Reyes making strong case

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:35 PM ET

DUNEDIN, Fla. — Jo-Jo Reyes is not making it easy for the Blue Jays.

While Jesse Litsch and Kyle Drabek are considered the front-runners for the two open spots in the rotation, Reyes is very much keeping himself in the picture, either there or in the bullpen.

He certainly didn’t hurt his cause any Friday when in relief of Drabek, he faced the minimum number of batters over his three innings, while striking out three.

“Very efficient, 30 pitches in three innings. We actually sent him down (to the bullpen) for another 25 pitches to build up his pitch count,” manager John Ferrell said. “Given his situation (being out of options), he’s pitching to make the club. If he doesn’t make the rotation it’s such a good arm you don’t want to just turn your back on that so we’re open minded to either or.”

Drabek, meanwhile, allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits over four innings and struck out four.

It was just Drabek’s second outing as he missed a start due in the opening week of games to a stiff neck.

“Barring the one pitch that Granderson (Curtis) went down and got (for a solo home run), I thought he threw the ball very well,” Farrell said. “He showed very good sink and a good cutter to both sides of the plate. His stuff has such late action through the zone and he has an assortment of pitches to work hitters multiple ways. He’s a very good looking young pitcher.”

Podsednik makes debut

Scott Podsednik made his spring training debut on Friday, his left plantar fasciitis injury a pain that he can manage.

The speedy outfielder is the leading candidate in a three-horse race with OF Corey Patterson and INF Mike McCoy for the final two roster spots.

Podsednik, a left fielder, made the start in centre field to see how he handles the position. In his four innings. he had two walks and a stolen base. In the field the New York Yankees never hit a ball his way.

“The fact that he gives us a proven leadoff type of guy is exciting,” manager John Farrell said of the speedster who they hope can back up Rajai Davis in centre. “He’s played centre field in the past. He’ll get some reps there.”

Podsednik tested the foot in the second when after a walk he stole second.

“It felt real good” he said. “It was nice to get out there, get on the base paths, get a couple of breaks (towards second), see some pitching so it’s a good day. It’s not pain free but it’s at a point where I can play.”

Now that Podsednik has returned, the next to launch a comeback is Aaron Hill, who has yet to play an inning in a regular spring game because of a right quad injury.

“We’re going to get through this weekend where we will continue to build his activity,” Farrell said. “He’ll be in a running progression starting Tuesday after the off day. That will be the first time he’ll test the quad in that type of drill work.”

There is no date, however, for his return.


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