PEORIA, Ariz. — Lefty J.A. Happ shifted to a simulated game against minor-leaguers to avoid facing Oakland because he lines up to face the Athletics in his first regular-season start.
Happ gave up three runs and eight hits in four innings. He struck out five, walked one and threw 46 of 76 pitches for strikes.
Erasmo Ramirez started in Happ’s place against Oakland.
WEEKS BATS LEADOFF
So why was Rickie Weeks batting leadoff in Wednesday’s game against Oakland at Peoria Stadium? Is manager Lloyd McClendon experimenting with a new-look lineup?
“He’s got a 4:30 dentist appointment,” manager Lloyd McClendon explained. “He needs to get three at-bats pretty quickly. Really, that’s the only reason he’s up there.”
McClendon said Austin Jackson will remain the club’s leadoff hitter.
PAXTON ON SUNDAY
Lefty James Paxton is ticketed to make his Cactus League debut Sunday against Texas at Peoria Stadium after reporting no day-after problems following his three-inning performance Tuesday in a simulated game.
Paxton has been slowed by a sore forearm, which he suffered when he stumbled while performing an agility drill prior to the start of camp. He vowed Tuesday to be ready for full duty by the start of the regular season.
McClendon said right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma would likely shift Sunday to a simulated game to accommodate Paxton. Iwakuma pitched four scoreless innings Tuesday in a 5-5 tie against the Chicago White Sox.
CY YOUNG ODDS
Mariners ace Felix Hernandez is a 13:5 favorite to win the American League Cy Young Award in the latest odds from Bovada.lv, the online gaming site.
Hernandez lost out last year by a narrow margin to Cleveland’s Corey Kluber, who is a 4:1 pick to repeat. Chicago lefty Chris Sale ranks third as a 5:1 pick.
Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano draws 7:1 odds to be the AL’s Most Valuable Player.
Los Angeles outfielder Mike Trout is even money at 1:1 to repeat, while Chicago first baseman Jose Abreu is a 4:1 pick. Cano is tied for third with Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera at 7:1.