Jays ownership would 'love' to keep general manager

TORONTO (AP) The ownership of the Toronto Blue Jays said Monday it would ''love'' to keep general manager Alex Anthopoulos and has been in discussions about extending his contract.

The news comes on the day Rogers Communications announced the hiring of Cleveland Indians President Mark Shapiro to become team president. He replaces Paul Beeston, who is retiring at the end of the season.

''We'd love to extend Alex's contract. He's done a terrific job. We've been in discussions, but frankly we're all focused on playing great baseball right now and winning,'' Rogers spokeswoman Andrea Goldstein said.

His contract expires in October.

Anthopoulos acquired MVP candidate Josh Donaldson in the offseason and traded for David Price and Troy Tulowitzki before the deadline to give Toronto a chance at its first playoff spot since winning their second World Series in 1993. Blue Jays games are breaking TV viewing records, and Canadians are talking baseball late in the season for the first time in years.

The hiring of a new president had many wondering if Anthopoulos would be retained. Toronto has gone 24-6 since the Tulowitzki trade to vault into first place. Toronto led the AL East by 1 1/2 games going into Monday night's home game against Cleveland.

Anthopoulos didn't return a message seeking comment. He has been Toronto's general manager since October 2009 and is Canadian.

Shapiro, who has had several prominent roles in nearly 24 years with Cleveland, will become the Blue Jays' president and CEO following this season. He previously served as general manager of the Indians before being promoted to president.

''Hopefully, it works out with Alex,'' Beeston said on Rogers-owned Fan 590 radio. ''I think they can work together. I don't think there is an issue there. Alex has had six years as the general manager. He's shown what he can do. He's a person that learns from mistakes and going forward you hope that everything can work out.''

Shapiro did not talk specifics about the Blue Jays in a news conference in Cleveland, noting there's still a season to finish.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said he would be shocked if Anthopoulos wasn't back.

''After this year's trade deadline he could have run for Prime Minister,'' Gibbons said. ''Alex is a young guy. He's always been a go-getter. But he's a good baseball guy. But he's also, he has sound business sense and he doesn't overreact, do things because public sentiment might be you've got to do this. He's still has the best interests of the organization in mind.''

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Associated Press freelance writer Ian Harrison contributed to this report.

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