Jays Happ shuts out trade buzz

BOSTON—The Blue Jays scurried off to various destinations — some tropical, some homey — for the all-star break a week ago Sunday, eager to erase the memory of a 19-1 blowout at the hands of the Houston Astros at the Rogers Centre.For starter J.A. Happ, though — who returns to the mound Tuesday night at Fenway Park for the first time since absorbing that defeat — the loss lingered.“On a personal note, it hurts worse than as a team,” Happ said at the time, after allowing six runs on seven hits — three of them home runs — in four shaky innings.The veteran left-hander — a 20-game winner in 2016 and midway through a three-year contract worth $36 million U.S. — is eager to make amends. But with the Jays’ season hanging in the balance, there’s talk that he could be on the move.Reports this week by Fox Sports insider Ken Rosenthal had the Milwaukee Brewers, the National League Central leaders, expressing interest in Happ — who went 7-2 with a 1.85 ERA for the Central-rival Pittsburgh Pirates in 2015 before his second stint as a Jay. Rosenthal added that the price would be sky-high, with Happ signed at a reasonable price for next season and few quality starters expected to hit the free-agent market this year.Article Continued BelowOn the eve of his start at Fenway, Happ — the centerpiece of a 10-player trade between the Jays and Astros in 2012 — refused to get caught up in the speculation.“You never know how it’ll play out,” Happ said, “but this is where I want to be. For me personally, I just kind of go about my business.”Blue Jays manager John Gibbons agreed that good starting pitching is hard to find.