DUNEDIN, Fla. – For Baltimore right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, this spring is looking very much like last year’s, just as his performance Thursday looked a lot like his previous one.
Guthrie gave up three of Toronto’s six home runs, including two by Travis Snider, as the Blue Jays battered Baltimore 13-3.
Guthrie was tagged for seven runs in three innings, not far different from the four runs on eight hits the New York Yankees collected against him in 3 1-3 innings Saturday.
“I think the results speak for themselves,” Guthrie said. “The pitches weren’t crisp and the location wasn’t very good.”
Last spring, he had a 1-2 record, a 10.57 ERA and allowed three home runs in 15 1-3 innings. During the regular season, he was 10-17 with a 5.04 ERA and led the majors in losses and home runs allowed (35). This spring he is 0-2 and has surrendered three homers in 10 2-3 innings.
“It’s a command thing,” Guthrie said. “That’s where it all begins. You can have really bad stuff and good command and get people out.”
Asked if a specific pitch has been particularly troublesome this spring, Guthrie deadpanned: “I wouldn’t limit it to one pitch. I think I’ve shown the ability to struggle with all four at this point.”
Despite allowing a run on Aaron Hill’s single, a wild pitch and Vernon Wells’ single, Guthrie said he “had a nice start in the first inning. I felt fine going out there.”
The serious damage began in the second when John Buck hit Guthrie’s fourth pitch far beyond the centre-field fence, Jeremy Reed bunted for a hit and Snider hit the next pitch for a two-run homer. Snider also homered to cap a three-run third.
“Fastballs, both of them middle in, good pitches to hit,” Snider said of his second and third spring home runs. “When you’re seeing the ball well it definitely looks a little better than normal. This was one of those days.”
Buck hit his second spring homer for two runs off Frank Mata in the fourth, and Aaron Hill and Chris Lubanski added two-run shots. Blue Jays left-hander Ricky Romero gave up a homer to Adam Jones, one of two by the Orioles, and allowed two runs and five hits in five innings with five strikeouts.
“Ricky was good, man. He was solid,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. “That’s probably the best sinker I’ve seen him have, even last year. If anything, he’s just got to learn when to throw it.”
Notes: Toronto RHP Zech Zinicola, plucked from Washington’s roster in December’s Rule 5 draft, was returned to the Nationals and got back half the US$50,000 it paid for him. A Rule 5 player must stay on the acquiring team’s roster for the entire season. … The Blue Jays released rookie RHP Casey Fien, reassigned C Lyle Phillips to their minor-league camp, and optioned INFs Brian Dopirak and Jarrett Hoffpauir to triple-A Las Vegas. … Orioles RHP Koji Uehara left the game with a left hamstring strain and C Craig Tatum with a left hand contusion. … Blue Jays RHP Brandon Morrow will start Friday against Houston at Kissimmee. LHP Brian Matusz will start for the Orioles Friday night against host Philadelphia.