Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Phillies' Ruf homers, then sent down

CLEARWATER — Darin Ruf hit a different kind of walkoff homer Friday.

The Phillies prospect launched a shot with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Braves 7-6, then was told he was being assigned to minor-league camp.

"It kind of caught me off-guard a little bit, but it's part of the game," he said. "They're not disappointed in anything I've done so far. It's just that I need to get out there and play leftfield on a daily basis."

Ruf, 26, hit 38 homers in Double A last year and hit three more in a late-season call up. The Phillies want him to improve his glove at Triple A.

Short hops: Closer Jonathan Papelbon earned the win after a perfect ninth inning with a strikeout. … OF Delmon Young, a former Ray, played in his first game of the spring, a minor-league game in Dunedin, where he went 1-for-4 with a homer off R.A. Dickey. He only hit and ran to first base, as he is still recovering from microfracture surgery in November.

Jays: Janssen sharp

DUNEDIN — Toronto closer Casey Janssen opened in impressive fashion as the right-hander struck out two in a perfect seventh in his spring debut as the Jays beat the Red Sox 1-0.

"First time out there, I guess it couldn't have gone any better," Janssen said.

Janssen, who finished with 22 saves last year, had surgery in November to address lingering shoulder soreness. After striking out Lyle Overbay and Mauro Gomez, he got a grounder from Mike Carp.

"His ball was exploding," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "I thought he was popping the ball pretty good."

Short hops: LHP J.A. Happ continued his strong spring, allowing two hits in six shutout innings. He could begin the season at Triple A, in a long relief role or move into a starting spot if Ricky Romero is dropped from the rotation.

Yankees: Nova off

FORT MYERS — Robinson Cano returned from the World Baseball Classic, his swing in fine form for the Yankees, but RHP Ivan Nova was off his form this time out.

Cano drove in two runs to help the Yankees beat the Twins 9-7 despite a rough start for Nova, who's contending for the fifth slot in the rotation.

Cano went 1-for-2 with a sacrifice fly and an RBI double as the designated hitter, playing for the second straight day after winning MVP award honors for the Dominican Republic.

Nova gave up back-to-back homers to Justin Morneau and Ryan Doumit in the second inning. He gave up seven hits, five runs and one walk in 5⅓ innings, striking out three.

"I'm not happy," said Nova, who is battling David Phelps to be the fifth starter and saw his ERA climb to 4.19. "I don't like the way I threw the ball today. It doesn't matter whether I'm in a competition or not. I always want to do my best. I'm not worried about any competition. My competition is with myself."

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