Blue Jays 8, Phillies 5

Roy Halladay was just glad to make it to the mound at all.

The ace right-hander pitched two innings in a rain-shortened

final spring start, and the Philadelphia Phillies went on to an 8-5

loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.

Halladay allowed two runs and three hits, struck out three and

walked none before a 37-minute rain delay interrupted the

exhibition game. He finished his work inside the batting cage and

is set to face the Pirates in Pittsburgh on opening day.

”I got to face some hitters which for there a little while we

weren’t sure if I was going to be in the cage from the get-go –

I’ll take it,” said Halladay, who warmed up before the game with

ominous clouds closing in on Clearwater. ”If it’s every going to

rain it might as well be today on a short (start) as opposed to one

where you’re supposed to throw six or seven innings.”

The 34-year-old Halladay will throw a side session on Monday in

Philadelphia before making his 10th straight opening-day start on

Thursday. No pitcher in baseball has made more consecutive

opening-day starts.

”I’m happy with everything,” Halladay said of his spring.

”The last week is always tough. I’m looking forward to a change of

scenery; I’ve been here since December, so I’m ready.”

Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Luis Valbuena homered for

Toronto. Bautista hit a solo drive off David Herndon for his fourth

spring homer.

Blue Jays left-hander Ricky Romero prepped for his opening-day

start by retiring all six batters he faced, striking out two.

”I think that’s the best I’ve felt all spring,” Romero said.

”I was sharp with all of my pitches. It’s where I wanted to

finish.”

The 27-year-old Romero will make his second consecutive

opening-day start on Wednesday in Cleveland. As the Blue Jays

prepared to break camp, Romero spoke optimistically about the

team’s chances this season.

”I’ve said it all along, I lead by example, I’m not a rah-rah

guy – I just come in and do my work,” Romero said. ”I feel like

everyone is a leader in their own way. We’re arrogant in a good way

and know we can win. I think those are good qualities to

have.”

Phillies outfielder John Mayberry Jr. ended an 0-for-19 skid

with a solo home run off Clint Everts in the seventh inning. It was

Mayberry’s first spring homer.

NOTES: Philadelphia RHP Mike Stutes (shoulder soreness) played

catch. He will stay in Clearwater when the Phillies break camp

Sunday and could throw in a minor league game Tuesday or Wednesday.

The Phillies have not ruled him out for opening day. . RHP Jose

Contreras ”probably” will start the season on the disabled list,

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro said. Contreras had elbow

surgery in September and didn’t begin throwing in games until

mid-March. He could be activated on April 10. . Philadelphia C

Carlos Ruiz continued his torrid spring by going 2 for 2 with a

double. Ruiz is hitting .512 (21 for 41) with two home runs and

seven doubles in 15 games. … Toronto RHP Dustin McGowan (right

foot plantar fasciitis) will begin the season on the disabled list.

”The foot continues to feel better but we want to be sure every

symptom is out of there,” manager John Farrell said. ”If the

injury starts to alter the arm slot that starts to get into a

dangerous area.” . Blue Jays OF Ben Francisco (hamstring) was not

with the team in Clearwater. Francisco is scheduled to play in a

minor league game on Sunday. . Toronto 1B Adam Lind (lower back)

could be back in the lineup Sunday. Lind, who has been out since

Tuesday, resumed baseball activities Saturday. ”He’s feeling

better and his back is free,” Farrell said.