DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Marco Estrada ended his Spring Training on a bit of a sour note, but it didn't bother the veteran right-hander, who has been ready to go for at least the last couple of weeks.Estrada made his final start of the spring in Sunday's 7-4 loss to the Pirates,
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Marco Estrada ended his Spring Training on a bit of a sour note, but it didn't bother the veteran right-hander, who has been ready to go for at least the last couple of weeks.
Estrada made his final start of the spring in Sunday's 7-4 loss to the Pirates, and he allowed five runs on five hits and two walks over 2 2/3 innings. The big blows came on a pair of home runs by Francisco Cervelli and Jose Osuna.
The performance normally would have raised a few eyebrows, but Estrada likely deserves a mulligan here. Prior to Sunday, Estrada had allowed just three runs over 12 innings, and appeared to solve a couple of the mechanical issues that plagued his delivery last season. One poor day at the office won't undo all of that.
"I've been feeling really good out there," Estrada said. "I had a good spring. Obviously today didn't go so well, but it's that time. I think knowing the team is leaving today, knowing my pitch count was low, it's harder to get the adrenaline going and the mental part of it is a little tougher -- to get everything in sync -- but it is what it is. I got it out of the way and I'm ready to go."
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Estrada's first start of the regular season is scheduled for Saturday afternoon against the Yankees. He'll be matched up against Yankees lefty Carsten Sabathia, and that's when everyone will see whether Estrada made the appropriate adjustments during the offseason, or whether it was a spring mirage.
When Estrada arrived in camp last month, he conceded that video evidence showed he was tipping his pitches last year. That may have been one of the main reasons behind his disappointing season, which included a 4.98 ERA over 186 innings. The hope is that those problems are now behind him.
"I'm ready," Estrada said of his spring. "It was more of a stamina thing. I think for most of us that's what it is, getting that stamina up. Being able to go, six, seven, eight, nine innings with 100 pitches underneath you. We weren't going to go that deep today, but even before that I think I threw 80 pitches and I felt fine. I was ready to get to 100. That's really all I was looking forward to, building up that stamina and I'm right where I need toool be."
Toronto's Grapefruit League season has come to an end, but the club still has a pair of exhibition games remaining prior to Opening Day. The Blue Jays will open a two-game series against the Cardinals on Monday night at Olympic Stadium in Montreal at 7:07 p.m. ET. Watch live on MLB.TV as Marcus Stroman is scheduled to start Game 1, with Joe Biagini taking the mound in Game 2 on Tuesday. Top prospects Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette are among the non-roster invitees for this series.
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.