LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) - Jeremy Hellickson has not been happy with his performance for Tampa Bay all spring.
His manager is not worried.
The Rays' No. 2 starter allowed eight runs -six earned - in three innings of an 8-3 loss to the Detroit Tiger on Friday in his final tuneup before the regular season.
It's been a rough camp for Hellickson, who finished with a 6.75 ERA in Grapefruit League play. Hellickson, the 2011 AL Rookie of the Year, went 10-11 with a 3.10 ERA in last year while winning a Gold Glove.
``He's healthy, he's fine and that's all that matters,' Joe Maddon said. ``He'll be ready when it comes time to make his first start.'
Hellickson said despite the results of his last five outings - 18 runs in 21 1-3 innings - he felt ready for the season. He will make his first start Wednesday against the Baltimore Orioles.
``I haven't been pitching very good,' Hellickson said. ``I haven't been executing my pitches and I am pretty disappointed right now. That's not the way to go into the season.'
Hellickson gave up homers to Prince Fielder, Alex Avila, and Omar Infante on Friday.
``I felt great the last two outings and I felt fine today,' Hellickson said. ``That's why it is so frustrating.'
Hours after rotation-mate Justin Verlander got the biggest contract ever given to a pitcher, Max Scherzer extended his dominant spring training with six innings of one-hit ball. Scherzer, the Tigers' No. 5 starter, finishes the spring with a 0.57 ERA. He struck out nine and has only allowed one earned run over 25 1-3 innings.
``I like where I am right now,' Scherzer said. ``There are still ways I can be better and I have things I can still work on, but I am 100 percent ready to get this season started.'
Verlander agreed to a $180 million, seven-year contract, topping Felix Hernandez for the richest deal for a pitcher in baseball history.
Miguel Cabrera had two doubles for the Tigers and Austin Jackson tripled. Sam Fuld homered off Octavio Dotel for the Rays.
NOTES: Maddon announced his starting rotation: LHP David Price will start on opening day on Tuesday followed by Hellickson. RHP Roberto Hernandez, LHP Matt Moore, and RHP Alex Cobb will follow. . Moore will start Saturday at Tropicana Field in the Grapefruit League finale against Detroit's Doug Fister. RHP Rick Porcello will start for Double-A Erie in a game on one of the back fields in Lakeland on Saturday against Double-A Corpus Christi. . INF Danny Worth was optioned to Triple-A Toledo leaving the Tigers roster at 25.
The Associated Press News Service
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