Gaston back with Blue Jays

Cito Gaston is closing in on the record for stints with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Tony Fernandez is the franchise leader with four (1983-1990, 1993, 1997-1999, 2001).

But Gaston, 57, is back with the Blue Jays for a third time, as special assistant to president and chief executive officer Paul Godfrey.

Toronto tendered the position to Gaston upon his dismissal as hitting coach at the conclusion of last season.

As field manager, Gaston led the Blue Jays to four American League East pennants (1989, 1991-93) and back-to-back World Series in 1992-93.

In doing so, he became the first black manager in baseball history to win a World Series title.

Gaston is Toronto's all-time winningest manager, posting a 681-635 record (.518) in 1,319 games between 1989 and 1997.

Originally an outfielder, he played 11 seasons for the Atlanta Braves (twice), San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates before retiring in 1978.

In 1,026 career games, he hit .256 with 91 home runs and 387 runs batted in.