ohn Gibbons asked for strike-throwers and

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  • DUNEDIN, Fla. -- John Gibbons asked for strike-throwers and Drew Hutchison obliged Friday. The 23-year-old right-hander, continuing to make a strong case to become Torontos fourth starter, threw 4 2/3 strong innings in the Blue Jays 3-1 exhibition loss to the Boston Red Sox. Hutchison, who was tagged with the loss, gave up one run on four hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. He retired the first eight Red Sox he faced and threw 71 pitches with 51 strikes. "An outstanding outing," said Jays catcher Dioner Navarro. "A great performance," echoed Gibbons, who nevertheless was coy on what might lie ahead for Hutchison. Pressed by reporters, Gibbons allowed: "Hes doing everything he needs to do." Hutchison returned from Tommy John surgery last fall, pitching in the Arizona Fall League. He seems on top of his game this spring. Hutchison showed his mettle in the fourth inning Friday, striking out Mike Napoli to end the inning after a lengthy at-bat that saw the Red Sox hitter foul off a number of pitches. The Jays pitcher hit 95 miles per hour during the confrontation. "Hes got more than I thought he did," said Gibbons. "And he can pop it up pretty good -- with command. Which makes the guys that are really good really good." This spring Hutchison has given up three runs and seven hits in 9 2/3 innings while striking out 16 and walking one. Opposing batters are hitting just .200 against him. Hutchison made 11 starts for the Jays in 2012 (going 5-3 with a 4.60 ERA) before injuring his arm while warming up in the bullpen for a game against the Philadelphia Phillies. Throwing strikes is his modus operandi. "Thats what he does. He was good when he was here the first time before he got hurt," said Gibbons. "Thats how he pitches. The key is just being healthy." The same can be said for J.A. Happ, another would-be starter who returned Friday from an ailing back. The six-foot-six left-hander pronounced himself happy with a three-inning performance in a minor-league game. He gave up one hit, walked one and struck out two. "It was good. Exciting," said Happ. "I felt normal out there which is really nice." Said Gibbons: "I heard he pitched really well." A gaggle of pitchers is trying to join R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Brandon Morrow in the Jays rotation. Barring a trade, Nos. 4 and 5 will come from Hutchison, Happ, Ricky Romero, Esmil Rogers, Todd Redmond, Kyle Drabek, Marcus Stroman and Sean Nolin. Of the three main contenders, Hutchison appears to have pitched his way into the rotation. Romero is turning heads with his improved performance this spring. But Happ has had an uneasy pre-season. In two starts, he has given up six runs in just 1 1/3 innings. The back issue has further muddied the waters. Gibbons, who had yet to speak to Happ following the minor-league outing, said the major issue was making sure Happs back was healthy. Happ, in speaking to reporters, said the back was fine. The lines of communication within the Jays on Happ seem a little blurry in general. The pitcher seemed unhappy with GM Alex Anthopoulos answer late last week on whether there were one or two spots open in the starting rotation. "There could be two," Anthopoulos said at the time." I think were going to take the best team north. Especially right now, we have J.A. (Happ) and the back, the performance, things like that, we have to get him on track, stay healthy. "Obviously R.A., Mark and Brandon. Again, we expect J.A. to be in the rotation but at the same time the backs flared up on him twice. I just dont know. Look, if guys perform well and they force our hand, well take the best team." Asked on Friday if he had something to prove in the wake of those words, Happ replied: "I dont have any comment on that. My comment is no comment. "That was probably disappointing to hear but theres nothing I want to say about it." Happ has campaigned to be a starter since arriving here via trade and the issue appears to have left a chip on his shoulder. Last spring he found himself on the outside of the rotation looking in, until Romero pitched his way out of it. Happ eventually went 5-7 with a 4.56 ERA in 18 starts last year in a season disrupted by a nasty setback. Hit in the head by a ball off the bat of Desmond Jennings