DUNEDIN, Fla. — Gavin Floyd pitched three strong innings and prospect Darrell Ceciliani hit a long grand slam, leading the Toronto Blue Jays past a Minnesota Twins split squad 9-3 on Tuesday.
Floyd, in the mix for the fifth spot in Toronto’s rotation, allowed one hit, a solo shot by Korean slugger Byung Ho Park in the second. He also struck out two.
Floyd said he felt his mechanics were much better than his first start when he allowed a run in two innings against the Pirates. He has been limited to just 21 games since 2013 because of elbow issues.
"My focus was to take what I did the first time and work on throwing strikes," he said. "The key to this game is to try and get outs as quick as possible and pound the zone, and I want to take that approach into this game and attack. That’s how I pitch."
Ceciliani connected in the first off Tyler Duffey after the Minnesota starter allowed singles to Troy Tulowitzki, AL MVP Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak to load the bases.
David Adams homered and Smoak added an RBI double for the Blue Jays in the fifth.
Minnesota’s Miguel Sano hit a two-run homer in the seventh.
Twins: After being roughed up for five runs in the first, Duffey finished strong, retiring six straight to cap his three innings of work. The right-hander walked two and struck out one.
Blue Jays: Floyd said his injury troubles the last three years have given him a new outlook on the game. The 33-year-old had elbow ligament-replacement surgery while with the White Sox in 2013, then sustained a stress fracture in his elbow twice in as many seasons.
"When you’re able to pitch again, it’s like you’re a kid again," he said. "You definitely have an appreciation for being out there. I’m very fortunate to be able to throw."
Blue Jays: 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion, out since after having an abscessed tooth pulled on Feb. 28, participated in drills Monday and could make his exhibition debut by the start of next week.
SWINGING A DIFFERENT CLUB
PGA Tour golfer Jason Dufner stopped by as a special guest of Donaldson and participated in batting practice.
Dressed in a full Blue Jays uniform and wearing No. 69, the 38-year-old took some swings before the game. He also shagged flyballs in the outfield with Donaldson, a good friend and fellow Auburn University alumnus, who played with Dufner in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am last month.
Dufner is in town this week competing in the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor.
SORIANO A NO-GO
Former All-Star closer Rafael Soriano has not yet reported to Blue Jays camp because of visa issues in his native Dominican Republic.
The 36-year-old right-hander was expected to compete for a spot in the bullpen after signing a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training during the first week of camp, but the team is not sure when he will arrive.
Soriano, who led the AL with 45 saves in 2010 with Tampa Bay and ranks eighth among active pitchers with 207 career saves, is slated to make $750,000 if he makes the big league roster. He had a 6.35 ERA during a six-game stint in July with the Cubs last season, but was released in September. Soriano’s last full season in the majors was with Washington in 2014.
Twins: Tommy Milone will make his second start on Wednesday against the Phillies in Fort Myers. The righty allowed a run on four hits in two innings against Pittsburgh on Friday.
Blue Jays: J.A. Happ gets his second start against the Rays on Wednesday in Port Charlotte. The left-hander, who signed a three-year, $36 million contract to rejoin Toronto in November, was sharp in his first outing against the Orioles, tossing two scoreless innings.