Will the doubles continue?
DUNEDIN- It was a split-squad day today for the Blue Jays, as they faced off against Team Canada in Dunedin, while the second half of the club traveled to face Tampa Bay. The “A” team of Toronto defeated Team Canada 9-4, while the “B” team dropped a 4-2 decision to Tampa.
One of the main reasons the Toronto Blue Jays acquired first baseman Lyle Overbay this off-season was because of his ability to hit doubles. Overbay didn’t waste much time showing his ability to find the gap, by lining two doubles in two at bats, which contributed to four runs scoring, and gave Toronto the early 4-0 lead over Team Canada.
A.J. Burnett started the game for Toronto and looked strong on the mound as he recorded four strikeouts in two innings of work. The outing was good enough for Burnett to pick up his first spring win as a Blue Jay.
The young infield for Toronto also was productive in the victory. Russ Adams had an RBI single in the fourth inning, and that was followed by an Aaron Hill triple to left field. Joey Metropoulos, a power hitting prospect that has been limited because of injuries, drove in the third run of the inning with a sacrifice fly.
Wayne Lydon drove in two more runs in the bottom of the fifth, with a two out home run to right field.
Ben Weber, trying to battle his way back from injuries the past two seasons, issued three runs on four hits in just 2/3 innings of work. Weber would leave with two outs and the bases loaded, but Josh Banks got Stubby Clapp to fly out to left field to end the threat.
Scott Schoeneweis, Pete Walker and Vinnie Chulk, all were effective in their inning of work. Banks tossed 1 1/3 innings of perfect ball. Dustin McGowan followed Banks and allowed a run on two hits in his inning of work. James Baldwin came on in the ninth inning and struck out two of his three batters.
The “B” Squad
The second half of the Blue Jays roster was battling the Devil Rays, but dropped a 4-2 decision.
All of the four runs that Tampa scored came in the fifth inning off non-roster invitee Matt Blank. The southpaw allowed four runs on three hits in his inning of work.
The first three pitchers to appear for the Blue Jays, Scott Downs, Francisco Rosario and Lee Gronkiewicz, all had success facing the “A” lineup for Tampa. Downs, who started the game, was the lone pitcher to go two innings.
David Purcey followed Blank and recorded a scoreless sixth innings as he allowed a hit and also struck out a batter. Newly acquired Ty Taubenheim came on for the seventh and struck out two of his four batters, while Adrian Burnside pitched a scoreless eighth inning.
Offensively, Jason Phillips went 3-for-4 and Kevin Barker went 2-for-4. Rob Cosby played in left field for the second straight game, and went 1-for-4. Curtis Thigpen came in to spare Phillips behind the plate and went 1-for-2.
Robinzon Diaz and Miguel Negron both started the game and were held hitless.