Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Phillies' Jimmy Rollins shows signs power is back

CLEARWATER — Jimmy Rollins hit a three-run homer in his second plate appearance of an eight-run third inning Friday, leading the Phillies to a 10-6 win over a Tigers split squad.

Batting second in manager Ryne Sandberg's lineup, Rollins led off the third inning with his second walk. Rollins, 35, hit a career-low six homers last year, including only two in 64 games after the All-Star break.

"He's still got his pop," Sandberg said. "But it's not something I'm stressing or looking at. I like to see gap-to-gap strike form. … A home-run swing from him for me is just a reaction on a pitch."

A little off: Starter Kyle Kendrick walked two of the first four batters he faced in his first start of the spring. Kendrick allowed three runs on two hits and three walks in two innings. He struck out three.

"My command was off," he said. "I was trying to rush it a little bit. I don't think I'll walk two guys again this spring. That won't happen again."

This time on: RHP Phillippe Aumont, who has been unable to stick on the major-league roster because of his inability to throw strikes consistently, pitched a 1-2-3 inning. He had walked two in his spring debut Wednesday.

"I liked him throwing his fastball and sticking with it," Sandberg said. "He doesn't have to throw his breaking balls right now. Pound the zone with the fastball; that's when he's effective."

Jays: Navarro focuses on pitching staff first

DUNEDIN — Former Rays C Dioner Navarro hit an RBI double in the Blue Jays' 4-2 win over the Pirates.

After spending last season with the Cubs, Navarro signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the Jays. Navarro, who batted .300 with 13 homers for the Cubs, said he has been taking extra swings but his main focus is getting to know the pitching staff.

"Every time I get the opportunity, I jump in the cage. But right now it's all about the pitchers," Navarro said, "especially with me coming to a new team (and) seeing a lot of new faces. It's all about them. I will get my swings in. I will do my work."

Short hops: Starter Mark Buehrle allowed one earned run in two innings. He gave up two hits and one walk, and struck out one. … Outfield prospect Ricardo Nanita hit an RBI triple in the eighth.

Yanks: HR for McCann

LAKELAND — Yankees newcomer Brian McCann homered off Tigers RHP Max Scherzer in the second inning of New York's 7-4 loss.

Three of New York's top free-agent signings — McCann, OF Carlos Beltran and OF Jacoby Ellsbury — made the trip to Lakeland to face Detroit's split squad. McCann's drive to right leading off the second was the only hit by that trio.

"I don't know if I've ever hit a home run this early in camp," said McCann, who left the Braves for an $85 million, five-year deal. "I don't know if it's a good sign or a bad sign."

Tanaka today: Much-hyped Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who signed a seven-year, $155 million offseason deal, was scheduled to pitch in his first spring game today against the Phillies. CC Sabathia was scheduled to start at Steinbrenner Field and be followed by Hiroki Kuroda and Tanaka.

Tanaka is curious to test his splitter against major-leaguers. "I feel that is important, to get some swings and misses on that pitch," Tanaka said through his translator. "I just want to see how the batters react to the pitch."

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