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Phillies' Lee still smoothing kinks

CLEARWATER — LHP Cliff Lee isn't concerned with his pitching line. He's focused on fine-tuning his delivery.

Lee gave up two homers in a five-run fourth inning, and the Phillies lost to the Blue Jays 7-6 Thursday.

Lee, who signed a five-year, $120 million deal with the Phillies in December, has a 5.54 ERA after four games this spring.

Lee had only allowed one baserunner to reach second base in the first three innings, but allowed five runs, three earned, and seven hits in four innings. He has allowed six earned runs in his last two starts.

"Obviously the stats aren't as important, it's more important to get your body right and work on things, experiment with stuff to prepare for the regular season," Lee said. "But we're starting to wind down now. I need to start being more effective."

Short hops: 2B Chase Utley left camp to consult a specialist in hopes of accelerating the rehab of his right knee. Utley hasn't appeared in a game this spring. … Closer Brad Lidge (right biceps tendinitis) will throw a side session today.

Jays: Bats alive

CLEARWATER — LHP Jo-Jo Reyes gave up five hits and three runs over five innings, but he was backed by homers from RF Juan Rivera and 1B Edwin Encarnacion as the Blue Jays beat the Phillies 7-6.

Rivera and Encarnacion homered off Cliff Lee in a five-run fourth inning. Rivera, DH Adam Lind and 2B John McDonald had three hits apiece for the Jays.

Cuts loom: The "B" squad games are ending, so roster cuts are near. The Jays have 47 players in camp, counting 16 nonroster invitees.

3B Brett Lawrie, DH Eric Thames, OF Anthony Gose and C Travis d'Arnaud have been getting significant playing time, but now the veterans are expected to play more.

"I think we're getting closer to that point where their regular at-bats are going to take precedence," manager John Farrell told "But in the meantime they'll continue to be used in the way they have been and they'll continue to learn and (we'll) provide feedback."

Yanks: Gardner first

TAMPA — Yankees manager Joe Girardi is tweaking his lineup over the final weeks of spring, and one of the adjustments is having OF Brett Gardner hit leadoff vs. the Rays.

Gardner went from ninth to first Thursday, with SS Derek Jeter dropping to second. Both went 0-for-3 in a 3-2 victory.

Jeter batted first 137 times last season. He was in the two-hole on 18 occasions. Gardner was first in the lineup in the other 25 games during 2010.

"Just a little different look," Girardi said. "… What's the value of having (Gardner) getting another 70, 80 at-bats. That's what you look at."

Gardner has been working on bunting and cutting down on his strikeouts (101 in 477 at-bats last year).

"If I put the ball in play, I've got a chance," said Gardner, who hit .277 and stole 47 bases.

Short hops: Setup man Rafael Soriano, the Rays' closer last year, threw one inning in a minor-league intrasquad game. "I don't like to pitch (in spring training) against teams in the division," Soriano said. "It's been working for me. I'm not changing." … Former manager Joe Torre, who split with the team after the 2007 season and is now MLB's executive vice president of operations, has been invited to Old-Timers' Day, and he said he plans to attend.

.fast facts

Blue Jays

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

Tickets: (727) 733-0429 or


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

Tickets: (727) 467-4457 or


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

Tickets: (813) 879-2244 or

Phillies' Lee still smoothing kinks 03/17/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 18, 2011 4:18pm]
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