Johnson gets big support in Blue Jays’ rout
DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — The Toronto Blue Jays quickly warmed up on an unusually chilly day.
Josh Johnson allowed one run over three innings, Maicer Izturis had five RBIs and the Blue Jays routed the New York Yankees 17-5 on Thursday.
Johnson, coming off a start last Friday in which he retired all 11 batters he faced, gave up two hits and struck out five. The right-hander is part of a revamped Toronto rotation that includes other offseason additions R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle.
The biggest challenge Johnson faced was sitting in the dugout for long stretches during a pair of big Toronto innings on a windy day with a game time temperature near 60.
“It’s something, hopefully, I can get used to this year,” Johnson said. “I don’t think I ever really been through something like that. That was crazy, especially the first inning, come out and do that. It was awesome, but not fun at the time. You want to get out there and find that tempo. It was kind of here and there, but it was a good outing overall.”
Melky Cabrera drove in four runs for the Blue Jays, who led 15-1 after two innings.
Cabrera had an RBI double and two-run double, and Izturis drove in three runs with double during the Blue Jays’ nine-run first against Jose Ramirez and Adam Warren. Toronto slugger Jose Bautista, who made two of the three outs during the 13-batter first, slammed his bat to the ground after striking out to end the inning.
“It was a tough game to watch,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We walked 10 guys, nine in the first two innings. There weren’t a lot of great things to watch today.”
Izturis had a two-run single, Cabrera added an RBI single and Bautista knocked in two on a double in a six-run second that made it 15-1. Mark DeRosa had a three-inning solo homer.
Kevin Youkilis hit a first-inning solo homer off Johnson.
Ramirez and Warren combined to give up 14 runs, six hits and nine walks over 1 2-3 innings.
Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes threw 26 pitches at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa during his first batting practice session since hurting his upper back Feb. 18 during a defensive drill. He is set to pitch Monday in a simulated game.
“No physical issues,” Hughes said. “Just a hair off with my command, but I sort of anticipated that. I felt like the ball was coming out pretty good. It was actually good to face a hitter for the first time since the last playoffs. A good first step.”
The Yankees haven’t ruled out Hughes missing his first regular season start.
“I rather it be one start than a bunch that pile up,” Hughes said. “I feel good with what I’m doing. I’m going to make sure it’s right before I do anything.”
Hughes went 16-13 with 4.23 ERA in 32 starts for the Yankees last season.
“I think it’s a pretty significant step,” Girardi said. “We’ve just got to see where he’s at. It’s still really early to judge if he can be ready to start the season. I can’t tell you if he’s going to be there when we start or if he’s going to have to miss a turn and be there the second start.”
Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia, the expected opening day starter, will make his first spring training start Friday against Miami. He had offseason left elbow surgery to remove a bone spur.
Blue Jays reliever Sergio Santos felt fine one day after pitching in a minor league game and is scheduled to work in a big leage game Saturday. Santos, who missed almost all of last season after having shoulder surgery, experienced triceps soreness after an inning against Philadelphia on March 3.
Santos expects to be ready for opening day.
“I’m going to prepare myself, and get ready,” Santos said. “I feel great.”
Toronto right-handed reliever Casey Janssen, coming off surgery on his throwing shoulder, threw batting practice. His status for opening day has not been determined.
“Another step in the right direction,” Janssen said. “It was nice to face some hitters and pick up the intensity again. We’ll see how it is tomorrow.”
NOTES: NHL coaching great Scotty Bowman attended the game. He is currently a senior adviser with the Chicago Blackhawks. ... Girardi said that Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart are the pair of catchers he thinks are going to be on the opening day roster unless something unforeseen happens. Girardi is not ready to name the starter. “It might take some time to sort that out,” Girardi said. ... LHP Boone Logan (sore elbow) had his third bullpen session and is scheduled for batting practice on Saturday. ... Toronto CF Colby Rasmus drew three walks over the first two innings. ... The Blue Jays optioned 1B Lars Anderson and INF Ryan Goins to Triple-A Buffalo, RHP Chad Jenkins to Double-A New Hampshire. RHPs Chad Beck, Tyson Brummett and Mickey Storey, and C Sean Ochinko were reassigned to the minor league camp.