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Mr. B. J. Ryan

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Volunteer Assistant for Baseball

Baseball: Cubs sign B.J. Ryan to minor league contract


The Associated Press � July 17, 2009

WASHINGTON - The Chicago Cubs signed former Toronto closer B.J. Ryan to a minor league deal Thursday, hoping to add another left-hander to their bullpen.

Released by the Blue Jays earlier this month, the 33-year-old Ryan will first report to the Cubs' spring training complex in Mesa, Ariz. If all goes well, he'll join Triple-A Iowa.

The Cubs have only one left-handed reliever, Sean Marshall. Cubs manager Lou Piniella employed a unique strategy to keep Marshall in the game last weekend, moving him to left field when a righty reliever came in, then bringing him back to pitch one batter later.

"When they feel he's ready, we'll bring him up," Piniella said before the Cubs played at Washington. "We don't really have much left-handed depth in this organization."

The Cubs started the second half at 43-43, 3 1/2 games behind NL Central-leading St. Louis.

Ryan, a former star for the UL Ragin' Cajuns, was in the fourth year of a five-year, $47 million contract. He was 1-1 with a 6.53 ERA, and gave up 22 hits, including five home runs, and 17 walks in 20 2-3 innings.

Ryan spent six seasons with Baltimore and signed with Toronto after the 2005 season. He had ligament replacement surgery on his left elbow in 2007. He had 32 saves and a 2.95 ERA last year for Toronto.

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Baseball: Blue Jays release former UL star B.J. Ryan

The Associated Press � July 9, 2009

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Toronto Blue Jays have released one-time closer B.J. Ryan and activated current closer Scott Downs from the 15-day disabled list.

Toronto announced the moves before Wednesday night's game against Tampa Bay.

Ryan has struggled this season, going 1-1 with a 6.53 ERA in 25 relief appearances. The left-hander allowed 22 hits, including five homers, and 17 walks over 20 2-3 innings.

"It was one of those things with Downs coming back and us needing to make a move, he was the 12th guy on the staff right now, it's probably best for both parties," Toronto assistant general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "A few days ago I think you saw in the media that he expressed some frustration of not being able to pitch more and be used more. We couldn't get him the work that he wanted."

Ryan had mainly been used recently in blowout games. The 33-year-old is in the fourth year of a $47 million, five-year contract.

Ryan wasn't the same after undergoing left elbow ligament replacement surgery in 2007. He did have 32 saves last year with a 2.95 ERA.

"I wouldn't say it was a mistake," Toronto's assistant general manager Alex Anthopoulo said of Ryan's contract. "I think it's unfortunate he got hurt. The one thing you can never predict is health."

Downs had been sidelined sine June 17 by a left big toe injury.

Toronto manager Cito Gaston said Downs will probably return to his closer's role immediately.

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CajunBlog by Dan McDonald
B.J. Ryan solid again in second All-Star appearance
Dan McDonald
dmcdonald@theadvertiser.com

It�s still hard to fathom that pitching was almost an afterthought for B.J. Ryan when he was a part of the UL baseball program in 1997-98.
First base, and power hitting from the left side, were his forte'. He was the MVP in the Sun Belt Tournament because of that.

Now, the Toronto Blue Jays wouldn�t think of taking a chance on him at first base, or sending him to the plate. He�s much too valuable as one of the best closers in major league baseball. Ryan picked up the win Tuesday night at the All-Star Game in Pittsburgh, working the eighth inning and retiring the National League lineup in order on only 10 pitches -- every one of them a strike.

It was quick -- ground ball to shortstop, strikeout, line out to third base. Obviously, he had to have a little luck. The American League was behind at the time, but took the lead in the top of the ninth and Mariano Rivera came on to close things out.

Ironically, at Monday's media gathering prior to the game, Ryan had said that the New York Yankee closer was the best ever. Now, the Bossier City product and Cajun alumnus can say that Rivera saved a game for him.

"How did it feel to know he was coming in behind me?" Ryan said after the 3-2 victory at Pittsburgh�s PNC Park. "Cozy, is how it felt."

Also ironically, the rally saved Ryan�s Blue Jays teammate, Roy Halladay, from picking up the loss.

"Any time you can get your horse (Halladay) off the hook, you have to like it," Ryan said.

Ryan has 24 saves this season, third in the A.L., and was making his second straight All-Star Game appearance.

