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Buehrle has rough inning but Blue Jays beat Astros

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Associated Press
3/19/2013 6:17:43 PM
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DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Mark Buehrle is not overly concerned about his spring training results.

Buehrle gave up four runs and eight hits over four innings in the Toronto Blue Jays' 10-6 win over the Houston Astros on Tuesday.

Brandon Barnes hit his fourth exhibition homer, a two-run shot during a four-run third off Buehrle. Houston opened the inning with five consecutive hits.

"I feel fine, I feel healthy," Buehrle said. "I just had that one inning."

Buehrle is part of a revamped Blue Jays rotation that includes other off-season acquisitions R.A. Dickey and Josh Johnson.

Melky Cabrera hit a first-inning solo homer off Jordan Lyles, who allowed six runs and 10 hits over 3 2-3 innings. The right-hander has struggled as he attempts to keep his rotation spot, giving up 24 runs in 11 2-3 innings overall.

"I think, again, he just got the ball elevated," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "He had some chances to put some hitters away, and didn't make quality pitches in those situations."

Jose Bautista connected on his fourth homer in the fourth, a long two-run drive to left. Josh Thole and Ryan Langerhans also homered for Toronto.

Dickey, the opening day starter, and Johnson both pitched in minor league games Tuesday. Dickey, who gave up one unearned run and one hit in two innings, is scheduled to throw again in a minor league exhibition game Friday when the Blue Jays host the Boston Red Sox.

"It's just a matter of reproducing a good knuckleball over and over," Dickey said. "Today was another step in that direction to continue to be consistent with it."

Johnson was touched for five runs and eight hits in four-plus innings.

Blue Jays left-hander Ricky Romero has been working on mechanics with pitching coach Pete Walker and will pitch in a minor league game Thursday.

"A minor adjustment, and he's working hard on it," Walker said. "Trying to get him a little bit more directional toward home plate. He's been a little bit across his body, and it's an adjustment that he's made over the past week or so. I think it's something he needs to do, and I think he's committed to it. I think he feels really good about where he is right now and looking forward to his next outing."

Romero went 9-14 with a 5.77 ERA in 32 starts last season.

Toronto closer Casey Janssen, coming off surgery on his throwing shoulder, is scheduled to pitch in his second minor league game Wednesday.

"It's a day by day thing," Walker said. "He's getting close. We're still hopeful he'll be ready for opening day, but he's not going to go unless he's 100 per cent."

Blue Jays reliever Sergio Santos, who missed almost all of last season after having shoulder surgery and experienced triceps soreness after an inning against Philadelphia on March 3, gave up Jason Castro's fifth homer, an opposite-field two-run shot to left. The right-hander could fill in at closer if Janssen is not ready to start the season.

Astros right-hander Philip Humber took part in a simulated game on Monday's offday.

"Humber looked great," Porter said. "Attacked the strike zone. He came in competing for a job and he hasn't done anything to hurt his chances of being one of the guys in the rotation. He's done everything that we've asked him to do."

NOTES: Astros OF Fernando Martinez didn't make the trip to get treatment for back tightness. ... Toronto 3B Brett Lawrie (strained rib cage) is ready to start rotational exercises. Gibbons said it's possible that Lawrie won't be ready for the regular season opener. ... Blue Jays RHP Dustin McGowan, who's had three shoulder surgeries in the last five years, is set to work one inning Wednesday in a minor league game. ... Toronto LHP Darren Oliver allowed two hits over three scoreless innings in a minor league game. ... The Blue Jays sent RHP Justin Germano to their minor league camp.

Mark Buehrle (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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