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Legendary Blue Jay Fernandez dead at 57

The Associated Press

TORONTO — Tony Fernandez, a stylish shortstop who made five All-Star teams during his 17 seasons in the major leagues and helped the Toronto Blue Jays win the 1993 World Series, died Sunday after complications from a kidney disease. He was 57.

Fernandez was taken off a life support system in the afternoon with his family present at a hospital in Weston, Florida, said Imrad Hallim, the director and co-founder of the Tony Fernandez Foundation. Fernandez had been in a medically induced coma and had waited years for a new kidneys.

Fernandez won four straight Gold Gloves with the Blue Jays in the 1980s and holds club records for career hits and games played. A clutch hitter in five trips to the postseason, he had four separate stints with Toronto and played for six other teams.

One of those was the New York Yankees, who replaced him at shortstop with a 21-year-old Derek Jeter in 1996. Fernandez was slated to slide over to second base and stick around as insurance, but he broke his right elbow (for the second time in his career) lunging for a ball late in spring training and missed the entire season.

Jeter, of course, went on to win AL Rookie of the Year and the first of his five World Series titles. Fernandez, who had been set to help ease Jeter’s transition, was given a World Series ring by the Yankees that season.

The next year, Fernandez caught on at second with the Cleveland Indians and was instrumental in their 1997 American League pennant. He batted .357 in the AL Championship Series against Baltimore and homered in the 11th inning at Camden Yards to give Cleveland a 1-0 victory in the clinching Game 6 –his only postseason home run.

Fernandez then hit .471 with four RBIs in the World Series against the Florida Marlins. His two-run single in the third inning of Game 7 put the Indians ahead 2-0, but the Marlins tied it in the bottom of the ninth and won 3-2 in 11 innings to take the championship.

In 43 career postseason games, Fernandez batted .327 with 23 RBIs and a .787 OPS. He went 7 for 21 (.333) with nine RBIs in the 1993 World Series, helping the Blue Jays beat Philadelphia in six games for their second consecutive title.

Milwaukee Brewers

PHOENIX — Milwaukee Brewers left-hander Brent Suter reached a two-year, $2.5 million deal Sunday that avoids an arbitration hearing that had been set for next week.

The 30-year-old Suter returned from Tommy John surgery last September and went 4-0 with a 0.49 ERA in nine relief appearances, helping the Brewers earn an NL wild-card spot.

Suter had mostly been a starter the previous two seasons with Milwaukee before having elbow surgery in July 2018. He is expected to be used out of the bullpen this year.

N.Y. Yankees

TAMPA, Fla. — Free agent pitcher Chad Bettis signed a minor league contract with the New York Yankees on Sunday with an invitation an invitation to big league spring training.

The 30-year-old right-hander was 1-6 with one save and a 6.08 ERA in 39 games, including three starts, for Colorado last season. He went on the injured list Aug. 14 with a left hip impingement and didn’t pitch the rest of the year.

Bettis has pitched in parts of seven seasons in the majors, all for Colorado. He is 31-31 with one save and a 5.12 ERA in 164 games.

Bettis was diagnosed with testicular cancer in November 2016 after going 14-8 in the Rockies’ rotation. He underwent surgery and chemotherapy and returned to the majors in August 2017, throwing seven shutout innings to beat Atlanta at Coors Field.

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