Originally published July 13, 2006

* * * * * * * * * * *

Baseball: Ryan shines in All-Star game for AL

July 13, 2006 -
Former Cajun earns win.

Dan McDonald
dmcdonald@theadvertiser.com

It's still hard to fathom that pitching was almost an afterthought for B. J. Ryan when he was a part of the UL baseball program in 1997-98.
First base, and power hitting from the left side, were his forte'. He was the MVP in the Sun Belt Tournament because of that.

Now, the Toronto Blue Jays wouldn't think of taking a chance on him at first base, or sending him to the plate. He's much too valuable as one of the best closers in major league baseball.

Ryan picked up the win Tuesday night at the All-Star Game in Pittsburgh, working the eighth inning and retiring the National League lineup in order on only 10 pitches - every one of them strikes. It was quick - ground ball to shortstop, strikeout, line out to third base.
Obviously, he had to have a little luck. The American League was behind at the time, but took the lead in the top of the ninth and Mariano Rivera came on to close things out.

Ironically, at Monday's media gathering prior to the game, Ryan had said that the New York Yankee closer was the best ever. Now, the Bossier City product and Cajun alumnus can say that Rivera saved a game for him.

"How did it feel to know he was coming in behind me?" Ryan said after the 3-2 victory at Pittsburgh's PNC Park. "Cozy, is how it felt."

Also ironically, the rally saved Ryan's Blue Jays teammate, Roy Halladay, from picking up the loss.

"Any time you can get your horse (Halladay) off the hook, you have to like it," Ryan said.

Ryan has 24 saves this season, third in the A.L.

Originally published July 13, 2006

* * * * * * * * * * *

Baseball: Former Cajuns Shines at All-Star Game

July 12, 2006 -

B.J. Ryan lettered for the Ragin' Cajuns baseball team in 1997-98

Chris Whitehead, Sports Information

PITTSBURGH-For the second year in a row, B.J. Ryan, a former member of
Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns baseball team, has excelled at Major League
Baseball's All-Star Game.

The southpaw for the Toronto Blue Jays earned the win in the Mid-Summer
Classic tossing a scoreless inning for the American League.

Ryan entered the game with the AL trailing 2-1 in the eighth inning. He
retired all three batters he faced, fanning one batter. The hurler threw 10
pitches, all of which were strikes.

The American league scored a pair of runs in the ninth inning to take the
lead, setting Ryan up to earn the win.

Ryan was selected to the 2006 All-Star Game after having a stellar first half
of the season. Entering the midway point of the MLB season, he has 24 saves
to his credit, which currently ranks in the top-5 in both the American League
and entire Major League. Ryan boasts a 0.84 earned run average and has
fanned 54 batters in just 39 appearances. Opponents are batting just .148
against the lefty.

The appearance in the All-Star Game was the second of Ryan's career. The
former Cajun was selected in 2005 as a member of the Baltimore Orioles. Ryan
earned a hold for the AL in that game.

"We are really proud of B.J.," Ragin' Cajuns head coach Tony Robichaux
stated. "It is a great thing for him, our baseball program and the
university.

"To me, there are three stages of being a baseball player," Robichaux
added. "There is participator, contributor and difference maker. B.J. has moved through each stage in dominating fashion. To see him play in
consecutive All-Star Games and be successful, as a coach, I am so proud of him."

* * * * * * * * * * *

Ryan and Blue Jays finalize $47 million, five-year deal

TORONTO (AP) � B.J. Ryan and the Toronto Blue Jays finalized a $47 million, five-year contract on Monday, the largest deal for a relief pitcher in baseball history.

Ryan, a left-hander who turns 30 on Dec. 28, has 42 career saves, including 36 last season for the Baltimore Orioles.

"He stands among the few pitchers in baseball worthy of a five-year contract," Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said. "I know our starting pitchers will be very happy to hear this news."

Ryan's deal tops the $39.99 million, four-year contract Mariano Rivera got from the New York Yankees from 2001-4. Rivera has the highest average salary for a reliever in a $21 million, two-year contract with the Yankees that has one season remaining.

Ryan converted 36 of 41 save chances for Baltimore last season, going 1-4 with a 2.43 ERA. He struck out 100 and walked 26 in 70 innings and earned $2,825,000, including bonuses.

As part of the deal, Ryan is making a $250,000 donation to the Jays Care Foundation, which is dedicated to youth in Toronto.

Published November 29, 2005
Baseball:  1997, 1998
Coaches:  2020


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