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Blue Jays Sign Tony Fernandez

June 8, 2001

TORONTO (AP) _ Tony Fernandez, released by Milwaukee last month, signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday.

Fernandez, in his fourth stint with the organization, will join the Blue Jays’ extended spring training program at Dunedin, Fla.

``We have to see what he does, and see how he feels. He hasn’t played for awhile,″ Toronto manager Buck Martinez said.

Fernandez, 39, opened the season with the Brewers and hit .281 in 28 games prior to his release on May 29.

``He was happy to be home with his family for awhile, but he said, `You know, I still think I can help a team, and I’ll be happy to give it a try,‴ said Martinez, who spoke with Fernandez by telephone Thursday night.

If Fernandez is called up to the Blue Jays, Martinez said he’ll use him as a pinch-hitter.

Last season, Fernandez played for the Seibu Lions of Japan’s Pacific League and finished fourth with a .327 average. He hit 11 home runs with 74 RBIs.

``He played pretty well last year, and then he fouled a ball of his foot with Milwaukee and he couldn’t get it going again,″ Martinez said.

Fernandez is a career .288 hitter over 17 seasons, including 11 with the Blue Jays.

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