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Slow start hurting former Tampa Bay Rays speedster Joey Gathright's bid to make Blue Jays

DUNEDIN — Joey Gathright's specialty is speed. His problem is that he's not getting on base enough for the Blue Jays in the spring to showcase it.

If anything is going to consign the former Rays outfielder to Triple A, it's going to be his bat: a .200 average with six singles in 30 at-bats, one walk and six strikeouts.

Gathright said Sunday that he's "a notoriously slow starter. I've just got to be patient instead of going after everything."

He said he and hitting coach Dwayne Murphy have been working in the batting cage to fix the problem. "I'm in the position where I'm trying to make the team," Gathright, who turns 29 Saturday, said, "so it's either stick with what I was doing before or keep trying to get better."

GM Alex Anthopoulos said Gathright "brings that speed element that we don't have a lot of. That's a part of it, but it's not only speed. There's a lot of guys that you can get out there with the ability to run, but you've got to get on base to be able to use your speed."

Phillies: Moyer strong in first spring outing

CLEARWATER — Phillies LHP Jamie Moyer pitched five sharp innings against the Orioles in his spring debut.

Moyer, 47, who is competing with RHP Kyle Kendrick for the fifth rotation spot, gave up one run and five hits. He struck out six and walked none.

"I made some pitches when I had to," said Moyer, who had offseason operations on his abdomen and right knee. "I made some bad pitches but I recovered and made some adjustments. It's just trying to create consistency."

Yanks: Intrasquad set to get pitchers work

TAMPA — Yankees manager Joe Girardi faced a pitching problem: too many pitchers and not enough innings.

After the game against the Tigers was canceled by rain, Girardi and other team officials spent two hours organizing plans for eight pitchers.

"It's a mess," Girardi said. "In the big scope of things, in three months you're not going to say, 'Oh, the rain affected you.' Right now it's a pain."

The Yankees set up an intrasquad game today, with fifth-starter candidate Joba Chamberlain and Andy Pettitte facing each other. A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes, also competing for a rotation spot, face the Phillies in Clearwater.

FAST FACTS

Yankees

Where: George Steinbrenner Field, corner of Dale Mabry and Martin Luther King, Tampa. Today: at Phillies, 1:05, Clearwater, ESPN. Information: yankees.com

Phillies

Where: Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater. Information: phillies.com

Blue Jays

Where: Dunedin Stadium,

373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Today: vs. Tigers, 1:05, Dunedin. Information: bluejays.com

Slow start hurting former Tampa Bay Rays speedster Joey Gathright's bid to make Blue Jays 03/21/10 [Last modified: Monday, March 22, 2010 12:20am]

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