By Times staff writers, Associated Press
Published March 19, 2004
DUNEDIN - Ted Lilly is a week away from his first spring start.
The lone left-hander in the Blue Jays rotation has been out of action with a sore left wrist, but Thursday he moved a step closer when he threw 25 pitches in batting practice.
Lilly will take two days off, throw another BP session and, if all goes well, will pitch two innings Wednesday against the Phillies.
"It went real well," pitching coach Gil Patterson said. "He threw his fastball, changeup and a couple of curves and sliders.
"He said he felt like he had a little dead arm, but the hitters he faced said it didn't look like it and (manager) Carlos (Tosca) was standing behind the cage and said his ball had some life and was jumping."
TOWER OF POWER: Josh Towers became the first Blue Jay to pitch five innings this spring against the Reds. The right-hander had a solid changeup and sinker, getting 12 of his 15 outs on ground balls. He gave up one run on four hits.
OUT OF SYNCH: Carlos Delgado hit his second homer of the spring. He didn't homer during spring training in 2002 or 2003. "I know," Delgado joked when informed of his recent history. "I'm not on my game."
- MIKE RUTSEY
Cortisone shot eases Bell's pain
CLEARWATER - Although not permitted to swing or throw because of his bout with right shoulder tendinitis, Phillies third baseman David Bell has been feeling better since being given a cortisone shot during an exam Tuesday in Philadelphia.
"From every indication I've gotten and the way I feel, there's not going to be any problem getting back," said Bell, who predicts he'll be ready by opening day.
The past two days, Bell has been fielding ground balls and dropping them in a bucket. He also has been doing a lot of stretching to "free up" his shoulder capsule.
Bell plans to resume hitting today or Saturday, start throwing early next week and be available for the final eight Grapefruit League games.
ROSTER TRIMMING: Pitchers Cole Hamels and Gavin Floyd, the Phillies' top prospects, were cut along with three others, reducing the roster to 40.
Hamels, a left-hander who is scheduled to start the season at Class A Clearwater, was 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA in three spring outings, with nine strikeouts in seven innings. Floyd, a right-hander who will pitch at Double-A Reading, posted a 2.84 ERA in three games.
"I told 'em they're on a fast pace to the big leagues," manager Larry Bowa said.
PHILLERS: Second baseman Chase Utley, in a battle for a utility job, hit a two-run homer and a sacrifice fly, helping the Phillies snap a four-game losing streak with an 8-5 win over Pittsburgh. In 13 games, Utley is hitting .341 with three homers and nine RBIs. Tim Worrell pitched a scoreless inning after missing a day with flulike symptoms.
- RANDY MILLER
More work likely for regulars
TAMPA - Derek Jeter expects to see a lot of playing time when the Yankees resume exhibition games today.
The defending AL champions leave Thursday for Japan, where they open the season with a two-game series against the Devil Rays on March 30-31. Because of the shortened spring, New York is likely to go with regular lineups for the rest of the exhibition season.
"I'm sure we'll probably be starting to play most of the games," Jeter said Thursday, New York's last off day before the trip.
Injured centerfielder Bernie Williams and one starting pitcher, possibly Javier Vazquez, will remain in Florida. Each team officially is allowed to bring 30 players to Japan, but the roster must be pared to 25 by the opener.
Four pitchers to make the trip will be picked from a list that includes bullpen candidates Scott Proctor, Jimmy Mann, Alex Graman, Sam Marsonek and Ramon Ramirez.
Enrique Wilson has emerged as the front-runner to start at second base, with former Devil Ray Miguel Cairo likely a backup.