--LHP Ricky Romero was scratched from Thursday's start because of a mild left oblique strain that the club says is not considered serious. The plan is to give Romero two more days of rest, and he will now start Saturday against the Tigers. RHP Kyle Drabek and RHP Jesse Litsch will each move up one day and start Thursday and Friday, respectively. Both will be starting on regular rest because of Monday's off day on the schedule. Romero is 2-3 with a 3.00 ERA in six outings this season. He has struck out 41 and walked 13 in 39 innings.
"When he caught the line drive in New York (last Friday), he felt a twinge," manager John Farrell said. "He threw (Wednesday) on the mound. He was able to throw ... but we think we need to bump him back a couple days. We don't want to take chances. It's as much cautionary as anything."
--RHP Jon Rauch blew his first save opportunity in six chances in Tuesday's 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay, allowing a two-run homer to CF B.J. Upton in the bottom of the ninth after a leadoff single by RF Ben Zobrist. "I screwed up," Rauch said. "I made two really, really bad pitches, and they capitalized on them." It was his first blown save since July 1, 2010, when he was with the Twins.
"I tried to command the bottom part of the zone, and I didn't do it (Tuesday)," Rauch said. "We're all human, we're going to make mistakes. But I'm better than that, and I let my team down."
Upton's homer deprived LHP Jo-Jo Reyes his first win as a starter since June 13, 2008, when he was with the Braves. He has now gone 24 major league starts without a win.
--LHP Marc Rzepczynski has held left-handed hitters to two hits in 26 at-bats this season after giving up a single to Johnny Damon in Wednesday's 3-2 win over Tampa Bay. He has held all hitters to a .109 batting average (5-for-46) in his team-leading 16 appearances. He struck out three Wednesday while pitching a scoreless inning for the second day in a row. With his sinker and breaking ball, he is considered an ideal replacement for LHP Scott Downs, who left as a free agent to pitch for the Angels.
--RF Jose Bautista and 2B Aaron Hill could be back in the lineup by Sunday. Manager John Farrell said before Wednesday's game that Bautista, slowed by neck spasms, was progressing and could be ready to swing a bat Friday. Bautista had an MRI exam Tuesday that showed no structural issues. Hill, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring, had six at-bats in an extended spring training game Wednesday. He will play three more minor league games in Florida, including a pair with high-A Dunedin, and he might be activated Sunday or Monday.
Manager John Farrell said of Hill, "Provided there's no unforeseen changes that take place physically with him, (Sunday) would be the goal."
Hill's original plan was to appear in a third and final minor league game for Dunedin on Saturday night. Now he will play in another extended spring training game Saturday afternoon.
"It's the logistics and the time of the game," Farrell said. "We have a day game on Sunday, and to try and fly that morning and rush, it's all about the clock."
--OF Rajai Davis is the right fielder until Jose Bautista returns from neck spasms. Davis usually plays center but was moved to right with Bautista's injury with OF Corey Patterson taking over in center. "Rajai has a better arm in right," manager John Farrell said. "He has played more right field than Corey has. Out of the three positions, Corey's best routes are in center field, and it's probably more of the track record."
BY THE NUMBERS
1.87 -- RHP Brandon Morrow's career ERA against Tampa Bay after beating them Wednesday with 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"Our tentative plan going forward would be to have some swinging of the bat, some baseball activity on Friday. Provided that there's no residual effect and how intense we can make the workouts ... then project (him) to be back in the lineup on Sunday." -- Manager John Farrell, on the status of RF Jose Bautista, who has been sidelined due to neck spasms.
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