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Blue Jays, 51s extend affiliation

The young talent that the Toronto Blue Jays have stockpiled in recent years will continue to funnel through Las Vegas. The Jays and 51s announced Tuesday that they have extended their player development contract through 2012.

“We think it’s a first-rate operation,” Toronto assistant general manager Tony LaCava said of Las Vegas’ Triple-A franchise. “It’s a wonderful city. The only thing is from a geography standpoint, we’re a little far away. And that would be the only reason we would look to leave, so we could be closer.

“We think the facilities and the environment in Las Vegas for our players is fine. When they get called up, we talk to them about their experience (in Las Vegas) and we don’t hear many complaints. It’s all very positive.”

51s general manager Don Logan said Las Vegas fans have had an opportunity to watch several future major leaguers in the first two years of the team’s affiliation with Toronto, including catcher J.P. Arencibia, pitcher Brett Cecil and third baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir.

Logan said he has enjoyed working with minor league operations director Charlie Wilson.

“He’s really organized, very communicative,” Logan said. “There’s no secrets, no surprises. And that’s important when you’re working with a big league club because of all the movement that goes on during a season.”

Logan said there was little movement among Triple-A clubs this year, so there wasn’t a viable opportunity for the 51s and the Blue Jays to separate.

“There wasn’t much out there,” Logan said. “That said, we have a great relationship with the Blue Jays and we’re very happy to maintain our PDC with them.”

The 51s are 137-151 in two seasons with Toronto.

Las Vegas finished 66-78 this season, leading to speculation about whether manager Dan Rohn will return in 2011. LaCava said that decision is probably a few weeks away as the focus is on the Blue Jays wrapping up their season.

“Dan did a hell of a job,” Logan said of Rohn, a Pacific Coast League veteran who managed five seasons in Tacoma and three in Fresno before coming to Las Vegas. “He worked his butt off. We were 15 (games) under .500 in May and he got us back to respectability to where we were just a couple back.”

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913.

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