The Toronto Blue Jays are turning back to their past in an effort to make the present better.
The Blue Jays brought Cito Gaston, who led Toronto to World Series titles in 1992 and 1993, back on Friday as interim manager for the remainder of the season as John Gibbons was fired. Gaston has not managed since the Blue Jays fired him in 1997.
“Right now, we need a spark and I think Cito is the guy to do that,” Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said Friday during a news conference at PNC Park in Pittsburgh to announce the move before opening a three-game series with the Pirates. “Now is not the time to bring in a younger manager. We need to get this thing turned around and Cito has a lot of credibility behind him.”
The Blue Jays entered play Friday with a 35-39 record, on a five-game losing streak and in last place in the American League East, 10 ½ games behind first-place Boston.
Gaston, 64, had been working for the Blue Jays as a club ambassador and special assistant to the president and CEO for the Blue Jays the past six years and never thought he would manage again after interviewing for multiple jobs but failing to land any. He compiled a 681-635 record in nine seasons as Toronto’s manager.
“This is where my heart has always been and I’m so thankful to J.P. for bringing me back,” Gaston said. “We’re going to see if we can start the season over and start winning some ballgames.”
Also fired were hitting coach Gary Denbo, third base coach Marty Pevey and first base coach Ernie Whitt. They were replaced by Gene Tenace, Nick Leyva and Dwayne Murphy.