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  1. Sports

Gibbons returns to manage Jays

TORONTO — Blue Jays president Paul Beeston couldn't believe it when he learned his team had the chance to land three star players from the Marlins last week. He was equally surprised when his general manager told him he wanted to hire John Gibbons to manage Toronto again.

"They were back-to-back shockers," Beeston said with a laugh.

General manager Alex Anthopoulos unexpectedly hired Gibbons as manager Tuesday, a day after a megadeal with Miami reinvigorated the roster and raised expectations the Blue Jays will make the playoffs for the first time since winning their second straight World Series in 1993. Only the Royals and Pirates have longer playoff droughts.

"I said, 'Are you serious?' " Beeston recalled. "Forget about him being an intellectual, he's a baseball guy. And those are the guys you really want in your organization."

Gibbons, 50, managed Toronto from 2004-08 and had a 305-305 record, making him the third-winningest manager in franchise history.

He succeeds John Farrell, who left Toronto for his dream managing job in Boston. Gibbons takes over a very different team from the one Farrell managed

The surprise announcement came a day after the Blue Jays completed the trade to acquire All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes and pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle from Miami. The Blue Jays also finalized a $16 million, two-year contract with free-agent outfielder Melky Cabrera.

Gibbons said he never imagined he'd be hired by Toronto again.

"Who wouldn't want to be here?" Gibbons said. "The front office has put together a legitimate contending-type team."

KURODA BACK TO YANKS: The Yankees have agreed to a one-year, $15 million contract with right-hander Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda, 37, had a solid first season with New York, going 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA in 33 starts.

ROYALS RE-SIGN VETERAN: Kansas City signed right-hander Jeremy Guthrie to a $25 million, three-year deal. Guthrie, 33, was acquired in a midseason trade from the Rockies, where he'd been 3-9 with a 6.35 ERA. He went 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA in 14 starts in Kansas City.

UNION EYEBALLING MARLINS: The players' association will monitor the Marlins after their payroll purge, saying it is too early to determine whether the salary cuts will cause any issues under baseball's labor contract. After complaints by the union that the Marlins weren't using revenue-sharing money to improve, the players' association, Major League Baseball and the Marlins reached a three-year agreement in January 2010 that the team would increase payroll annually as it prepared to move into its new ballpark in 2012.

RABURN RELEASED: The Tigers released outfielder and former Durant High standout Ryan Raburn, 31, who started the 2012 season as a big part of their plans but hit .171 in 66 games.

LAHAIR TO JAPAN?: The Cubs designated first baseman Bryan LaHair, 30, the former St. Petersburg College standout, for assignment so he can pursue an opportunity in Japan.