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Blue Jays Winter Tour is back for 2013

Blue Jays Winter Tour is back for 2013

Blue Jays Winter Tour is back for 2013
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays Winter Tour is making its return for a third consecutive year, and this time it's the prairies that will be getting most of the attention.

The club is set to hit the road in January with stops in Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton. Colby Rasmus, Anthony Gose, J.P. Arencibia and Drew Hutchison are all expected to take part, with more names being announced at a later date.

The Blue Jays brought back the Winter Tour in 2011 after a lengthy hiatus. The idea came from the old caravan-style road trips the organization used to do back in the 1980s, and was re-instituted by president Paul Beeston and senior vice president of business operations Stephen Brooks.

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The first trip put a strong emphasis on the province of Ontario and the western part of Canada. Last year, the tour shifted east, with stops in Montreal and the Maritimes, while the central part of the country is getting most of the stops this offseason.

Toronto will officially kick off the tour on Jan. 5 in Toronto. Rasmus and Gose will be on hand for an amateur baseball clinic at Rogers Centre that will be held in conjunction with Baseball Canada.

From there, the tour moves west with a two-day stop in Winnipeg. Rasmus and Gose will sign autographs at Polo Park Shopping Centre on Jan. 6, and the following day they will visit the students and staff at Ecole Van Walleghem School to relay messages about healthy living and positive lifestyles.

Arencibia and Hutchison will join the tour on Jan. 11 in Saskatoon. The two players will take part in a Jays Care Foundation luncheon at the Delta Bessborough Hotel before moving on for curling lessons and eventually attending a Canadian Hockey League game between the Saskatoon Blades and Red Deer Rebels.

The final stop of the tour will be in Edmonton over the course of a two-day period. The team will visit the Stollery Childen's Hospital on Jan. 12, and the following day will visit the CFB Edmonton to visit with military personnel.

More details on the tour are expected in the coming weeks as the Blue Jays continue to build their brand and reach out to communities across Canada.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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