, who’s coached 144 playoff games in the NHL.

The Leafs were noticeably shocked by the change in temperature the last time they went to the playoffs, Boston thumping them 4-1 in Game 1 four years ago. Toronto was outshot 40-20 that night at TD Garden, ultimately losing the series in seven games.

The lone Leaf to look comfortable in the opener was van Riemsdyk, who’d been to the Stanley Cup final with Philadelphia previously. He finished with a goal and five shots.

Babcock hopes his group dives in with no fear opposite a heavily-favoured opponent.

“If you want to dip your toe into the water you’re going to find out it’s boiling. You might as well just jump in,” Babcock said. “Run down the dock and jump right in and don’t be putting your foot in the water, you might not get in.”

It’s Cup or bust for the Caps this year, expectations almost entirely at odds with the young Leafs, who are simply trying to soak up playoff experience for future Cup runs.

Nylander noted that his side had “nothing to lose going into the series” and Babcock observed something similar ahead of the game against Columbus when asked about pressure on his young team. He said it was the team that won the Presidents’ Trophy that was under the most pressure, the team, in other words, with expectations of success.

Toronto’s not expected to do much, conversely, beyond deliver some excitement this spring.

“When you finish in the top spot the expectations are a little bit different, that’s for sure,” said van Riemsdyk, who scored twice in the loss to the Jackets, setting a new career-high with 62 points.

“For us we’ve kind of surpassed some outside expectations so it’s a little bit of a different dynamic for each team. But obviously when we come this far we’re not going to be satisfied with anything but trying to move on and trying to win games so we’re not just happy to be here, we want to try to make our mark and play as well as we can.”

Washington was already loaded at every position when it added Kevin Shattenkirk, an offensive ace from the back-end, at the trade deadline. Slowing him down along with Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov will be an immense challenge for the Leafs as will beating reigning Vezina Trophy winner Braden Holtby.

It’ll be all the more difficult if Andersen isn’t at 100 per cent after exiting Saturday’s clincher with an apparent injury. The Leafs expect their starting netminder and defenceman Nikita Zaitsev to be ready for Game 1, the Russian defender forced to leave Sunday’s game with an upper-body ailment.

“You’ve got to beat the best at some point,” Gardiner concluded of the matchup, “so might as well do it in the first round.”

Leafs’ loss sets up first-round matchup against Capitals

Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press | posted Monday, Apr 10th, 2017

The NHL playoff picture with the regular season ending Sunday:
___
WHO’S IN

EAST: The Toronto Maple Leafs’ loss to Columbus sends them to Washington to face the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Capitals on the brutal Metropolitan Division side of the draw. It also means the Boston Bruins travel to Ottawa to open against the Senators. The Atlantic Division-champion Montreal Canadiens have home-ice advantage against the New York Rangers. The defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins have home ice against the Blue Jackets.

WEST: The Central Division champion Chicago Blackhawks open against the wild-card Nashville Predators, and the Minnesota Wild have home-ice advantage against former coach Mike Yeo and the St. Louis Blues. The Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers’ games Sunday determine the Pacific Division champion that will face the wild-card Calgary Flames, with the second-place finisher opening with home ice against the defending Western Conference champion San Jose Sharks.

WHAT TO WATCH
– The Ducks, who are 10-0-3 in their past 13, need only a point in their finale Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings to wrap up their fifth consecutive Pacific Division title. If they lose in regulation and the Oilers beat the Vancouver Canucks in regulation or overtime, Edmonton finishes first.
– The NHL is expected to announce the first-round schedule once all games are completed Sunday night. The playoffs begin Wednesday.

LOOSE PUCKS
Nine of the 16 playoff teams have a different coach than the one they began last season with: the Canadiens (Claude Julien), Senators (Guy Boucher), Penguins (Mike Sullivan), Blue Jackets (John Tortorella), Bruins (Bruce Cassidy), Wild (Bruce Boudreau), Blues (Mike Yeo), Ducks (Randy Carlyle) and Flames (Glen Gulutzan).

Four of the past 11 Cup champions made an in-season coaching change. Montreal, Boston and St. Louis are the three teams in this year to do that. … Connor McDavid is riding an NHL season-best 13-game point streak going into game 82 two short of 100.

The Capitals and Maple Leafs have never met in a playoff series. … Boston rookie defenceman Brandon Carlo left the team’s loss to the Capitals on Saturday after being injured on a hit by Alex Ovechkin.

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