Lefty Downs but not out yet

MIKE RUTSEY, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 12:53 PM ET

NEW YORK -- Scott Downs' current status may be as an emergency starter, but he's doing everything right these days to remain on the job on a permanent basis.

In last night's 7-0 whitewashing by the New York Yankees, Downs was one of the lone bright spots even though he was tagged with the loss.

The 29-year-old lefty, who is in the rotation because Roy Halladay and Ted Lilly are on the disabled list, held the Yankees to six hits and two runs, one of them unearned, in his six innings of work.

He was in trouble in every inning except the first, but he showed the onions to come up with big pitches when he needed to.

"I thought Downs pitched a heck of the game," manager John Gibbons said. "He can pitch. Since he jumped into that role he has pitched great. But he knows how to pitch.

CLASSIC LEFTY

"He's a classic lefty, he moves it around, he changes speeds (and) can throw his breaking ball behind in the count."

When Lilly returns to the rotation in a week to 10 days, Dustin McGowan will lose one spot and when and if Halladay returns, it will either be Downs or Dave Bush who gets shoved out.

Right now, Downs looks to be ahead in that race.

"It's no given (that he goes back to the bullpen)," Gibbons said.

Downs, meanwhile, was kicking himself for allowing the leadoff batter to reach in five of his six innings

"I made some pitches when I needed to make pitches, but it's a lot easier on yourself if you don't put yourself in those spots," he said.

As for a permanent role, he isn't looking that far.

"You're always auditioning," he said when asked. "I've got to go out when I get the ball and take advantage of it. I can't look into next year. We're here to help this team win."


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