in a May game with the Tampa Bay Rays, he was out for three months with a skull fracture and a sprained right knee from when he toppled to the ground. While the Red Sox didnt bring all of their starters Friday, their lineup did included Mike Carp, Napoli and Jonny Gomes in the meat of the order. Boston finally got to Hutchison in the fifth. Gomes singled and came home on Corey Browns double to deep centre. The relay throw by Ryan Goins was a little high, allowing Gomes to score. The Red Sox added two more in the eighth before Jonathan Diaz scored on a Kevin Pillar double in the bottom of the inning to cut the lead to 3-1. Boston starter Clay Buchholz was also impressive, holding the Jays scoreless on two hits in four innings. After giving up two singles to open the first inning, he retired 11 straight for the win. The 29-year-old right-hander went 9-0 with a 1.71 earned-run average ERA in his first 12 starts last season before going on the disabled list for more than three months with shoulder and neck problems. He returned in September, finishing with a 12-1 mark and 1.74 ERA. The loss was the third straight for Toronto, which slipped to 6-9. Boston improved to 7-8. The game drew a sellout of 5,519 on a sunny 20 C day at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Zack Greinke Jersey . Last year, Matt Kuchar closed with a 4-under 68 to beat Kevin Chappell by two strokes for his second win of the 2013 season and sixth of his career. Abraham Almonte Diamondbacks Jersey . Bjoerndalen, who had failed to win any major race for two years before Sochi, writes in a Facebook entry that he is "full of energy and inspiration" after winning the 10-kilometre sprint and mixed relay at last months Olympics. http://www.diamondbackssale.com/diamondbacks-rob-refsnyder-jersey/ . "I just think what it does for everybody in life is real simple," said Babcock early on Friday afternoon. "You dont give in. You just keep on keeping on. Is it going to go your way every time? No. But you choose your attitude and how you perform and how hard you dig in." Nearly four years to the day of the 2010 gold medal match in Vancouver, his team dug in with its best effort of these Olympics, snuffing out the high-powered Americans for another opportunity at gold. Archie Bradley Jersey . He chirped to the caddie of Brandt Snedeker about their money game, a Mickelson tradition at the majors. Lefty was in good spirits Monday at the British Open, except for having to return the claret jug. David Peralta Jersey . The match, billed as a "next-gen" encounter between two of the sports rising stars, lasted two and a half hours. The loss kept Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., from reaching a third fourth-round spot in Melbourne over the past four years.Gary Anderson collides with Raymond van Barneveld in the star attraction of Saturday’s Grand Slam of Darts schedule. Live Grand Slam of Darts November 19, 2016, 8:00pm Live on Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass You can watch the Wolverhampton action live on Sky Sports 2 HD from 8pm as the quarter-finals conclude.The mouth-watering moment of the night will be Anderson, the PDCs world champion, against the in-form Barney who has been throwing some of his finest arrows in memory. Gary Anderson defeated Danny Noppert last time out Anderson is enjoying an eight-match winning run against Van Barneveld that stretches back to a Premier League game 18 months ago, the last time the Dutchman triumphed over him.Both players impressively won on Thursday - Barney eliminated the BDOs No 1 Glen Durrant and Anderson outlasted talented youngster Danny Noppert. Raymond van Barneveld admitted he felt tired during his match with Glen Durrant Saturdays other quarter-final will pit James Wade against Chris Dobey, the world No 60 who is already mid-way through a career-best tournament run.ddddddddddddDobey represents somewhat of an unknown quantity for the PDCs usual suspects but, in Wade, he will find himself up against one of the sports most consistent throwers.Watch the Grand Slam of Darts quarter-finals on Saturday live on Sky Sports 2 HD from 8pm. Was this the most exciting leg in Grand Slam history between Jamie Hughes and Chris Dobey? Also See: Sky Bets darts odds On Sky TV Schedule/Results Features Get Sky Sports ' ' '
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