03/02/12 5:15 PM EST
Rasmus homers in intrasquad matchup
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
The game was a matchup of Team Blue vs. Team Gray and while it was the Blue squad that featured what appeared to be a projected starting lineup for Opening Day, it came out on the losing end, 2-1.
"Today, just a good day to get some guys out to the mound for the first time," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "I thought overall we threw the ball over the plate pretty consistently and I think more than anything, starting to see some game situations."
Team Gray got things started in the first inning off left-hander Ricky Romero by recording back-to-back singles by Rajai Davis and Omar Vizquel. Davis would eventually come around to score on an errant pickoff attempt by Romero that ended up in center field.
The lead was increased to 2-0 in the top of the third inning when Snider crushed an offering from right-hander Rick VandenHurk off the wall. The ball missed being a home run by just a couple of feet and likely would have left the yard if not for the wind which was blowing in toward home plate.
Snider's double easily scored Davis, who finished the day 2-for-2 with two singles before eventually giving way to top prospect Anthony Gose in center field.
"It was nice to get out and compete without a batting cage around you, just get out there and play the game," said Snider, who is competing against Eric Thames for the starting job in left field. "It gets a little, I don't want to say monotonous, but when you're facing live batting practice, it's tough to get really locked in."
Rasmus cut the lead to one in the bottom of the fifth with a solo shot to right-center field off pitching prospect Deck McGuire. That homer put an end to 12 consecutive batters being retired by Team Gray and enabled Rasmus to finish the day 1-for-2.
"Usually, I feel pretty good off the bat," Rasmus said of his usual comfort level in the spring. "It doesn't take too long, because I'm at the house hitting anyway, and I hit off my high school team, some intrasquads, some live pitching, so usually it doesn't take me too long.
"I felt confident at the plate. I think that's all that matters. And I'm seeing the ball good, that's one thing I want to do, is just see the ball good. If I'm seeing it good, then my hands will get there."
Brandon Morrow started for Team Gray and completed a scoreless first inning despite giving up a single and a walk.
Crawford impresses in relief outing
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Left-hander Evan Crawford took advantage of his first opportunity to impress manager John Farrell by tossing a scoreless inning during Friday's intrasquad game.
Crawford went through the heart of the Blue Jays' batting order and recorded a three-up-three-down inning. He first got infielder Kelly Johnson to ground out to second and then struck out Jose Bautista and Adam Lind to end the frame.
"Even though it was an intrasquad game, it was an impressive inning of work," Farrell said. "The one thing that's very clear is that he's not afraid to throw his fastball. He's got a bright future.
"He's a young kid that's coming off a good year. The conversion to the bullpen has been one that sat well with him and he has performed very well in that role."
Crawford, who was an eighth round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, spent his entire 2011 season in Double-A New Hampshire. He went 3-5 with a 3.35 ERA in 51 innings and currently is competing against Luis Perez and Carlos Villanueva for one of the final two spots in Toronto's bullpen.
The 25-year-old appeared calm and collected on the mound, but when a reporter suggested that was the case he couldn't agree.
"Did I? Because I didn't feel it," Crawford said. "Little bit of butterflies, little bit of nerves. But I think if you lose that, then you're in trouble. It's the love of the game.
"You want to do good every time you go out, so I think that's where that nervousness comes from. But other than that, just confident and making pitches and doing my thing."
Romero all business, even against teammates
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Ricky Romero isn't the type of person that can just sit back and casually take part in Spring Training activities.
Once Toronto's ace takes the mound, he is all business -- even when it's during an intrasquad game against his own teammates.
Romero got the start for Team Blue in Friday afternoon's 2-1 loss to Team Gray and allowed one unearned run during one inning of work. The overall results always take a back seat at this time in the spring, but for Romero, he's always looking to go full out.
"It felt great just to be back out there. I hadn't felt that good in a while," Romero said. "Even in the bullpen, I was fighting myself, but I was able to slow everything down out there and felt great.
"You're going all out because one, you don't want to hear it from these guys, and two, I compete every time I'm out there and I try to take it as serious as possible. I'm in full game mode and I was a little excited when I got out there, just to get on that mound and see hitters, see an umpire and all that good stuff."
Romero surrendered a pair of singles to lead off the first inning. He then committed an error on a wild pickoff attempt at second base before settling down and striking out a pair of batters and getting David Cooper to fly out and end the frame.
It was a good starting point for the 27-year-old lefty, who will start his first Grapefruit League game on March 6 against the Phillies.
Romero said he threw his fastball, changeup, curveball and "a few cutters that didn't do much, really didn't cut. I have some work to do, but a good one to build off."