DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — Jose Bautista hit his third home run of the spring for the Toronto Blue Jays in a 4-3 victory Saturday over the Minnesota Twins, who got three scoreless innings from newcomer Phil Hughes.
After spending his first seven seasons with the New York Yankees, Hughes signed a $24 million, three-year contract with Minnesota in the offseason. He gave up one hit, walked one and struck out two.
The right-hander missed most of spring training with a back injury last year and struggled mightily in the regular season, going 4-14 with a 5.19 ERA with the Yankees.
Hughes said being able to participate in a full spring has given him a confidence boost.
"You never want to struggle at any point," he said. "I think coming in off the year I had and to get off on a pretty good note is big. But again, it's still spring training and once the season starts that's the biggest thing, and I want to get out of the gates going well."
Adam Lind was 2 for 2 with two doubles for the Blue Jays. Melky Cabrera added an RBI single and Edwin Encarnacion scored a run.
Bautista connected in the fourth off Twins closer Glen Perkins.
Byron Buxton, rated the No. 1 prospect in baseball, hit a two-run homer off Toronto starter Drew Hutchison in the third.
Hutchison struck out five, including three straight in the second, and walked one in three innings.
Twins: Hughes threw 38 pitches but only two or three changeups because they weren't very effective.
"It wasn't good," he said. "I threw one first pitch that was a bad ball and then I think I threw one on the plate. As the pitch counts increase, you give yourself a little bit more availability to work on some things. When I'm going three innings, sometimes the concentration goes on making a pitch and getting a guy out and before you know it, maybe you haven't thrown as many (specific pitches)."
Blue Jays: Hutchison, a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation, felt good after working with catcher Dioner Navarro for the first time in a game.
Hutchison said he and Navarro worked before the spring to build chemistry and it has paid off well.
Navarro signed an $8 million, two-year deal with Toronto in the offseason after spending last year with the Chicago Cubs.
"I live here in the offseason and so does he, so I was working out at the complex with him. So I got to know him a little bit, develop a little bit of a relationship," Hutchison said. "He caught my first bullpen, I think, so I had a pretty good idea. We've talked a lot. It was really good to work with him today."
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