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Blue Jays send LHP Mills to Angels for C Mathis

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Associated Press
12/3/2011 5:46:41 PM
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TORONTO -- Jeff Mathis can wait to get to work with the Toronto Blue Jays pitching staff.

The Blue Jays acquired Mathis, a defensive specialist who excels at strategizing with his battery mate, from the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday for left-handed reliever Brad Mills.

"That's a big part of my game, getting to know the pitchers and what they like to do and how they like to throw the ball," Mathis said on a conference call. "I'm just excited to be able to work with a bunch of those guys and get to know them and see if we can get on the same page and have a good year."

The 28-year-old batted just .174 with three homers and 22 RBIs in 93 games with Los Angeles last season. He has a .194 with 26 homers since starting his major league career with the Angels in 2007.

Mathis will likely back up J.P. Arencibia at catcher for the Jays. In 2011, Arencibia hit .219 with 23 home runs and 78 RBIs in his first full season with Toronto.

The Jays lost their 2010 backup catcher to free agency on Nov. 28 when Jose Molina signed a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays.

For his part, Mathis is just eager to work with Toronto's young pitchers.

"I like to tell them things that I can see and I also like them to ask me questions," Mathis said. "I try to be as honest with them as I can, but you got to get to know them and know how to handle guys.

"That's the biggest part of the catcher-pitcher relationship: knowing how to go out there and approach different pitchers."

This is the second consecutive off-season the Blue Jays have acquired a catcher from the Angels. Toronto traded for Mike Napoli on Jan. 21. Just four days later, Napoli was traded to the Texas Rangers for right-handed reliever Frank Francisco and cash considerations.

Mathis doesn't think he'll suffer the same fate after speaking with several members of the Blue Jays front office, including manager John Farrell and general manager Alex Anthopoulos.

"I've talked to a bunch of the guys from the organization and it sounds like I'm here to stay," Mathis said. "I'm excited about it."

Mills made four starts for the Blue Jays last season, going 1-2 with a 9.82 earned-run average. He spent most of the season at triple-A Las Vegas, going 11-9 in 24 starts.

Jeff Mathis (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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