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Bautista homers for Jays in first spring at-bat

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 26, 2014 at 4:25 pm •  Published: February 26, 2014
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CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Jose Bautista hit a long home run off Roberto Hernandez three batters into the game, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 Wednesday in rain-shortened spring training opener for both teams.

Bautista's home run landed outside of the ballpark at Bright House Field. The game was called in the middle of the seventh inning.

"It felt pretty good, I can't deny that," Bautista said. "More importantly I felt like I was seeing the ball great. I haven't been playing for a while so that's a positive."

Bautista missed the last six weeks of the season with a hip injury, the second straight year in which he ended the season on the disabled list. He hit 28 home runs in 2013 after reaching 27 the year before.

He was 1 for 2 with a walk and two runs scored Wednesday.

Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd each had run-scoring singles off former Phillies left-hander J.A. Happ in the bottom of the first.

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Phillies: Hernandez, making his Phillies debut, allowed two runs on four hits in two innings. He is the front runner for the fifth starter's job after signing a one-year, $4.5 million contract as a free agent this winter.

"When I face him I try to throw changeups and sinkers down," Hernandez said of the home run to Bautista. "But today I got down in the count and had to throw it down the middle. I missed up."

Blue Jays: Happ struggled in his only inning against his former team. Although he ended up striking out the side, he gave up four hits and a walk in facing eight batters. Happ finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2009, when he went 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA. Happ was 5-7 with a 4.56 ERA in 18 starts with the Blue Jays last season.

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