Camp Report: Doc Not Happy with First Outing

DUNEDIN- In todays edition of the Blue Jays Camp Report, Roy Halladay talks about his opening start this spring, Eric Hinske comments about his first game in the outfield, we report on the injury status of Reed Johnson, how the World Baseball Classic is affecting the Blue Jays, and much more.

Roy Halladay's first time on a mound against American League competition in almost seven months wasn't quite Halladay caliber.

A Russ Adams error led to four unearned runs Thursday in Halladay's one and only inning as the Jays fell to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the spring training opener for both clubs.

Halladay said the broken leg that ended his season last July 8 is no longer a concern, but added there were obviously some things he needed to work on.

"I wasn't as sharp out there as I was in the 'pen and would have liked to have been," Halladay said.

Halladay needed 30 pitches to get out of the inning, as he faced all nine hitters in the Rays lineup. He gave up four hits, but the only balls that were well hit off him were a Joey Gathright liner that ate up Adams at short for an error and Nick Green's deep fly ball to center that ended the inning.

"There were a few where they hit the bottom half of the ball, and that's where the in-betweeners came in. So it's all stuff I need to work on. Working down a little better and my cutter was kind of hit and miss, so there's a lot to do yet."


--Eric Hinske's first spring training game in the outfield was rather uneventful. Hinske, who will platoon in right with Alex Rios if he can prove to the Jays he can play the outfield, caught the first ball hit to right. It was a flare down the right field line that he thought was headed deeper than it ended up, forcing him to make a quick adjustment before catching it at ankle level. The only other ball to right was a flare that fell for a single.

"It's been seven years or so since I was back there, so it was a pretty good day. Good to get that first one out of the way," Hinske said.

--Outfielder Reed Johnson is expected to begin hitting Saturday after shutting things down a week ago with a strained right elbow. He's not sure yet when he'll be able to resume throwing.

--The World Baseball Classic has severely cut into the Jays' outfield depth this spring. The only remaining regulars in camp are Johnson and Hinske, as Vernon Wells, Alex Rios and Frank Catalanotto all headed for the tournament.

Jays manager John Gibbons says he has no problem with any of his players headed for the WBC but said he is a bit concerned that LHP Gustavo Chacin will get the work he needs to be ready once the season opens. Chacin is the sixth starter on the Venezuelan team. Pitching coach Brad Arnsberg said he is going to speak with Venezuela pitching coach Luis Leal, a former Jay, in hopes of keeping Chacin on a program.

--Alex Rios, who hit home runs in both intrasquad games this week, left the team after Thursday's game to join the Puerto Rico team in the WBC. Rios, the everyday right fielder last season, is looking at sharing the position with Eric Hinske this year if Hinske shows the team he can play the position this spring. Hitting coach Mickey Brantley has been impressed with Rios so far this spring.

"He's just a young kid learning the game," Brantley said. "I believe we were unfair to him last season expecting him to be a finished product when he's just a kid learning the game."

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