Toronto has an appetite for baseball

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:59 PM ET

TORONTO - Perhaps Toronto sports fans are starting to buy into general manager Alex Anthopoulos’ rebuilding project. They certainly were buying in at the ticket wickets at the weekend.

Lineups for single game tickets stretched to the street Sunday with 35,505 fans showing up — and all of them surely couldn’t have been there for the Jose Bautista bobblehead doll giveaway. The three-game series against the Twins pulled in 110,685.

That’s a beautiful thing for a franchise that has been hurting as much at the gate as on the field in recent years.

The average crowd was 20,068 in 2010 — less than half the capacity of the Rogers Centre and 26th among major-league cities. That’s a drop of more than 9,000 compared to the 2007 average.

It’s too early to predict a resurgence in popularity. But this team was the first organization in baseball to attract a season attendance of four million. Between 1991 and 1993 more than 12 million people came through the turnstiles at what’s now the Rogers Centre.

The USA-Canada game in 2009, part of the World Baseball Classic, also pulled in more than 42,000 fans.

All of which would indicate that — given an entertaining product — there is an appetite for the game, and the Jays.

THE TRAINER’S ROOM

Outfielder Rajai Davis, who rested a right ankle for a second consecutive game Sunday, is set to return to the lineup Tuesday against the Oakland Athletics. Davis played for Oakland from 2008 to 2010.

Right-hander Brandon Morrow threw a bullpen session prior to Sunday’s game and is due to make a Thursday rehab start for Class-A Dunedin. He is recovering from soreness in his elbow.

His spot in the rotation is being taken by Tuesday’s starter Jo Jo Reyes, who pitches the series opener against Oakland. Speculation is Reyes could find a spot in the bullpen if he performs well.

LEFT-HANDED COMPLIMENT

The A’s have a predominantly left-handed pitching staff which last year would have meant an extended stay on the bench for Travis Snider.

That was also the case Saturday when the Twins started lefty Francisco Liriano. But Blue Jays manager John Farrell said that Snider will play against some left-handers and that a decision will be made on a case-to-case basis.

”It’s not going to be every left-hander, because we think Travis has the ability to hit any pitcher in this league,” Farrell said.

Snider is a career .246 hitter in 114 career at-bats against left-handers.


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