Halladay tunes up in Minors game

Halladay tunes up in Minors game

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays successfully hid Roy Halladay from the Yankees on Thursday, opting to have him start in a Minor League game rather than against his Opening Day foe.

While Toronto took on New York at Knology Park, Halladay took the mound at Tampa Bay's Minor League complex and completed six strong innings. In the outing, Halladay used all his pitches, finishing with four strikeouts and one walk with four hits allowed and no runs on the scoreboard.

"Vintage Doc," Blue Jays pitching coach Brad Arnsberg said. "His curveball was very good. He threw some good changeups. He was cutting the ball. His cutter is getting better and better right now. His sinker is just his sinker. Like I said, vintage Doc. He looked very good."

Combined with the statistics from Halladay's four Grapefruit League starts, he now has 16 strikeouts and just one walk in 20 innings. The free pass he issued in the Minor League game was Halladay's first walk of Spring Training, which stirred a slight chuckle from Arnsberg.

"One walk," Arnsberg said with a grin. "The first walk of the spring and it was borderline, but the umpire did a really good job with him. ... He did a nice job for a Minor League umpire. I'm sure he was thrilled to get to call 80 pitches behind a true No. 1."

Arnsberg wanted Halladay to appear in the Minor League contest, because the right-hander is penciled in to take on the Yankees on Opening Day on March 31 in New York. Dustin McGowan, who is the Jays' planned starter for the April 3 game in the Bronx, will also skip Toronto's spring game against New York on Saturday in favor of a Minors game.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.