Griffin: Blue Jays notes Games 16-17
CLEARWATER, FLA.-Toronto's 11-game undefeated streak at spring training ended on Saturday in Orlando, as the Braves beat a split squad of Blue Jays 5-3. Meanwhile the other half of the Jays lost to the Phillies 4-3 at Bright House Field. The Jays record in Grapefruit League play now stands at 12-4-1, as they host the Phillies back in Dunedin on Sunday in a televised game on Rogers Sportsnet.
In Orlando, Drew Hutchison and Deck McGuire each worked three innings and allowed a pair of runs, although one of the runs aganst Hutchison was unearned. Centre fielder Anthony Gose tripled, while left fielder Travis Snider was hitless in two at-bats.
At Bright House Field, the starter was Brandon Morrow, attempting to reach four innings for the first time this spring, but he ran up against a pitch count and was removed with one out in the fourth. He allowed one run and five hits in 3-1/3 innings and now has a 1.08 ERA. He was relieved by Luis Perez who worked 2-2/3 shutout innings. Bobby Korecky, a non-roster righthander gave up a leadoff double in the 10th to Scott Podsednick who scored the winner when Hector Luna lined a single to centre through a drawn-in infield. A home run by Freddy Galves off Jerry Gil had tied the game for the Phils in the ninth.
Jays' DH J.P. Arencibia smashed a monster homer off the thatched roof of the left field Tiki hut to give the Jays a 2-1 lead in the eighth and shortstop Brian Bocock slammed a solo homer in the ninth to give the Jays the 3-2 lead. They suffered two blown saves in the contest. Arencibia, Kelly Johnson, Omar Vizquel and Eric Thames had two hits apiece. Thames drove in a run with a sac-fly, bunted for a single and raised his average to .345.
Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco injured the ring finger of his left hand diving back into first base on a pickoff attempt by Jays' catcher Jeff Mathis in the first inning and underwent x-rays.
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The Jays will be trying the three-man broadcast booth on Sunday in their televised game on Rogers Sportsnet aganst the Phillies with Cole Hamles facing Brett Cecil. Sharing the commentary will be play-by-play man Buck Martinez, with anaysts Pat Tabler and Pat Hentgen. All three men are former Jays' players -- a catcher, an infielder and a pitcher.
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Jays' injured third baseman Brett Lawrie took Saturday day off from all activity to receive treatment for his injured left groin. The Langley, B.C. native suffered tightness after an energetic trip around the bases on Friday in the second inning that ended with a tweak as he scored from second base on a single by catcher J.P. Arencibia.
“It's likely to be multiple days before he's back on the field," manager John Farrell cautioned. "He's categorized as day-to-day. He feels improved today, but like I said we're going to make sure this one's 100-percent out of his mind and certainly not feeling anything before we would entertain the thought of getting him back in the lineup. We don't anticipate it being a lengthy situation. He won't go through any batting practice or anything today just to give it a complete day of treatment and a day of recovery.
“Even by his own admission, he's done this in the past. He made the smart move by saying something, pulling himself out of the game, so I think we'll get ahead of this in a relatively short period of time. He plays the game the way he's wired. That is intensity all the time, but setting aside yesterday's decision to come out of the game, there's also been times where he's made very good, prudent decisions inside the game, under control. Yeah, he plays full tilt but has the ability to stay under control when needed."
The question becomes how can a guy that plays the game as hard as he does day-in and day-out keep himself healthy and on the field?
“We would never ask him to go less than his instincts tell him to," Farrell said. "All players are going to deal with injuries. Some might say, look at how many games he missed last year. Well, he got hit in the hand with a pitch and he had a groundball pop up and fracture a finger. Those are completely out of his control. When he gets into his career and gets established, I think he'll have a better feel and certainly not trying to take away the intensity, but he'll understand who he is as a player more and more."
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Lefthander Luis Perez continues to impress in his bid for that final spot as a long man in the bullpen. Perez worked 2-2/3 shutout innings, allowing one hit, with a walk and two strikeouts. For the spring, he has now worked 8-2/3 inning without a run, qith two hits, three walks and nine strikeouts.
Earlier in the day, manager John Farrell had talked about two spots being open, but if you assume that a healthy Carlos Villanueva has one of those bullpen spots, then in Farrell's words, it leaves Perez, Rick Vandenhurk, Drew Carpenter and Aaron Laffey for the other. Farrell described the attributes for which he was ideally looking.
“He's got to be able to get lefthanders out," Farrell said. "He's got to be able to turn a lineup over and have the ability to get both lefties and righties out -- if it's a righthanded pitcher. That multi-inning guy is probably coming into a game to stabilize it. Last year, Carlos did a great job in that role stabilizing games when we were down early when the starter checked out early and would bridge the gap to later inning relievers."
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One of the Jays' pitchers sent to minor-league camp on Friday was lefthander Evan Crawford, who impressed manager John Farrell with his first major-league camp.
“He did everything we felt he could have done in the outings that he had here," Farrell said of Crawford's four no-hit, shutout innings in three games. "He was very impressive in camp for a young guy coming out of Double-A who's recently converted to the bullpen, he's got three solid major-league pitches. You could categorize his breaking pitces, both curveball and slider as being above average. I thought he handled himself in the clubhouse and on the field as a pro and he made a very strong impression in camp."