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.
“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.