DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — J.P. Arencibia received some good news before the game and made more during Toronto’s one-sided victory over Philadelphia.
Arencibia homered twice, Josh Johnson struck out eight in 5 1-3 shutout innings and the Blue Jays beat the Phillies 13-4 on Monday.
Toronto manager John Gibbons said prior to the first pitch that both Arencibia and backup Henry Blanco will catch knuckleballer R.A. Dickey this season.
That means Arencibia will start on opening day.
“It’s not about me, it’s about the team,” Arencibia said. “It hasn’t been the craziest transition. I think that I’ve proved I’ve been able to catch him pretty well.”
The Blue Jays had been thinking about having a personal catcher, possibly Blanco, work with Dickey fulltime.
“After watching J.P. catch him in the WBC and did a nice job, they’ll both catch him,” Gibbons said. “To be honest with you, I thought J.P. might have a hard time with him and catching a knuckleball.”
Arencibia hit a three-run shot and Jose Reyes had a two-run triple during an eight-run second off Phillies starter John Lannan. Mark DeRosa, Rajai Davis and Melky Cabrera each had RBI singles.
“A great lineup, and they’re swinging,” said Lannan, who allowed 12 runs and 14 hits over four innings.
“Most of the day I was up in the zone, and they took advantage,” Lannan added. “For the most part, it was solid contact. You’ve got to move on. You’ve got to kind of look at it like, you’re getting it out of the way I hope.”
Arencibia, who had three hits, added a two-run drive in a three-run fourth.
Johnson gave up four hits and one walk. The right-hander also started March 15 in Dunedin, a 17-5 Blue Jays victory over the New York Yankees.
“Awesome,” Johnson said. “The last start I had over here, it was the same thing — long innings — but I’ll take (it).”
Toronto closer Casey Janssen struck out all three of his hitters in his second spring training appearance. He had surgery in November to address lingering shoulder soreness.
Zach Miner replaced Lannan in the fifth and gave up Cabrera’s leadoff homer.
It wasn’t all good news for the home team. Toronto third baseman Brett Lawrie will start the regular season on the disabled list due to a strained rib. He felt discomfort in his left side during an exhibition game with Canada’s WBC team against the Cincinnati Reds on March 6.
“He’s not going to be ready,” Gibbons said. “It’s not like he had a big setback or anything, it’s a precautionary thing.”
Lawrie doesn’t have a timetable on when he might return.
“When I do things out on the field, it just doesn’t feel it’s right on that side,” Lawrie said. “Now I’m just trying to make sure that it’s 100 percent and everything is out of there, and I can just go out there and play.”
The Blue Jays will likely platoon DeRosa and Maicer Izturis at third.
Toronto first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, out with a sore right index finger, could play in the next couple days. He expects to take batting practice Tuesday.
Erik Kratz had a two-run single during the Phillies’ four-run ninth off Brett Cecil.
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