Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Veteran Vizquel is dazzling Jays

PLEASE, NOT THE BEAK: Phillies centerfielder Shane Victorino mocks a karate kick toward the Pirate Parrot.

Associated Press

PLEASE, NOT THE BEAK: Phillies centerfielder Shane Victorino mocks a karate kick toward the Pirate Parrot.

DUNEDIN — Omar Vizquel is barely six weeks shy of his 45th birthday and has spent 23 seasons in the majors, and he's still trying to prove he belongs.

Vizquel is a non-roster invitee to Blue Jays camp. With a stellar performance at third base and at the plate Monday in Toronto's 4-1 victory over the Orioles, he took steps toward winning a job as a utility infielder.

Vizquel made two dazzling plays at third base, a less familiar position for him than shortstop, where he has won 11 Gold Gloves, and had a two-run, two-out single.

The hit was barely a footnote after the game for Toronto manage John Farrell. Vizquel has played 132 career games at third base and 2,699 at shortstop.

"His internal clock is what allows him to make up for any deficiencies in arm strength," Farrell said, "how quickly he gets rid of the ball and his understanding and knowledge of the hitters and the speed of the hitters. Whether he gets them by a half-step or a quarter-step or two steps, they're an out."

Vizquel barehanded Scott Beerer's high chopper just off the third-base line and threw him out at first. Two innings later, Vizquel backhanded Jai Miller's bouncer a few steps onto the outfield grass and sailed a rainbow throw that beat Miller by two steps.

"The long throw was more impressive," Vizquel said. "It was (a backhanded catch) I don't do very often, and still make the long throw. People are questioning if I still have the ability to make a good throw to first base with power. The barehand play, I used to do that quite a few times."

FIRST STRING COMING: The Blue Jays are scheduled to bring several big-name players to St. Petersburg's Al Lang Field for today's 1:05 p.m. game against Team Canada, including Jose Bautista, Brett Lawrie, J.P. Arencibia and Adam Lind.

Phils: Dominant start

BRADENTON — Though it was just a spring training outing, Vance Worley pitched as if it were Game 7 of the World Series.

The right-hander struck out eight in four perfect innings to lead the Phillies past the Pirates 3-1. Pittsburgh did not hit a ball out of the infield against Worley, who struck out two in each inning, dominating with a mix of cutters, sinkers and curves.

"It's too early to strike out a bunch of guys," Worley said. "I'd rather get contact, because that helps you get deeper into games. (Monday), I happened to get a lot of swings and misses and some takes in there, too. If they're going to give them to me, I'll take them."

In his first spring outing, Worley gave up two runs and five hits in two innings against the Astros. He stewed for four days.

"I sat on my couch and thought about it, even though you're not supposed to think about it," Worley said. "I basically said, 'I know I'm better than that.' I wasn't going to let it happen again."

BACK AT FIRST: Jim Thome played first base for four innings, his first game action at first since 2007. The Phillies hope he can handle it well enough to fill in for Ryan Howard, who might not return until midseason.

The first ball hit to Thome, a grounder off the bat of INF Albert Cartwright in the fourth inning, scooted past him. He fielded another grounder cleanly later in the inning and wound up making five putouts.

"It felt good to be out there," Thome said. "It was just a lot of fun. It makes you really appreciate guys that win Gold Gloves and go out there, really good defensive players."

Yanks: Good news

TAMPA — Yankees RH reliever David Robertson, who suffered a bone bruise in his right foot when he fell down some stairs last week, ditched his walking boot and played catch without pain, the Journal News reported.

Though it's unknown when he'll be cleared to resume throwing off a mound, he told the newspaper that he expects to be ready for the season opener against the Rays on April 6.

"As long as I don't have any setbacks, I don't see why I wouldn't be," he said.

Robertson posted a 1.08 ERA in 662/3 innings last season as New York's primary setup man.


Blue Jays

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

Today: (ss) vs. Canada, 1:05, Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg; at Twins, 1:05, Fort Myers

Info: training; (727) 733-0429


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

Today: at Astros, 1:05, Kissimmee

Info: training; (727) 467-4457


Where: Steinbrenner Field, corner of Dale Mabry and Martin Luther King, Tampa

Today: vs. Red Sox, 7:05, Tampa.

Info: training; (813) 879-2244

Veteran Vizquel is dazzling Jays 03/12/12 [Last modified: Monday, March 12, 2012 11:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars


    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half



    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.
  3. Rays journal: Archer has strong outing, with two mistakes

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Two pitches RHP Chris Archer didn't execute are the ones that stood out Thursday as Josh Donaldson hit them out of the park. But the two solo home runs aside, Archer turned in a sterling outing that went atop the pile of good pitching the Rays keep wasting.

    Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) works during the first inning. [Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP]
  4. Tim Tebow continues wowing fans as he wraps up bay area games


    CLEARWATER — Tracey Fritzinger has seen Tim Tebow play baseball a few times this year. The 40-year-old St. Petersburg resident went to two of his games against the Tampa Yankees, along with Joy, her little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow, middle, hangs out in the dugout during Thursday night’s game against the Clearwater Threshers at Spectrum Field, the last of St. Lucie’s eight-day trip to the Tampa Bay area.
  5. Rays vs. Mariners, 7:10 Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.