1. Rays

Phillies name Vince Velasquez fifth starter

Published Mar. 28, 2016

DUNEDIN — RHP Vince Velasquez was named the Phillies' fifth starter on Monday morning, then made his bosses look good in the afternoon by shutting out the Blue Jays for six innings in a 2-1 loss.

"Velasquez was outstanding," manager Pete Mackanin said.

Velasquez held Toronto to two hits and three walks. He struck out eight of the 21 batters he faced.

"It wasn't easy," he said. "I just try to go out and pitch, keep that mentality of staying strong through everything."

Velasquez, 23, acquired from the Astros in the December trade that sent closer Ken Giles to Houston, entered camp in competition with LHPs Adam Morgan and Brett Oberholtzer for a rotation spot. Morgan was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and Oberholtzer is expected to open the season in the bullpen.

OUTFIELD DEPTH: The Phillies signed OF Will Venable to a minor-league contract, a day after he was released by the Indians. Venable's deal included an invite to major-league camp. He is expected to play today against the Yankees.

Yanks: Test for Tanaka

TAMPA — RHP Masahiro Tanaka's final spring start today against the Phillies will likely determine whether he will be the Yankees' opening-day starter.

Tanaka has a 7.36 ERA in four starts and gave up seven runs in four innings against the Nationals on Wednesday.

"We want to make sure that we feel that he's ready and that he feels good about where he's at before we really talk about who's going to be our opening-day starter," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We want to see him dial it up a little bit. I think it's important that we see something."

Girardi called Tanaka's spring training inconsistent.

"There's a lot of creative things you can do if you felt like he needed another start," Girardi said. "Our hope is he's really good tomorrow and this is a non-issue."

Tanaka had surgery in October to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow. The team said the injury dated to playing time in Japan.

Jays: Sanchez wins starting nod

DUNEDIN — The Blue Jays finalized their rotation before the game against the Phillies, announcing that RHP Aaron Sanchez will be their fifth starter.

"I'm excited for him," said RHP Marcus Stroman, Toronto's opening day starter, who struck out three and walked none in four shutout innings in the 2-1 win. "We've been talking about this for a long time, being in the rotation together. It's finally coming to fruition."

WAIVER CLAIM: The Blue Jays claimed C/1B Jesus Montero off waivers from the Mariners. Montero, 26, a former top prospect with the Yankees, hit .223 with five home runs and 19 RBIs in 38 games for Seattle last season.

INJURY REPORT: DH/1B Edwin Encarnacion was tentatively scheduled to participate in a minor-league game. Encarnacion has yet to play in a game this spring after suffering an abscessed tooth earlier in camp and a strained oblique muscle more recently.


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