Sadler is sharp in start as Bucs blank Blue Jays
Starting pitchers Casey Sadler and Aaron Sanchez each threw three hitless innings Sunday and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Toronto Blue Jays 1-0.
Sadler, who is expected to begin the year at Triple-A Indianapolis, struck out three without a walk for the Pirates. Toronto had just one hit until getting two more in the ninth.
“He’s going to be best served by sinking that ball and being aggressive on both sides of the plate. Using his changeup,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “That’s what he did today and that’s what all the pitchers got to do anytime you face a lineup that can do damage on that.”
Sanchez fanned three and walked one. In his first exhibition start Wednesday, also against the Pirates, the hard-throwing righty gave up four hits and five runs in 1 1/3 innings.
“Going back to my first start, it was more about making sure I felt good, making sure by fastball command was there and that was really the first time I got to face hitters,” Sanchez said. “So to get back out there and get my feet wet and then go out there and do what I did today is just something to build off of.”
Jose Bautista returned to Toronto’s lineup in right field after missing the past two games with tightness in his right hamstring. He went 0 for 1 with a walk.
Brent Morel doubled home Jose Tabata in the fourth.
The game took just 2 hours, 29 minutes to complete.
Blue Jays: With Brett Cecil sidelined up to 10 days with inflammation in his left rotator cuff, Sanchez acknowledged that he’s aware it could give him an advantage to win the vacant closer role. But he isn’t thinking about it that way.
“They’re still going to make decisions, obviously,” Sanchez said. “It’s a decision that’s probably not a tough one. But at the end of the day, they’re going to be the one that’s making the decisions and I’m going to be the one — whether it’s starting or closing — is going to be happy. To me, it doesn’t matter.”
Sanchez split time as the Blue Jays’ closer after a late July call-up last season, going 2-2 with a 1.09 ERA and three saves in 24 relief appearances.
Pirates: Corey Hart will make his spring debut at designated hitter during a B game against the Twins this morning. The two-time All-Star with Milwaukee has missed the first six exhibition games after he cut the bottom of his foot on a loose filter while getting into a hot tub last Sunday. Three stitches were required to close the wound.
3B Josh Harrison is scheduled to return to the lineup Monday against Minnesota. Harrison has been out since leaving last Wednesday’s game against the Blue Jays in the second inning with discomfort in his left ankle.
Blue Jays reliever Todd Redmond hit Francisco Cervelli on the hand with a pitch in the fourth, and the ball then ricocheted into home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn, who keeled forward in pain.
After being checked out by the medical staff and taking a few moments to compose himself, Reyburn returned to calling the game without incident.
Pirates: Korean rookie Jung Ho Kang is tentatively listed to play third base for the first time today against the Twins in Bradenton.
Kang, who has primarily played shortstop this spring, signed a four-year, $16 million contract with Pittsburgh in January after nine seasons with the Nexen Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organization.
Blue Jays: Marcus Stroman will make his second start of the spring today in a split-squad game against the Astros in Dunedin.
The right-hander allowed two hits, an unearned run and struck out one in 1 1-3 inning against Pittsburgh last Wednesday.