BRADENTON, FLA. - A quick look at the linescore showing Kyle Drabek giving up three second-inning runs to the Pittsburgh Pirates here Wednesday might lead to the conclusion that the patches being applied to Drabek’s delivery aren’t taking.
Neither Drabek nor manager John Farrell believe that to be true.
Drabek erased the first four Pirates he faced in order, using all his pitches effectively. Then he gave up an opposite field homer, two hard-hit doubles, a walk and another single before Travis Snider ended the session by throwing out a runner at the plate.
In the retelling, Drabek felt he had thrown some key strikes that were not called but that he didn’t lose his composure as has happened so often in the past.
“Although I didn’t get some pitches that I needed and that were strikes, it didn’t bother me,” he said. “You still have to execute the next pitch. Some I did, some I didn’t.”
Farrell saw plenty of progress.
“He came out in the first inning and really used his two-seamer very well,” said the manager. “He didn’t try to increase the velocity, just moved the ball around well. Then the second inning was almost like the other side of the coin.
“He threw some quality pitches where he didn’t get the calls,” said Farrell. “There was some definite intent with his approach. He got 0-2 on Clint Barmes, tried to elevate a fastball and didn’t get it up quite enough and it turns into a double. Still, and all, he held his composure as we were hoping to see and I think as he gets accustomed to using his two-seamer a little bit more, that’s where we’ll see him getting the ball on the ground with a little more consistency.”
These spring games are the laboratory where the Blue Jays hope to fix what ails Drabek, so you might expect a few more crooked numbers that normal.
“I’m pretty pleased with the day,” he said. “The numbers might not show it but I did a lot of stuff good. Most of my pitches were where I wanted them to be.
“It’s not all about numbers. For me, it’s about repeating my delivery, getting all my pitches in there in different counts and that’s what (the coaches) noticed today. They were happy with it.”
SNIDER MOWS THEM DOWN
The battle for left field between Travis Snider and Eric Thames is barely a few days old but Snider has already reinforced the idea that he is the better of the two defensively.
Wednesday he threw out his second runner in four days, this time nailing Pittsburgh catcher Michael McKenry at the plate to end the second inning. Sunday he caught Pirates catcher Rod Barajas trying to stretch a single into a double.
“These catchers are on me right now, challenging the arm,” said Snider with a laugh. “It was one of those plays where you anticipate it before it happens and I was able to react.
“Speed of the ball, speed of the runner. That’s how you know you’ve got a chance. When it’s hit right at you and you know the guy’s going to try to score, you can just come up throwing.”
Snider also chimed in with a two-run home run off starter Jeff Karstens.
“I got a fastball out over the plate and the timing was right,” he said. “I’ve still been inconsistent but I’ve only had 10-12 at-bats so it’s a matter of continuing to progress.
MCGUIRE PITCHES OUT OF TROUBLE
Top prospects Deck McGuire tossed a pair of decent innings against the Pirates, though he wasn’t thrilled about the artistry involved.
“It was about the least efficient two innings I’ve ever thrown,” said McGuire. “I’m still trying to get a feel for things. I’ve got to nibble a little less and throw some more strikes.”
McGuire gave up three hits in his two innings, so he was forced to pitch out of some sticky situations, including runners at first and second with nobody out in his second inning.
“I did battle,” conceded McGuire. “I make a couple of pitches when I really needed to make them. We made a great defensive call on a bunt, with guys at first and second and got a big out at third.
Fellow prospect Drew Hutchison gave up a home run in his first inning and a double in his second inning.
“I wasn’t as sharp as I’d like to be,” said Hutchison. “I threw a few good changeups. (Garrett Jones) got a hold of that one and golfed it out. It was in on him but he put a good swing on it.”
JAYS INK 17-YEAR-OLD
The Blue Jays have announced the signing of Andres DeAza, a 17-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic.
DeAza, passed over in last year’s crop of July 1 eligible players, is believed to have signed for $150,000. He’s a 6-foot-4, 190-pounder who can play all three outfield positions as well as third base.
DeAza was signed by Ishmael Cruz, the Blue Jays special assistant for Latin American operations. He is expected to play this summer for the Blue Jays’ affiliate in the Dominican Summer League.
BLUE JAYS AT PIRATES
Blue Jays 8, Pirates 6
2B Jonathan Diaz‚s 2-run double keys 3-run 7th
Travis Snider homers, throws out runner at the plate.
Luis Valbuena, 2 hits including homer
C Yan Gomes hit pinch homer.
RED SOX AT JAYS
Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 3
Encarnacion 2-run single.
Morrow, Carreno 2 scoreless innings each.
Hechavarria 1-2 with a double.
Santos 1 scoreless inning.