- Associated Press - Thursday, December 3, 2015

TORONTO (AP) - The Toronto Blue Jays have hired longtime Indians executive Ross Atkins as their new general manager, the club announced Thursday.

Atkins, who worked as Cleveland’s player personnel director, will join former Indians president Mark Shapiro - a close friend - with the Blue Jays.

Atkins succeeds Alex Anthopoulos, who left the Blue Jays shortly before Shapiro took over the American League East champions.

Atkins pitched in the Cleveland organization before joining its front office. He worked with team’s pitching prospects before becoming the assistant farm director in 2001. He worked as the club’s director of Latin American operations for three years and ran the farm system from 2007-2014.

Atkins interviewed in the past for GM openings in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

Shapiro, a former general manager with Cleveland, became Toronto’s new president in November. He replaced Paul Beeston, who retired after years of running the business side of the Blue Jays.

Anthopoulos declined to serve in what might have been diminished role under Shapiro.

Anthopoulos was the architect of the Blue Jays’ first playoff team since 1993 and was named executive of the year on the day he announced he was leaving. . A Canadian, his departure did not go over well with the Toronto’s fan base. Nor did pitcher David Price’s signing with the rival Boston Rex Sox.

The Blue Jays will introduce Atkins at a press conference in Toronto on Friday.

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Withers reported from Cleveland.

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