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Hutchison continues bid for spot in Blue Jays' rotation

DUNEDIN — Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison, a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation, allowed four hits and one earned run with seven strikeouts in 4⅔ innings in a 3-1 loss to the Red Sox on Friday.

Hutchison said he wants to finish the rest of the exhibition season strong and isn't looking ahead when it comes to the final spot in the rotation.

"It doesn't do me any benefit to think ahead or think behind," he said. "You just focus on each pitch and continue to execute and perform."

Pain-free: LHP J.A. Happ said he felt no pain after throwing 43 pitches in a minor-league game. Happ, who has been out with back inflammation, gave up one hit, walked one and struck out two in three scoreless innings. He said his fastball peaked at 93 mph, which was a positive sign.

"It felt good," he said. "It was good, exciting and I felt normal out there, which is really nice."

Manager John Gibbons said Happ should be ready to start again once the club determines he is fully healthy.

Yanks: Teixeira pleased

TAMPA — 1B Mark Teixeira, who had surgery to repair the tendon sheath in his right wrist last season, had an RBI single in a 7-3 loss to the Twins and said all recovery signs are positive so far.

"I'm really excited about the way the wrist feels," he said. "How it's bounced back from the increased workload. I haven't taken any steps backwards."

Trek to Panama: A Yankees split squad arrived in Panama, the home country of former closer and all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera, for its two games this weekend against the Marlins. Rivera told reporters, "I feel like a peacock," adding, "It was my dream to bring my team and my teammates to enjoy my homeland." Appropriately, the players were wearing Panama hats when they got off the plane, and they later visited the Panama Canal.

Phils: Howard homers

BRADENTON — Ryan Howard hit his first spring homer, a leadoff drive in the sixth off rookie Jay Jackson, but the Phillies lost 6-5 to the Pirates.

Howard, who is 7-for-34 (.206) with 15 strikeouts, has been working with hitting coach Steve Henderson and guest instructor Greg Luzinski to revamp his batting stance.

"When you hit a ball that hard the other way, you know you're swinging the bat better," Howard said.

Playing again: SS Jimmy Rollins was 0-for-4 as he returned to the lineup after a three-game benching. He grounded out twice, took a called third strike and flied out. A day earlier, Rollins said he thought manager Ryne Sandberg was upset about something, which caused the benching, but Sandberg said he had wanted to get Freddy Galvis some at-bats before the regular season starts.

Blue Jays

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

Tickets: (727) 733-0429;

Today: at Rays, 1:05, Port Charlotte, 620-AM


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

Tickets: (727) 467-4457;

Today: at Red Sox, 7:05, Fort Myers, MLB Network


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

Tickets: (813) 879-2244;

Today: (ss) at Orioles, 1:05, Sarasota, MLB Network; (ss) vs. Marlins (ss), 9:05, Panama City, Panama

Hutchison continues bid for spot in Blue Jays' rotation 03/14/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 14, 2014 9:46pm]
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