3/19/2014 6:22 P.M. ET
Goins snaps out of slump with big day
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Second baseman Ryan Goins broke out of his prolonged slump at the plate for at least one day by going 3-for-4 in Toronto's 11-6 victory over the Phillies on Wednesday afternoon.
Goins had two singles and a triple to go along with a pair of RBIs in his best offensive day this spring. He entered the game hitting just .154 in 39 at-bats, but he saw that average climb to .209.
The Blue Jays had a total of 18 hits on Wednesday afternoon, but after the game it was Goins that manager John Gibbons wanted to spend most of his time talking about.
"The one I'm really excited for is Goins, he had kind of a breakout day and he needed that," Gibbons said. "He hadn't gotten a lot of hits, but he has been hitting a lot of balls hard. But for a young guy that's tough to accept -- he wants to see results, so that was a big day for him."
Goins is expected to receive most of the playing time at second base this season with utility man Maicer Izturis serving in a backup role. The only experience Goins had at the big league level came in 2013, when he hit .254 with a .264 on-base percentage in 34 games.
Lack of command remains issue for Happ
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- J.A. Happ saw his control issues continue with another rough spring start against the Phillies on Wednesday afternoon.
Happ allowed three runs and needed a total of 71 pitches to get through just 2 2/3 innings. He issued four walks and allowed three hits in his third rough outing of the Grapefruit League season.
The problem once again was an overall lack of command. Happ's tendency to get into a deep count with almost every hitter meant he wasn't able to get through the four-to-five scheduled innings.
"That wasn't great; I was all over the place, that's for sure," Happ said. "A couple of times I missed up, a couple of times I missed down. I felt like I was trying to make adjustments out there. A couple ones got away from me. It makes it a lot easier on yourself when you get ahead of the guys, but today I didn't do that as well as I would like."
That's basically how Happ's entire Spring Training has gone so far. In three official starts, he has managed to pitch just four innings while allowing nine runs on nine hits and nine walks. A high pitch count has been prohibitive in each outing, and he has yet to complete his tentatively-scheduled innings workload in any given day.
According to the Blue Jays, some of Happ's issues early in camp were because of a back injury. The good news is that appears to be a thing of the past, as Happ said Wednesday that his back was "good" and that he "felt strong out there." The problem is that time is quickly running out to solve some of his issues before the start of the regular season.
Happ is scheduled for two more outings this spring, and even though he recently received a vote of confidence from manager John Gibbons, it would still appear as though his starting job is in jeopardy. Esmil Rogers and Todd Redmond also are in the mix, and before the game, pitching coach Pete Walker described Wednesday as an important start for Happ.
"I don't put too much pressure on it, I'm sure it was a big start," Happ said afterward. "But to be honest, I can't concern myself too much with the other stuff. I was happy to feel great today. I expect to feel great tomorrow and the next couple of days, get back out there and hopefully some better results for the next time."
Janssen feeling good, set for debut Friday
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Right-hander Casey Janssen remains on schedule to make his official spring debut on Friday afternoon against the Rays.
Janssen has yet to pitch in a game this spring because of a sore shoulder, but he's now feeling healthy and is expected to be ready in time for the start of the season.
Toronto's closer threw live batting practice on Tuesday, and wasn't feeling any lingering soreness the following day, which means another road block had been cleared on his road to recovery.
"He feels great," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He'll throw Friday and then I'm not sure the next [time], but he'll get three or four appearances before the season starts."
Gibbons added that the plan for Janssen is to throw on back-to-back days at least once before the start of the season. That likely won't happen until the middle of next week, and it remains to be seen whether he joins the club for a mini two-game series in Montreal from March 28-29, or if he instead remains in Florida to prepare for Opening Day.
Janssen recorded 34 saves in 36 opportunities last season while posting a 2.56 ERA in 52 2/3 innings.