CLEARWATER, Fla. — Marcus Stroman got his wish to be challenged in his first spring-training outing.
The Toronto starter allowed two runs on three consecutive two-out singles during his second inning of work Tuesday as the Blue Jays beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-3 in the first spring-training game for both teams.
"I want to face a little adversity like I did today," Stroman said of his expectations for his first spring start. "(I want to) get guys on, have to pitch with guys on the corners like I did."
Stroman is no stranger to adversity. After tearing his ACL during last year’s spring training, the diminutive right-hander battled back with an intense rehab program. He pitched for Toronto down the stretch and into the playoffs while wearing a knee brace.
But those days are over.
"No brace, I don’t even know where it is anymore," Stroman said. "I’m good, I’m strong.
"I’m ready to rock."
Stroman (1-0) threw 33 pitches, 23 for strikes and struck out the first batter he faced, Peter Bourjos, on three pitches.
After a perfect first, he ran into trouble in the second. Stroman allowed singles to former Toronto catcher J.P. Arencibia, Cesar Hernandez and Carlos Ruiz before getting a groundout from Freddy Galvis to end the frame.
Stroman was also charged with a throwing error in the second that allowed Arencibia to move from second base to third.
"I pretty much got to all of my pitches," Stroman said. "Obviously still working on some but I feel like I have a pretty good feel for them all. Pretty good mix me and (catcher Josh) Thole had going and I feel great.
"Sinker was good, fastball command was good. Just gotta work a little bit on burying my off-speed pitch earlier in counts but that’s right around the corner. I’m pretty happy with it."
Shortstop Darwin Barney drove in Toronto’s five runs on three hits.
Barney hit a bases-loaded double off Phillies starter Severino Gonzalez to score two in the first. He then tagged Gregory Infante (0-1) for a double in the third and drove in the final run with a single in the fifth.
Toronto acquired Barney, 30, from the Los Angeles Dodgers last September. He played 15 regular-season games for the Blue Jays but was ineligible for the post-season.
"He made a great impression on us (last year)," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "We were really disappointed he wasn’t eligible for the playoffs because he could’ve helped us there but we got him a little too late.
"He’s an old pro, great glove man and I liked the way he swung the bat. Better than I really anticipated."
Right-hander Drew Hutchison, battling for the fifth spot in Toronto’s rotation, faced eight batters over two innings. He allowed one hit and one run (a two-out, solo homer from Arencibia) with hitting a batter.
"I thought it was a good day," Hutchison said. "It was good to get out there and get that adrenaline and get back on the mound again.
"For me it’s just about commanding the ball. I felt like I did that pretty well with all three of my pitches."
Ruiz drove in the other two runs for Philadelphia. Arencibia started the game as the Phillies’ DH.
Steve Delabar, Ryan Tepera, Chad Jenkins, Scott Copeland and Wade LeBlanc each pitched a scoreless inning. LeBlanc was credited with the save.
"I thought (Stroman) looked good, I thought Hutch looked good, they all did to be honest with you," Gibbons said of his pitching staff. "I really thought Hutch was dotting it pretty good down and away, and Stro looked like he was in mid-season form."