Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Sports

Blue Jays' R.A. Dickey happy with mechanics in early outing

DUNEDIN— RHP R.A. Dickey pitched three scoreless innings and OF Michael Saunders hit his third homer in as many games in the Blue Jays' 3-1 win over the Braves on Monday.

Dickey, the 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner, allowed one hit to Gordon Beckham to open the third. The knuckleballer threw 31 pitches and walked one.

"I think the No. 1 thing that I care about at this point is having a repeatable mechanic," Dickey said. "Are my pitches in the strike zone? Are all three of the pitches that I mainly throw coming out of my hand in the strike zone and staying a strike for a long amount of time? And the answer to that is yes right now.

"I just want to keep building that end to my foundation, and then I've got about three more weeks to build up a little more arm strength and be ready to go."

Saunders, who homered twice and drove in five runs Saturday against the Phillies, hit a long solo shot to rightfield in the third off RH reliever Alexi Ogando.

"He's confident, (and) that's big," manager John Gibbons said. "He feels good and he's got something to prove here."

INJURY REPORT: LHP Brett Cecil appeared in a game for the first time since tearing his left calf muscle against the Rangers in Game 2 of the AL Division Series. He allowed a hit and struck out one in the eighth.

Yankees: Key relievers debut

TAMPA — Yankees relievers Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances each pitched an inning in their spring training debuts during a 1-0 loss to the Astros.

Miller struck out Alex Bregman with two on to end the sixth. The left-hander will start the regular season as New York's closer while LHP Aroldis Chapman serves a 30-game suspension under baseball's domestic violence policy.

Betances allowed the lone run in the seventh on Max Stassi's double to left-center that should have been caught. Stassi scored on Andrew Aplin's double.

"There's plenty of time," Miller said. "Being healthy is the most important thing."

INJURY REPORT: LF Brett Gardner (bruised left wrist) took 17 swings during his first onfield batting practice session and could play next week.

Phillies: A solid audition

BRADENTON — Phillies RHP Vincent Velasquez, who is competing for an open rotation spot, allowed three hits in three innings in a 1-0 win over the Pirates.

Velasquez, 23, struck out three and walked one. He said he was more at ease than in his first spring outing, when he gave up three runs — two earned — in two innings against Toronto.

"This time, everything was working," Velasquez said. "I was working down in the bottom of the zone, not elevating my pitches. I'm comfortable with the outcome."

A minor adjustment in the bullpen a few days ago made a difference.

"Just staying back," Velasquez said. "Not trying to be too quick with my pitches."

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