Marcum makes final exhibition start

Marcum makes final exhibition start

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The next time Shaun Marcum takes the mound for the Blue Jays, he'll be taking on the Red Sox in Toronto's home opener. On Monday night, Marcum completed his final outing of Spring Training in a 5-3 loss to the Reds at Ed Smith Stadium.

Over six innings, Marcum surrendered five runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and one walk. The right-hander finished with 100 pitches, including 66 strikes, and yielded a pair of home runs in the defeat.

Marcum's next scheduled day to pitch falls on Saturday, when the Blue Jays take on the Phillies in an exhibition game at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Instead of making that start, Marcum will remain in Florida and complete his work there in preparation for his first outing of the regular season.

Marcum, who is projected to be Toronto's No. 4 starter, is the probable pitcher for the Jays' home opener against the Sox on April 4. Last season, Marcum finished 12-6 with a 4.13 ERA in 38 games, including 25 starts. As a member of Toronto's rotation, he went 11-4 with a 3.91 ERA.

Prior to Monday's game against Cincinnati, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons confirmed that Toronto plans on using its five starters -- Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Dustin McGowan, Marcum and Jesse Litsch -- in order to open the season. That means Litsch is slated to make his season debut on April 5 against Boston, giving Halladay an added day of rest before his second start on April 6.

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