Blue Jays fire manager Gibbons, bring back Gaston

Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:52pm EDT
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - The struggling Toronto Blue Jays fired manager John Gibbons and replaced him with Cito Gaston, who led the Major League Baseball club to back-to-back World Series championships in the early 1990s, the team said on Friday.

The Blue Jays, who had high hopes at the start of the season, have lost five straight games and are in last place in the American League eastern division, 10.5 games back of the first place Boston Red Sox.

Gibbons became manager of the Jays near the end of the 2004 season, but could not lead the club into the post-season. In his three full seasons as manager, the Jays never finished with more than 87 wins.

The team also said it fired first base coach Ernie Whitt, third base coach Marty Pevey and hitting coach Gary Denbo. Gene Tenace was named the new hitting coach while Dwayne Murphy and Nick Leyva were named first-base coach and third-base coach, respectively.

Gaston, 64, managed the Blue Jays from 1989 to 1997. He led the team into the playoffs four times, including World Series championships in 1992 and 1993.

Gaston, who has a 681-635 record in a franchise high 1,316 games, will join the team for their game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue; editing by Rob Wilson)

 
<p>Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons argues with the umpires after Blue Jays pitcher B.J. Ryan was called for a balk in the ninth inning of their MLB baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts May 1, 2008. The struggling Toronto Blue Jays fired Gibbons and replaced him with Cito Gaston, who led the Major League Baseball club to back-to-back World Series championships in the early 1990s, the team said on Friday. REUTERS/Brian Snyder</p>