DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) _ It may be Jim Fregosi's team but former Toronto manager Cito Gaston was front and center Wednesday as the Blue Jays opened a voluntary mini-camp.

Eighteen players took part in strength and conditioning drills at the Englebert Complex after being introduced to the team's new coaches _ Bobby Knoop, Rick Langford, Lee Elia, Roly de Armas and Gaston.

``It's good to be back,'' said Gaston, fired as Blue Jays manager at the end of the 1997 season and rehired a month ago as hitting coach.

``There are a few guys here today like Chris Carpenter, Roy Halladay, Alex Gonzalez and Shannon Stewart that I still know,'' he said.

The camp is an opportunity for the Jays to assess the status of their injured players.

Carpenter, who had surgery on his right elbow late last season, said he would be ready for spring training.