Ryan sterling in debut
ST. PETERSBURG—Not only is it "game on" here, but B.J. Ryan was on as well.
Actually getting the start against the Tampa Rays — to sidestep the possibility of afternoon rain — the big guy needed only 12 pitches (eight strikes) to log his much-anticipated spring debut.
He missed, low, with his first pitch to Elliott Johnson, caught the outside corner with his second, then was quick off the mound to his left for an easy comebacker.
It would get better. After Carl Crawford took a ball low, the Tampa stud went down on three straight rips. Willy Aybar followed by taking a called third on a 2-2.
"It was good, finally coming out there, both anxious and nervous and not really knowing what to expect," said Ryan, who, depending on how he feels tomorrow, expects to be back out there Monday.
Only 10 months removed from his May 10 Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, it marked Ryan's first meaningful appearance since last April 14, when he blew a save against the Tigers.
Jays have already said that, not only will Ryan not be going back-to-back days in Florida, but that they plan to carry on that path through April as well.
Was it hard for him to buy into this one-day-at-a-time philosophy?
"It's tough because you're kind of bull-headed and stubborn and set in your ways," Ryan said. "Then again, I've never gone through something like this and George and Dave (trainers Poulis and Abraham) have. They've always been in my ear and I know what they're doing is in my best interest."
So originally scheduled starter, Jesse Listch, was out there to start the second and wound up turning a spring high five (seven hits, three runs). Score is 4-3 for the Jays, Rays coming to bat in the sixth. Jays scored two in the second on Lyle Overbay's RBI-double and sac fly by Aaron Hill; two more in the third on a two-run shot by Alex Rios, his first homer of the spring.