BRADENTON — Blue Jays RHP Kyle Drabek is eager to prove that last season was an aberration.
Drabek, the son of former Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek and one of the key prospects in the December 2009 deal that sent RHP Roy Halladay to the Phillies, had a miserable rookie season, going 4-5 with a 6.06 ERA in 18 appearances, walking 55 and striking out 51 in 782/3 innings. His struggles continued after he was demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas, where he had a 7.44 ERA in 15 starts
Drabek, still just 24, reported to Florida two weeks before the start of spring training after working on his mechanics all winter.
"In my windup, I'm trying to stay back and not spin off so much," Drabek said. "Last year, we figured out that spinning off doesn't allow me to throw my fastball where I want to. We're working on me trying to stay straight up, staying smooth and being able to repeat it with each pitch."
Wednesday, in a split-squad game against the Pirates, Drabek allowed three runs on four hits in two innings. He walked one and struck out two.
"I thought it went good, although the numbers don't show it," Drabek said. "There were some that got away from me, but for the most part I was where I wanted to be."
IN DUNEDIN: Toronto's "A" squad played a 3-3 game with the Red Sox as RHP Brandon Morrow pitched two one-hit innings.
Phils: Doc's assist
CLEARWATER — RHP Vance Worley was not concerned about the two runs he gave up in his spring debut. He was busy tinkering with his new pitch.
"I tried to work on the split-fingered change a little bit and my location was not all that great and the results didn't exactly come with it," Worley said after the Phillies were roughed up by the Astros 10-3.
Worley, 24, worked mostly off his sinker to go 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA in 25 games (21 starts) as a rookie. But in an effort to avoid a sophomore slump, he has been experimenting with a changeup.
Two-time Cy Young Award winner and Phillies ace Roy Halladay showed Worley the changeup grip before camp opened last month.
"It's Doc's grip," Worley said. "He showed it to me, said just mess with it. I threw a few of them and said, 'That's a good pitch.' I did throw one (Wednesday) that was good."
CHANGING TUNE: Though the Dropkick Murphys insisted they were kidding when they said former Red Sox RHP Jonathan Papelbon couldn't use Shipping Up to Boston as his entrance music, the new Phillies closer said he plans to change it anyway. He is keeping it a secret until he pitches in Philadelphia.
WILLIS POUNDED: Former All-Star LHP Dontrelle Willis scuffled in his latest bid to win a spot in the bullpen, allowing four runs on three hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning. Afterward, Willis complained of arm fatigue and soreness.
Yanks: Warming up
TAMPA — Though he was roughed up a bit in a 4-0 loss to the Rays, RHP Hiroki Kuroda was pleased with his first game action as a Yankee.
"The most important thing I wanted to accomplish was the feeling for the real game," Kuroda, 37, said through an interpreter. "I think I was able to do that, so I'm happy."
Kuroda allowed three runs in two innings. He signed a one-year, $10 million contract with New York after spending all four of his big-league seasons with the Dodgers.
INSPIRING: Donnie Moore of the evangelical ministry Radical Reality, the latest motivational speaker brought in by manager Joe Girardi, put on quite a show, tearing apart a soda can and a telephone book with his bare hands. And he took a frying pan and rolled it up. "Like a burrito," Girardi said.
YOGI ARRIVES: Hall of Fame C Yogi Berra, 86, showed up for his annual stint as a guest instructor. "I felt like camp started today; Yogi's here," Girardi said. "It was great to see him. It just kind of puts a smile on everyone's face."
CASHMAN CASE: Louise Neathway, who is charged with extorting $6,000 from Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, may testify next week before a grand jury weighing the case.
Where: Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin
Today: 1:05 vs. Yankees, Dunedin
Info: bluejays.com/spring training; (727) 733-0429
Where: Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater
Today: 1:05 vs. Pirates, Clearwater
Info: phillies.com/spring training; (727) 467-4457
Where: Steinbrenner Field, corner of Dale Mabry and Martin Luther King, Tampa
Info: yankees.com/spring training; (813) 879-2244