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Blue Jays rumored favorite for Ervin Santana

DUNEDIN — The Blue Jays are favored to land Ervin Santana, the top remaining free agent starting pitcher, multiple media outlets reported Saturday.

ESPN first reported that Santana, who was 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA for the Royals last season, was offered a one-year, $14 million contract by Toronto. However, the report said the 31-year-old right-hander was holding off on signing with the hope of getting a better deal from another team.

Blue Jays officials did not comment on any of the reports.

GAME DETAILS: RF Jose Bautista hit his third spring homer in Toronto's 4-3 victory over the Twins. RHP Drew Hutchison allowed two runs and struck out five in three innings.

Yanks: Long wait ends

KISSIMMEE — It was not the kind of return to the mound Manny Banuelos envisioned. But the left-hander still preferred that to the alternative: not being able to get out there at all.

And Banuelos experienced plenty of that the past two years.

"I'm very happy," he said after allowing three runs and two hits in two-thirds of an inning Saturday in the Yankees' 9-6 victory over the Astros at Osceola County Stadium. "The (result) wasn't like I wanted but the best thing is, I feel healthy and I felt very strong that inning."

Making his first appearance in game action since May 18, 2012, the one-time top prospect allowed the first three batters in the fifth inning to reach, culminating in Chris Carter's three-run homer. He struck out George Springer and retired Jesus Guzman on a grounder to third before being pulled.

GAME DETAILS: Former Ray Kelly Johnson homered after Mark Teixeira's first hit of the spring. Teixeira was playing in his second spring game after missing most of last season because of wrist surgery.

Phillies: Outfield thin

CLEARWATER — The Phillies' quest for outfield depth spawned a morning conversation with INF Freddy Galvis. Had he ever played centerfield? "Nope," he said, yet that is where he stood Saturday afternoon.

"They just told me to go out a little bit in centerfield," Galvis said, "take some balls and play today."

The dearth of outfield options is troubling. What happens if Domonic Brown, Ben Revere, or Marlon Byrd is injured for a prolonged period?

"We're going to have to look," GM Ruben Amaro said.

Bobby Abreu is viewed as a pinch-hitter first and outfielder second. The Phillies like Darin Ruf's bat but harbor doubts about his defense. They added Tony Gwynn and Clete Thomas on minor-league deals. Gwynn, 31, could not crack the majors in 2013. Thomas, 30, is a career .233 hitter.

"We lack in our outfield depth as much as anything," Amaro said. "We were looking to try to add some depth there, but we haven't been able to find it. We are hopeful some of the guys here in camp will be able to create some for us."

Blue Jays

Games: Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin

Tickets: (727) 733-0429;

Today: at Astros, 1:05, Kissimmee


Games: Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater

Tickets: (727) 467-4457;

Today: at Twins, 1:05, Fort Myers


Games: Steinbrenner Field, 1 Steinbrenner Drive (corner of Martin Luther King Jr. and Dale Mabry), Tampa

Tickets: (813) 879-2244;

Today: vs. Rays, 1:05, 620-AM

Blue Jays rumored favorite for Ervin Santana 03/08/14 [Last modified: Saturday, March 8, 2014 9:38pm]
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