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Phillies tab Hamels to start opener

CLEARWATER — It's Cole Hamels' time to be up front.

The three-time All-Star left-hander who started the Phillies' fourth game the last two years will start on opening day for the first time in his career, the Phillies announced Thursday.

In his eighth major-league season, Hamels, who was 17-6 with a 3.05 ERA and 216 strikeouts last year, will take the ball in the spot that went to Roy Halladay the last three seasons.

Not Ready to go: Charlie Manuel, 69 and in the final season of his contract, said he wants to continue as manager, though some have speculated that new third-base coach Ryne Sandberg will eventually replace him. "I'm not ready for somebody to tell me to go home," said Manuel, the franchise's all-time leader in wins. "… I'm not ready to get out of the game."

Short hops: RHP Aaron Cook and RHP Rodrigo Lopez combined for five scoreless innings, INF Pete Orr hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth and the Phillies beat the Pirates 2-1. … Closer Jonathan Papelbon struck out two in a perfect sixth.

Yanks: Hughes throws

RHP Phil Hughes threw 26 pitches at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa during his first batting practice session since hurting his upper back Feb. 18 and reported no physical issues.

"Just a hair off with my command, but I sort of anticipated that," Hughes said. "I felt like the ball was coming out pretty good."

He is set to pitch Monday in a simulated game. The Yankees haven't ruled out Hughes missing his first regular-season start.

"I rather it be one start than a bunch that pile up," said Hughes, who went 16-13 with 4.23 ERA last season.

"I think it's a pretty significant step," manager Joe Girardi said. "It's still really early to judge if he can be ready to start the season."

Short hops: Starter Jose Ramirez walked four of the first seven batters he faced and the Yankees walked 10 in all as the Blue Jays won 17-5 in Dunedin. "It was a tough game to watch," Girardi said. … LHP CC Sabathia, the expected opening day starter, will make his first spring start today against Miami. He had left elbow surgery to remove a bone spur.

Jays: Easy outing

DUNEDIN — RHP Josh Johnson allowed one run over three innings, INF Maicer Izturis had five RBIs and the Blue Jays routed the Yankees 17-5.

Johnson, coming off a start last week in which he retired all 11 batters he faced, gave up two hits and struck out five.

His biggest challenge was sitting in the dugout for long stretches as the Jays scored nine runs in the first and six in the second on a windy day with the temperature near 60.

"It was awesome, but not fun at the time," Johnson said. "You want to get out there and find that tempo."

Short hops: Melky Cabrera drove in four runs for the Jays, who led 15-1 after two innings. … RHP Casey Janssen, coming off surgery on his throwing shoulder, threw batting practice. His status for opening day has not been determined. "Another step in the right direction," he said. "It was nice to face some hitters and pick up the intensity again."

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Blue Jays

Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin Tickets: (727) 733-0429, bluejays.com

Today: at Tigers, Lakeland, 1:05

Phillies

Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater Tickets: (727) 467-4457, phillies.com

Today: at Rays, Port Charlotte, 1:05. TV: Sun Sports

Yankees

Steinbrenner Field, 1 Steinbrenner Drive (corner Martin Luther King and Dale Mabry), Tampa

Tickets: (813) 879-2244, yankees.com

Today: vs. Marlins, 1:05

Phillies tab Hamels to start opener 03/14/13 [Last modified: Thursday, March 14, 2013 11:13pm]

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