CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) - Roy Halladay was just glad to make it to the mound at all.
The ace right-hander pitched two innings in a rain-shortened final spring start, and the Philadelphia Phillies went on to an 8-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.
Halladay allowed two runs and three hits, struck out three and walked none before a 37-minute rain delay interrupted the exhibition game. He finished his work inside the batting cage and is set to face the Pirates in Pittsburgh on opening day.
``I got to face some hitters which for there a little while we weren't sure if I was going to be in the cage from the get-go - I'll take it,' said Halladay, who warmed up before the game with ominous clouds closing in on Clearwater. ``If it's every going to rain it might as well be today on a short (start) as opposed to one where you're supposed to throw six or seven innings.'
The 34-year-old Halladay will throw a side session on Monday in Philadelphia before making his 10th straight opening-day start on Thursday. No pitcher in baseball has made more consecutive opening-day starts.
``I'm happy with everything,' Halladay said of his spring. ``The last week is always tough. I'm looking forward to a change of scenery; I've been here since December, so I'm ready.'
Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Luis Valbuena homered for Toronto. Bautista hit a solo drive off David Herndon for his fourth spring homer.
Blue Jays left-hander Ricky Romero prepped for his opening-day start by retiring all six batters he faced, striking out two.
``I think that's the best I've felt all spring,' Romero said. ``I was sharp with all of my pitches. It's where I wanted to finish.'
The 27-year-old Romero will make his second consecutive opening-day start on Wednesday in Cleveland. As the Blue Jays prepared to break camp, Romero spoke optimistically about the team's chances this season.
``I've said it all along, I lead by example, I'm not a rah-rah guy - I just come in and do my work,' Romero said. ``I feel like everyone is a leader in their own way. We're arrogant in a good way and know we can win. I think those are good qualities to have.'
Phillies outfielder John Mayberry Jr. ended an 0-for-19 skid with a solo home run off Clint Everts in the seventh inning. It was Mayberry's first spring homer.
NOTES: Philadelphia RHP Mike Stutes (shoulder soreness) played catch. He will stay in Clearwater when the Phillies break camp Sunday and could throw in a minor league game Tuesday or Wednesday. The Phillies have not ruled him out for opening day. . RHP Jose Contreras ``probably' will start the season on the disabled list, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro said. Contreras had elbow surgery in September and didn't begin throwing in games until mid-March. He could be activated on April 10. . Philadelphia C Carlos Ruiz continued his torrid spring by going 2 for 2 with a double. Ruiz is hitting .512 (21 for 41) with two home runs and seven doubles in 15 games. ... Toronto RHP Dustin McGowan (right foot plantar fasciitis) will begin the season on the disabled list. ``The foot continues to feel better but we want to be sure every symptom is out of there,' manager John Farrell said. ``If the injury starts to alter the arm slot that starts to get into a dangerous area.' . Blue Jays OF Ben Francisco (hamstring) was not with the team in Clearwater. Francisco is scheduled to play in a minor league game on Sunday. . Toronto 1B Adam Lind (lower back) could be back in the lineup Sunday. Lind, who has been out since Tuesday, resumed baseball activities Saturday. ``He's feeling better and his back is free,' Farrell said.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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