- Associated Press - Sunday, March 27, 2016

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (AP) - Drew Hutchison was more amused than frightened.

The Blue Jays pitcher escaped injury Sunday when he was struck in the back of the head by catcher A.J. Jimenez’s throw to second base on an attempted stolen base during a 7-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

The smiling right-hander high-fived Toronto teammates and remained on the bench for a while after being removed from the game in the fifth inning. He later described the scary moment as just “one of those things,” adding he probably would have argued to continue pitching if it had been a regular-season game.

“I’m good. It’s one of those weird things that happened. It’s what you get for being dumb and walking the leadoff guy,” Hutchison said. “I was throwing the ball well. Unfortunately something weird happened and I had to come out.”

Hutchison walked Brad Miller leading off the fifth. With Steven Souza Jr. batting, Miller took off for second and Jimenez’s throw struck the pitcher, who crouched low to the ground on his follow through. The ball caromed into left field, allowing Miller to continue to third base.

Trainers and manager John Gibbons spoke briefly with Hutchison before the pitcher walked off the mound to the dugout, where sat on the bench for remainder of the half-inning.

“You don’t see it that often. I thought it got him in the leg, and it ended up getting him in the head,” Gibbons said. “But he’s all right. He’s got a hard head. We’ve always known that.”

Before leaving the dugout and walking up the right first line to the visiting clubhouse at Charlotte Sports Park, Hutchinson said a few words to Jimenez and patted the catcher on the back.

“We’re good,” Hutchison said of Jimenez. “Unfortunately, it’s just a weird play … that you’ve got to laugh at. I was perfectly fine.”

Five different players drove in a run, while Hutchison allowed one run and one hit in four-plus innings for the Blue Jays, who scored three times in the eighth to pull away from a 3-3 tie.

David Carpenter pitched two scoreless innings for the Rays, leading a parade of candidates for the bullpen. Ryan Webb, Alex Colome, Danny Farquhar, Xavier Cedeno and Andrew Bellatti also pitched for Tampa Bay.

STARTING TIME

Blue Jays: Hutchison, who trying to earn a spot in the starting rotation, struck out two and walked three. Miller eventually scored in the fifth, racing home on Souza’s sacrifice fly.

“I thought I was throwing the ball really well. I thought I had really good movement,” the Toronto starter said. “That’s probably the frustrating part about today. Having to come out, not keep going and get deep into the game.”

Rays: Left-hander Matt Moore threw 98 pitches over six innings of an intrasquad squad game Sunday. Major leaguers RF Brandon Guyer, 2B Time Beckham, CF Mike Mahtook, 3B Steve Pearce, 1B James Loney, C Rene Rivera also participated.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: Host Philadelphia on Monday, with right-hander Marcus Stroman getting the start. Right-hander Vince Velasquez opens for the Phillies.

Rays: Have an open date Monday, the team’s final off day of spring training.

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