Darin Ruf had himself a day in his first spring training start. He walked to load the bases in his first plate appearance, homered off Esmil Rogers in the third inning, and narrowly missed another homer on the first pitch of his third PA. The Phillies lost, 7-5, to the Blue Jays in Dunedin.
It looked like Ruf had at least extra bases in the fifth, but his booming fly ball was caught by CF Kenny Wilson, the Blue Jays' fastest and best defensive outfield prospect.
Ruf, of course, is battling for a spot on the Phillies' 25-man roster. His apparent top competition, John Mayberry Jr., went 2-for-4 with a homer off the scoreboard in left-center and a steal. Mayberry had a poor read in right field in the fifth inning on a flyball that hung between 2B and RF.
Some other observations:
- Maikel Franco went 0-for-3 with a walk, and had an error at first base. He had a pitch to hit in his third at-bat, but popped up a middle-in fastball gently to shallow center.
- Cliff Lee was sharp in his start, striking out 3 over two innings around a pair of doubles by Moises Sierra and Jose Bautista (who's looking healthy).
- Rough afternoons for Jake Diekman and Ethan Martin. Diekman allowed two runs on four hits in his inning, and Martin went walk-single-double-double before being pulled without recording an out. Martin left with shoulder discomfort.
- Bobby Abreu being Bobby Abreu in his first two games back: 0-for-3, three walks. He walked twice Thursday and had another three-ball count.
- Wow, Dustin McGowan's still going for Toronto. Former third overall pick missed three of the last five years and most of the two others. Came back as a reliever late last year and struck out a batter per inning in 25 appearances. Good for him ... he's had at least 3 shoulder surgeries and a knee surgery. Toronto's been ravaged by injuries to its pitching staff for close to a decade.
- Phillies back at it tomorrow in a split-squad game against the Tigers in Clearwater. On TV at 1:05 p.m. on The Comcast Network.