Happ struggles in Jays’ 11-6 win over Phils
DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) J.A. Happ gave up three runs, three hits and four walks over 2 2-3 innings, but Jose Bautista bailed him out, hitting two homers to lead the Toronto Blue Jays over the Philadelphia Phillies 11-6 Wednesday.
Bautista hit a two-run homer off starter Roberto Hernandez during a four-run third and a two-run shot against Brad Lincoln in the sixth.
Happ, slowed by back inflammation, struck out two during a 71-pitch outing in his first big league spring training start since March 3. The left-hander gave up one hit, walked one and struck out two in three scoreless innings in a minor league game Friday.
”They’re going to count soon, but I feel like I still have time,” Happ said. ”Passed 70 pitches today. I felt strong. I have a couple more outings to try to fine tune things. You’re going to take that outing for what it was, and it wasn’t pretty.”
Ben Revere hit a three-run double off Happ in the second.
Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect fifth. In his previous four appearances, he allowed seven runs – two earned – and eight hits in four innings.
Blue Jays: Happ has allowed nine runs in four innings overall.
Phillies: Hernandez gave up seven runs and 11 hits in 3 2-3 innings.
”He didn’t quite have his two-seam fastball working,” Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg said. ”He had some groundballs that found some holes but then, they took advantage of first-pitch fastball swinging in the big inning that they had.”
Hernandez had given up three runs and eight hits over 13 1-3 innings in his previous four starts.
Ricky Romero was sent to the Blue Jays minor league camp, ending the left-hander’s bid for a rotation spot.
Romero gave up three runs, three hits and five walks over 2 2-3 innings in Tuesday’s game against Detroit. He went 0-2 with an 11.05 ERA in four games last season, just two years after going 15-11 for Toronto.
”Ricky made great progress this spring,” manager John Gibbons said. ”Going in he had an outside shot if it all came together. Personally, with Ricky, I thought regardless of the camp he had, it would probably do him some good to start down in the minor leagues. Just to make sure he’s back to where he needed to be.”
Romero had an 1.29 ERA in three appearances before Tuesday.
The Blue Jays also sent right-hander Marcus Stroman to the minor league camp.
With the moves, it appears Drew Hutchison has pitched his way into a starting role.
Blue Jays: Toronto closer Casey Janssen (sore right shoulder) remains scheduled to pitch for the first time Friday. The right-haner, who threw batting practice Tuesday, will make three or four outings before opening day.
Melky Cabrera said he was fine after fouling a ball off his right foot-ankle area in the fourth. He was replaced by a pinch-runner after an RBI single.
Phillies: Left-hander Cole Hamels had a bullpen session and could soon throw batting practice.
Hamels entered spring training behind other Phillies pitchers after biceps tendinitis in November. He is expected to begin the season on the disabled list.
Sandberg sees a real upside in the Phillies’ lineup despite some spring training offensive struggles.
Jimmy Rollins (.115), Chase Utley (.167) and Domonic Brown (.171) are all hitting under .200.
”I just look at the potential on paper of what it looks like, right-handed bats, left-handed bats, some speed in there,” Sandberg said. ”I see the potential of having a lineup where it doesn’t have to be one guy, but it could be different guys each day. We haven’t clicked together as a group on the offensive side, but I still look at the potential that’s there, and if I lean on that I feel good about that.”