DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) - Jose Bautista had only three hits in his first eight exhibition games for the Toronto Blue Jays. On Saturday, he looked more like his normal star self.
Bautista hit a two-run homer, doubled and scored twice for the Blue Jays in a 4-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
In the first inning, Bautista drove a cut fastball by Doug Fister over the left-field wall for a two-run homer, his third shot of the spring.
Moments later, the right fielder made a throw that first baseman Adam Lind relayed to cut down Alex Avila at the plate.
Bautista doubled in his next at-bat, and the Blue Jays chased Fister with two more runs before the right-hander could record an out in the fourth.
``It's been rough this spring, but trying to get things back into fine tune is where we're at right now,' said Fister, whose 11.57 ERA through three exhibition outings is no match for his 3.48 career mark.
Fister found some consolation in his five strikeouts.
``We had talked and said, `Hey, we're going to really try and get a feel for the curveball today,' he said. ``And you know what, I think we achieved that goal.'
Toronto left-hander Ricky Romero surrendered a solo homer to Andy Dirks in the top of the first. He completed his third spring outing by escaping a bases-loaded jam after Detroit pulled even at 2 in the second.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is confident enough in Romero that he doesn't intend to skip over his fifth starter in the rotation when open dates early in the season provide such a temptation.
``We'll let those guys all do their thing because we feel so good about all of them,' Gibbons said. ``Usually you do that if you've got some guy who's that question mark in that fifth slot.'
Detroit loaded the bases with none out in the ninth on three singles, but reliever Chad Beck retired the next three batters.
NOTES: Toronto RHP Sergio Santos played catch and will throw a bullpen session Sunday, his first work off a mound since experiencing triceps soreness after an inning against Philadelphia on March 3. He expects to pitch against Pittsburgh on Wednesday. ... Gibbons shared his disappointment that RHP R.A. Dickey didn't prevail in his start for the U.S. team in its World Baseball Classic opener against Mexico on Friday night. ``We were just hoping we could rib all the Canadians, but we're not in a position to do that because the U.S. lost, too,' Gibbons said. ... Blue Jays 3B Brett Lawrie lost his chance to help Team Canada by injuring a rib in an exhibition game against Cincinnati on Wednesday. He will be re-examined after his return to camp early in the week. ``He said he didn't think it was that big a deal,' Gibbons said, ``but with those things you never know.' ... Detroit RHP Will Clinard and LHP Matt Crouse were called up from the minors, one day after the club sent down RHP Michael Morrison and LHP Ryan Robowski. ... LHP J.A. Happ will start for Toronto opposite Yankees RHP David Phelps on Sunday.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved