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Manfred open to All-Star Game in Toronto

Commissioner discusses several issues, including scoring, pace of play

TORONTO -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has left the door open to the possibility of the Blue Jays hosting an All-Star Game in the not-so-distant future.

Manfred discussed the issue during a news conference prior to the Blue Jays' home opener against the Rays on Monday. He didn't get into specifics, but the Commissioner indicated the league would be willing to explore various scenarios with the organization.

Toronto hasn't hosted an All-Star Game since 1991, but club president Paul Beeston recently expressed his desire to bring the Midsummer Classic back to the city.

"There is a lot of demand for All-Star Games right now," said Manfred, who was in attendance for the '91 All-Star Game. "It has grown into a really popular event, almost a week long, but I think there's no reason why Toronto couldn't be a competitive bidder for an All-Star Game in the fairly near future."

Video: [email protected]: Manfred presents first pitch to young fan

Manfred was on hand Monday night to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the game alongside 9-year-old Ben Sheppard, who represented the Blue Jays' Baseball Academy. It marked the first time in franchise history that the Commissioner of Major League Baseball attended the club's home opener.

In addition to the All-Star Game, Manfred also addressed the following topics:

On the possibility of Montreal eventually getting another big league franchise:

"I do think it's important for Montreal to have a firm plan as to how they would get a Major League facility, a site, a financing plan and the like in place. In terms of a timeline for an actual franchise, just impossible to tell. Obviously there's two ways you can get there. Expansion, which I see as a backburner issue for baseball right now, and relocation, that depends on developments in other markets."

Video: [email protected]: Manfred delighted to attend Blue Jays' opener

On four players recently testing positive for the banned substance Stanozolol:

"Other than the similarity of substance, I have no reason to believe, right now, that they're connected. Having said this, whenever we have a series of tests for a single substance, we undertake an investigative effort to determine whether there's a connection, what that connection might be. As a matter of fact, if you look back, the very beginning of Biogenesis was the fact that we had a series of testosterone positives that began our investigative process, so we'll follow that same model."

On the lack of offense in baseball:

"We've been monitoring the situation with respect to offense going back to last year, to tell you the truth. We are in a mode where we feel we need additional data in order to make a good decision as to whether we have an aberration that may correct, or whether we have a trend that is going to need to be addressed in some way. I think, realistically, this is going to be a data gathering year for us and we're going to take a longer view with respect to the entire year, not try to make judgments based on a week or a few weeks."

On recent rule changes regarding the pace of play:

"The most successful aspect of it has been how cooperative the players have been. If you keep your eye on the players in baseball, you usually have a pretty good predictor of how things are going to go. It is about the players on most issues. I've been around to 16 or 17 clubs that I've spoken to about this issue, I've had questions, I've tried to deal with those questions, but in general, I have found a very cooperative attitude among the players and I feel that will serve us well over the long season."

On the new security procedures in MLB ballparks:

"We always are concerned about every aspect of the fan experience. It is the single most important issue that we deal with on a day-to-day basis. The focus on stadium security is a product of us trying to make sure that we are following the very best standards that are put forth by Homeland Security in the United States. The timing of that has been dictated by changes in that regulatory process and we're starting to try and stay abreast to those changes."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB.
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