Litsch, left fielders lift Jays over Tigers

Litsch, left fielders lift Jays over Tigers

at Lakeland, Fla.
Friday, March 21

Tigers at the plate: Gary Sheffield hit a two-run homer off Jesse Litsch, his second of the spring. Ivan Rodriguez continued his torrid hitting, belting his seventh homer of the Grapefruit League season. Rodriguez is batting .364 following his 1-for-3 day against the Jays.

Blue Jays at the plate: Reed Johnson went 2-for-4 with an RBI double and Shannon Stewart had an RBI double of his own. Johnson and Stewart are battling for one half of the left-field platoon (Matt Stairs is the other half), and through Friday's game Johnson is hitting .289 against Stewart's .226. Rod Barajas went 2-for-4.

Tigers on the mound: Dontrelle Willis was pulled with one out in the fourth inning after allowing four runs on seven hits and four walks. Willis, who struck out one, has a 5.93 ERA on the spring. Zach Miner, a bullpen candidate, pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Willis, allowing two hits and a walk.

Blue Jays on the mound: Litsch, a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation, was outstanding. Litsch retired 16 in a row at one point. He allowed three runs on three hits, struck out five and did not walk a batter in six innings.

Grapefruit League record: Blue Jays 9-13, Tigers 11-12.

Up next for the Blue Jays: Toronto travels across Tampa Bay on Saturday to take on New York in a 1:15 p.m. ET tilt at Legends Field. The Blue Jays will send right-handed bullpen candidate Randy Wells to the mound as their starter, opting to start Dustin McGowan in a Minor League game rather than against the Yankees. New York will counter with left-hander Kei Igawa.

Up next for the Tigers: The Tigers head to Clearwater, Fla., for a 1:05 p.m. ET game against Philadelphia. Left-hander Kenny Rogers is slated to start for the Tigers while the Phillies will go with right-hander Chad Durbin.

Jim Molony is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.