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J.A. 'happy' with effort in spring debut

Blue Jays southpaw used entire repertoire in two scoreless innings
Special to MLB.com

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ was able to use most of his arsenal in his first spring start, an 8-8 tie against the Phillies, as he begins his follow-up campaign after winning 20 games in 2016.

Happ said his 30-pitch outing was mostly fastballs and changeups to establish the strike zone, but by the second inning, he was able to throw his curveball and cutter without any problems.

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ was able to use most of his arsenal in his first spring start, an 8-8 tie against the Phillies, as he begins his follow-up campaign after winning 20 games in 2016.

Happ said his 30-pitch outing was mostly fastballs and changeups to establish the strike zone, but by the second inning, he was able to throw his curveball and cutter without any problems.

"[I was] pretty anxious, I think," Happ said. "Happy to get through it feeling good. Now I will see how the recovery goes and hope that we can just keep climbing the hill to get that endurance up."

Happ gave up a single to center fielder Odubel Herrera in the first inning, but the southpaw was never in any serious trouble otherwise. He finished the two-inning start with a strikeout of designated hitter Nick Williams, and he also struck out right fielder Cameron Perkins in the first inning.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said that it's hard to expect Happ to match his 2016 total because so many things have to go right for a pitcher to win 20 games. However, Gibbons added that Happ has found consistency as a pitcher and he should continue to get positive results.

"Every time we sent him out there, he was rock-solid," Gibbons said. "We liked him in the past before we traded him, and really it just all came together the final couple months in Pittsburgh and the last six months with us."

Happ said he'll continue to use the spring to get his delivery and mechanics in top form as his workload increases.

"I don't know what my velocities were [Thursday], but I'm guessing they were a little bit all over the place because I could feel myself not being quite in sync with my delivery," Happ said. "But that's part of the process, and it takes outings. Today was a good first step."

Corey Long is a contributor to MLB.com.

Toronto Blue Jays, J.A. Happ