Now Commenting On:

{"event":["spring_training" ] }

Scoreless relief outing encouraging for Cecil


DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Brett Cecil bounced back from his worst outing of the spring by tossing 2 2/3 scoreless innings against the Yankees on Thursday afternoon.

Cecil entered the game needing a strong performance to help build his case for one of the final two spots in Toronto's bullpen.

The 26-year-old managed to do that by going to an impressive curveball and changeup while resisting the urge to rely on his fastball as much as previous outings.

"The curveball was working really well," said Cecil, who lowered his spring ERA to 6.30. "I was just a little bit late getting my hand out on the fastball and the curveball brings me right back to the arm slot where it should be at.

"The changeup was working well, too. They want me to start throwing my changeup a little bit more now that I have some of my velocity back. Starting to change speeds a little bit more rather than just fastball, cutter."

Cecil, who is out of options on his contract, remains in a heated competition for a job on the 25-man roster. He's in the mix with Aaron Loup, Jeremy Jeffress and Brad Lincoln, and to a lesser extent, J.A. Happ and Neil Wagner.

The Blue Jays view Cecil as a candidate for the long reliever's role, but he's also the type of pitcher who could be used in situational matchups as well.

Cecil auditioned for both of those roles vs. New York by replacing right-hander Esmil Rogers in the fifth and continuing on to record his longest outing of the spring.

The native of Maryland surrendered just one hit and one walk while striking out three. It was a positive step for a reliever, who has had several bumps in the road this spring.

"It has been frustrating, to say the least," Cecil said. "My last couple of outings before this, giving up the runs. I felt great every time going out, and I think that was the most frustrating part. Feeling good, throwing good pitches, but not good enough.

"It has just been frustrating juggling that part of it. But I'm just trying to keep it out of my head that it's a competition and just trying to get better every time out."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"event":["spring_training" ] }
{"event":["spring_training" ] }
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español