Morrow going to toss just one inning Saturday
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays are sticking with what has worked in the past and intend to ease Brandon Morrow into the start of the Grapefruit League season.
Morrow will get the call for the club's first game this spring on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. ET against the Tigers on MLB.TV, but he is expected to throw just one inning. Morrow's the only starter not scheduled for two frames during his first time out, but that has more to do with his past success than anything else.
"It's what he did last year," pitching coach Pete Walker said. "We're going to stick to what worked for him. He had a great spring last year, came along nicely. [We] gave him the necessary days off that he needed to keep him fresh, and things worked very well, so he's going to stick to the plan."
Morrow enjoyed a career season in 2012 by posting a 2.96 ERA in 124 2/3 innings of work and easily was the club's most reliable starter. He's set to open the year as the No. 2 hurler behind R.A. Dickey and will have plenty of time to be stretched out before the end of Spring Training.
Brett Cecil will take over for Morrow with two innings of work against Detroit. The 26-year-old is competing for a job in the bullpen, and the extended workload doesn't mean he's being looked at as a candidate to start.
Lefties Mark Buehrle and J.A. Happ will each throw two innings in a pair of split-squad games vs. the Orioles and Yankees on Sunday. Both games are at 1:05 p.m., and the contest vs. New York will air on MLB.TV. Dickey and Josh Johnson are scheduled for two innings on Monday against Boston at 1:05 p.m., while Ricky Romero will round out the rotation with two frames against the Twins on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m.
"More or less, it's going to be a pitch count," Walker said of the tentative schedule. "It's going to be 30 pitches ... If some of those starters are listed for two innings, they certainly aren't going to throw two if it's a long first inning.
"We have time. We're getting them right. Most of them are on their five-day rotation right out of the chute. The second outing will only be two innings as well. We have an extra four or five days in the spring, so we're going to make sure these guys are where they need to be at the end of Spring Training to start the season."