TAMPA, Fla. — New York closer Aroldis Chapman and Toronto slugger Jose Bautista made their spring training debuts Thursday during the Blue Jays’ 11-4 win over a Yankees’ split squad.
Chapman hit Bautista with a pitch in the fifth, when the left-hander gave up a run, hit two batters and walked two others during two-thirds of an inning. Chapman reached 99 mph and was consistently around 96-97 – 17 of his 26 pitches were balls.
"A slider in the dirt and it hit my (right) foot," Bautista said. "It’s his first outing, too. He’s all over the place, which is normal for a pitcher. They’re excited, it’s the first time. He had a long off-season. He’s probably feeling great, so he’s trying to harness all his strength and velocity."
Acquired from Cincinnati in December, Chapman will begin serving a 30-game suspension at the start of the season, a penalty he agreed to under baseball’s new domestic violence policy.
"Just because I didn’t have my control today doesn’t mean I have to worry about it," Chapman said through a translator. "This is spring training."
Bautista was a designated hitter for five innings. He earlier popped out and struck out.
Toronto delayed Bautista’s first game in an effort to help him stay stronger throughout the season. The 35-yard old had 40 homers and 114 RBIs last season.
"The normal first game," Bautista said. "You kind of get a feel for it. Saw some good pitches. I was tracking the ball. I felt like I was picking it up good out of their hand. A good day."
Andrew Miller, who will retain the closer role during Chapman’s absence, gave up four hits, including a two-run single to Josh Donaldson in the third.
Blue Jays: Drew Hutchison, bidding for the fifth starter spot, allowed two runs and three hits over 2 2-3 innings.
Yankees: Nathan Eovaldi went two perfect innings in his first start since his season ended Sept. 5 due to right elbow inflammation.
MORE FROM THE MOUND
Blue Jays: Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, a former Yankee, struck out one in a perfect seventh.
Yankees: Setup man Dellin Betances had a 1-2-3 fourth, aided by Ben Gamel’s full-extension diving catch near the centre-field warning track on a drive by Russell Martin.
Blue Jays: 1B Edwin Encarnacion, whose spring debut was set back by an abscessed tooth, could play next week. … RHP Marco Estrada (back) will throw a simulated game Saturday.
Yankees: INF Pete Kozma (back) went 0 for 2 with a walk in his first game.
Blue Jays: Marcus Stroman will pitch for the third time Friday against Boston.
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka makes his second start Friday against Baltimore.