DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — R.A. Dickey and Cliff Lee struggled in the poor weather. Ryan Howard and Jose Reyes found the playing conditions to their liking.
Howard hit a two-run homer off Dickey and Reyes and the Toronto Blue Jays touched up Cliff Lee in an 11-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in cool, blustery conditions Saturday.
Both starters went three innings in their second exhibition appearances. Dickey allowed three runs in the first on four consecutive hits — doubles by Kevin Frandsen and Michael Young, Howard’s shot and a single by Domonic Brown.
“They were just aggressive early in the count and got some balls up in the air,” the right-hander said. “Today, if you got a ball up in the air, it was probably going to go somewhere.”
Despite his homer off Dickey, Howard is pleased the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner was dealt from the NL East rival New York Mets to Toronto in a seven-player offseason trade.
“I’ll let the AL East go ahead and deal with him over there,” said Ryan, grinning.
The left-handed Lee, who won the 2008 AL Cy Young Award with the Cleveland Indians, gave up two first-inning runs on doubles by Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera and a single by Edwin Encarnacion. Emilio Bonifacio tied it at 3 in the second with a solo home run.
Reyes added a three-run homer off losing pitcher Tyler Cloyd in the fourth. Carlos Ruiz and Erik Kratz also had home runs for Philadelphia.
“I missed up in the zone a few times, obviously, with the wind,” Lee said. “Physically, I feel great. It’s just a matter of honing it in a little better.”
Dickey will leave Sunday with new batterymate J.P. Arencibia to join the United States team in the World Baseball Classic.
“It’s huge,” Arencibia said of the opportunity to become more familiar with Dickey and his dancing knuckleball. “It’s tough to leave because there’s still other guys that I would love to work with, but it also is good to be able to go out there and play with him and get to know him better.”
Shortly after the pair return to spring camp, they will learn who will work behind the plate when Dickey begins to deliver his knuckler in the regular season.
“It’s an awful tough pitch,” Jays manager John Gibbons said. “When the games start counting and that guy’s sitting in scoring position on third base, you don’t want that ball going back to the screen.”
Arencibia wants the role, but Gibbons gives the edge to Josh Thole and Henry Blanco as former teammates of Dickey with the Mets.
“They’re all learning my nuances and they know what to look for,” Dickey said. “I’m comfortable with all of them, so it gives Gibby a lot of latitude to be able to put in there who he thinks is the best fit for that day.”
NOTES: RHP Josh Johnson allowed a run in two innings for the win. . Toronto OF Colby Rasmus has not played since being scratched Thursday with soreness in his right (non-throwing) shoulder. He will not return before the Baltimore Orioles visit Tuesday. . Jays INF Mark DeRosa sat out after experiencing back discomfort Friday. He might play against a Phillies split squad Sunday. . The scheduled starters are LHP Rickey Romero for Toronto and RHP Aaron Cook for Philadelphia. . Ford “Moon” Mullen, who was the oldest living Phillies alumnus at 96, died Thursday night. The former second baseman played 118 games for the club in 1944, his only season in the major leagues. . Shirley Cheek, wife of late Toronto broadcaster Tom Cheek, was honored with a pregame introduction. Tom Cheek, who called 4,306 regular-season games in a row for the Jays, was posthumously awarded the 2013 Ford C. Frick Award and will be enshrined in Cooperstown in July.
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