Griffin: Blue Jays notes Game 3
The Jays dropped their first decision of the spring on Monday, losing 4-2 to Justin Verlander and the Tigers. The Jays had taken a 2-1 lead in the seventh on a single to left by second baseman Ryan Goins. But non-roster pitcher Jerry Gil allowed two runs in the seventh and the Tigers added one more in the eighth against Nelson Figueroa.
The Jays were led offensively by centre fielder Colby Rasmus who was 2-for-2 with a double and a walk. First baseman Edwin Encarnacion doubled home the tying run in the sixth after being earlier robbed of a home run to left by Delmon Young.
"He's dealt with some wrist issues last year and the previous year," manager John Farrell said. "But he's come in, he's felt great, his swing even seems more compact. In the games he's played so far, he's put some good swings on some balls."
The Jays outhit the Tigers 10-7 as their record dropped to 2-1 in Grapefruit League play. The Jays host the Phillies in Dunedin on Tuesday, with Ricky Romero making his first start.
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Rookie centre fielder Anthony Gose had a mixed bag kind of day vs. the Tigers on Monday. Manager John Farrell thought he was playing too shallow in the seventh when the Tigers took the lead on a triple to left centre by non-roster outfielder Quintin Berry, but he also made a tremendous throw to the plate in the eighth inning when it looked like he had no chance that had catcher Rob Brantley beat, but it eluded catcher Yan Gomes.
"Very good arm strength," Farrell said. "He'll load it up. He knows he's got a good throwing arm. The ball gets hung on at home plate that's an out. I think he learned a little bit too about the strength of some opposing hitters. The ball over his head, he's playing average depth, but the ball right at him, a little bit of a tough read, he broke in and ended up being the difference in today's game."
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The depth of the pitching in Jays' camp showed again on Monday vs. the Tigers. Thus far in three games, manager John Farrell has used 22 different pitchers to work a total of 26 innings. Among that group, 15 of them have pitched scoreless ball.
"Evan Crawford again today, very crisp stuff even against Miguel Cabrera, even the other day against Jose Bautista," Farrell said. "Name recognition isn't fazing him one bit. It's good to see. It's been two appearances, but still, he's making the most of his opportunities."
The 25-year-old lefthander struck out Cabrera and Delmon Young, surrounding a groundball to second base by Don Kelly. In the intrasquad game Friday, Crawford had struck out Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. He pitched last season at AA-New Hampshire.
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Jays' righthander Carlos Villanueva is making positive strides in coming back from the mysterious circulatory problem in his right forearm and hand that left him cold and with a momentary and alarming inability to detect a pulse or blood pressure.
Villanueva threw a full bullpen on Sunday, will pitch in a simulated game on Wednesday, likely at the Mattick training centre, and then will be used in a game on the weekend.
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The unfortunate Jesse Litsch has been shut down for six weeks without picking up a baseball, the Jays had announced the move on Sunday. The veteran righthander, who had been in line for a bullpen role, suffered a shoulder infection from an injection given to him to relieve shoulder inflammation and underwent surgery.
"Unfortunately for Jesse, the six-weeks no throw is going to push him to a 12-week return," manager John Farrell said. "We're going to have to take him all the way back through spring training once you get his arm going and put a ball back in his hand."