Griffin: Blue Jays notes Game 4
DUNEDIN, FLA.-On Tuesday the Jays lost a second consecutive game in Grapefruit League play, dropping a 7-0 decision to Cliff Lee and the Phillies at Dunedin Stadium.
"Ricky Romero, Chad Jenkins and Luis Perez, I thought threw the ball exceptionally well," Jays' manager John Farrell said. "They challenged the plate with strikes, they pitched ahead in the count and I thought Jenkins, one of the guys you see a year later after his spring training debut, you see the physical maturity, you see the mental maturity and he attacked the strike zone in the two innings he worked."
The big Dutch righthander Rick Vandenhurk allowed four runs in the third inning to take the loss. Romero, Jenkins and Perez each workede two shutout frames. Offensively, the Jays banged out seven hits, with second baseman Kelly Johnson going 2-for-3 with a triple, while third baseman Brett Lawrie was 2-for-3 with a double.
The Jays play a split-squad game on Wednesday with the Red Sox visiting Dunedin and another team of Jays traveling to Bradenton to meet the Pirates. Brandon Morrow will pitch the home game against Boston, making his first spring appearance, while Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison face the Bucs at McKechnie Field.
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Lefthander Ricky Romero pitched the first two innings against the Phillies on Tuesday, working his way out of a runner-on-third, one-out jam in the second. He escaped by inducing weak groundballs from Laynce Nix and Hector Luna.
"That's when you slow the game down," Romero said. "You don't try to do too much, let your defence work, make some good pitches and keep the ball in the infield. You do that kind of stuff and slow it down, everything works out."
Romero was happy to get to the stage of the spring where he's no longer facing his teammates in live batting practice and intra-squad friendlies.
"It's exciting any time you see that visiting team with a different colour uniform it feels good," Romero said. "Obviously you've got that adrenaline going and I couldn't wait to get out there and see that team in the opposite dugout. It felt great."
Romero is trying to work on some things, especially his effectiveness against lefthanded hitters. As a lefthanded thrower, he should dominate lefthanded hitting, but the numbers disprove that theory. His OPS against lefty swingers was .834, while against righties it was .589.
"It's something that I want to get better at," Romero admitted. "Every year I feel like we've got to get better at something and that's one of the parts of my game that I want to get better at, getting lefties out."
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Jays' rotation candidate Dustin McGowan threw a 25-pitch simulated game against active hitters at the minor-league complex on Tuesday afternoon.
"He threw the ball very well, again," manager John Farrell said. "He was probably in the low '90s. I didn't see it personally, but I know Bruce Walton talked very highly about the action down in the zone, the shape, the sharpness to his slider was there."
McGowan will pitch in his first Grapefruit League game on Saturday, March 10 against the Astros.
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Jays' batting coach Dwayne Murphy was scheduled to be on the field with the Jays Monday after returning home almost two weeks ago with permission from the club for a family issue. That return has been revised to his landing in Tampa now being on Wednesday evening and re-joining the team on Thursday.