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Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has added four more people to the American League club's baseball operations department. (Gail Burton/AP)
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has added four more people to the American League club's baseball operations department. (Gail Burton/AP)

Anthopoulos surprised by swift ascension Add to ...

New Toronto Blue Jays manager Alex Anthopoulos has followed a simple philosophy to the top.

"My philosophy was I wasn't going to worry about the next step," said the 32-year-old Anthopoulos, who began his baseball path as an intern with the Montreal Expos nine years ago.

"My goal was always to do the best job I could at the job I was given. I started out answering fan mail, even though I thought I was overqualified. But I did the best job I could."

The Montreal native became the fifth Canadian general manager of a Major League Baseball team on Saturday, when he was appointed as the replacement for the fired J.P. Ricciardi.

The previous Canadian GMs in MLB were Gord Ash (Toronto), Doug Melvin (Milwaukee, Texas), Murray Cook (Cincinnati, Montreal and New York Yankees) and George Selkirk (Kansas City, Washington).

Although, Anthopoulos has been mentioned as possible general manager material recently, he did not expect his elevation to GM to arrive so soon. He confessed that he didn't take a suit jacket or a tie for the Jays' final series against the Baltimore Orioles.

A McMaster University graduate, Anthopoulos attended MLB scout school in 2001 and that's where he met Blue Jays scout co-ordinator Jon Lalonde, who hired Anthopoulos two years later as a scout.

He worked his way up the Jays hierarchy and was promoted to assistant GM in 2006.

Anthopoulos will take time to meet with the club's department heads, the entire staff and the players over the upcoming weeks before he formulates, along with interim CEO Paul Beeston, what direction the club should take in the off-season.

Beeston added that the team's payroll will be determined once the team's new philosophy is in place.

There also is the issue of the players' dislike for manager Cito Gaston that bubbled to the surface on Friday.

"There are things that happen over the course of a season," Anthopoulos said. "It's something that we will deal with internally going forward."

Anthopoulos said he will rely heavily on Jays director of player personnel Tony LaCava and will consider hiring a senior advisor.

He also relayed that he had "50 e-mails, 50 texts and 50 voice mails" congratulating him on his promotion. His first two calls went to his fiancée and the man he replaced.

"He's a great friend and he believes the world in me," Anthopoulos said. "I think the world of him. He was great. He's in my corner. We're certainly going to stay in touch. He wished me the best of luck and I did the same for him."

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