Rasmus grand slam lifts Jays over Rays, Happ get rewarded for strong spring

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Colby Rasmus figures his swing is just about ready for opening day. Rasmus hit a grand slam that capped a six-run rally in the eighth inning off Kirby Yates and the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 6-1 Wednesday.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Colby Rasmus figures his swing is just about ready for opening day.

Rasmus hit a grand slam that capped a six-run rally in the eighth inning off Kirby Yates and the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 6-1 Wednesday.

“I’m getting a good feel for what I’m trying to do,” Rasmus said. “Baseball is crazy like that. You can out there one day and just be locked in.”

“Spring training is long this year. If you are playing every day, that’s a lot of ABs. If you take that many at-bats, spring training can almost mess you up sometimes. I just try to stay focused on keeping myself relaxed.”

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons has been waiting for Rasmus to show off his prodigious power all spring.

“He’s got some pop, doesn’t he?” Gibbons said. “Colby is a talented kid and he hits homers, man. Homers win.”

Jeff Niemann, still uncertain whether he will be in Tampa Bay’s rotation to open the season, made a final statement in his favour, pitching six scoreless innings of two-hit, no-walk ball. Niemann struck out three and improved his spring ERA to 2.92.

“He was very good,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “The ball was moving a lot. I mean you could see it from their swings and see from the sidelines.”

Niemann, coming off a lacklustre outing, feels ready to start the season in whatever role the Rays have for him.

“That was the best I’ve thrown the ball all spring,” Niemann said. “It’s been a huge building process this whole spring and I can’t be happier about how (I) ended up.”

Yunel Escobar hit an RBI triple for Tampa Bay.

Toronto starter J.A. Happ, who appears likely to have earned the fifth spot in the Blue Jays’ rotation with Tuesday’s demotion of Ricky Romero, gave up one earned run, four hits and four walks in 4 2-3 innings.

Hours later, the Blue Jays said they had reached agreement with Happ on a $9.1 million, two-year contract that adds an additional $5.4 million and one season to the deal he got in January.

NOTES: Pitchers Jeremy Jeffress and Brett Cecil were both informed they have made the Blue Jays’ 25-man roster. … The Cubs claimed RHP Guillermo Moscoso off waivers from Toronto.

Just Posted

‘We feel for those children’: Community saddened by hit and run that killed mother of five in central Alberta

“What about the children?” That is a Sunchild First Nation resident’s thought… Continue reading

Central Alberta MLAs get to work

Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce look forward to working with new MLAs

Red Deer River will benefit from new $23-million residual treatment centre

Project will require the demolition of old brick water treatment plant

Carbon tax, desk-thumping on agenda in upcoming Alberta legislature session

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s government heads to the legislature this… Continue reading

Money laundering report a wake-up call for Canada, but some provinces skeptical

VANCOUVER — The authors of a report that found $47 billion was… Continue reading

WATCH: First Red Deer Market of 2019

The event is held every Saturday in the Servus Arena parking lot

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Health: What causes cancer in obese people?

What decreases the risk of cancer? A colonoscopy detects polyps before they… Continue reading

Family: Acts of kindness should be played forward

Sometimes people do the nicest things! And, in so doing, they leave… Continue reading

Five NDP votes in Labrador to determine status of N.L. Liberal government

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The deciding seat in Newfoundland and Labrador’s Liberal… Continue reading

Vancouver Aquarium files civil claim suing city and park board over cetacean ban

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Aquarium is suing the city and park board… Continue reading

Diplomat, peacekeeper: Saskatchewan First Nation awaits Poundmaker exoneration

When Milton Tootoosis thinks about the planned exoneration of Chief Poundmaker, he… Continue reading

Trump’s EPA shifts more environmental enforcement to states

BOKOSHE, Okla. — Susan Holmes’ home, corner store and roadside beef jerky… Continue reading

Ford is cutting 7,000 white-collar jobs

DETROIT — Ford is cutting about 7,000 white-collar jobs, which would make… Continue reading

Most Read