Colon limits damage in first spring start

Colon limits damage in first spring start

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Bartolo Colon minimized damage over the first two innings and Anthony Recker delivered a two-run single in a four-run fifth inning that propelled the Braves toward a 7-4 win over the Blue Jays in a mutual Grapefruit League season opener at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex on Saturday afternoon.

"It was good to just get the guys out there and get some at-bats and run around and get the exertion from playing games," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "Everybody looked pretty good."

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Prepping for his 20th Major League season and first with the Braves, Colon surrendered three hits and one run over two innings. The 43-year-old right-hander concluded his 36-pitch outing by retiring each of the three batters faced after Rowdy Tellez and Anthony Alford opened the second inning with consecutive doubles to give the Blue Jays an early lead.

Tellez's ground-rule double

Darrell Ceciliani's leadoff double sparked Toronto's two-run fourth inning against John Danks, whose long-shot bid for a rotation spot took a hit as he retired just one of the final seven batters he faced over 1 1/3 innings. The Blue Jays added another run in the fifth against Blaine Boyer, who surrendered a leadoff double to Richard Urena and one of the three singles recorded by Jake Elmore.

Blue Jays starting pitcher Casey Lawrence delivered two scoreless innings, and the Braves did not dent the scoreboard until Freddie Freeman, Adonis Garcia and Tyler Flowers singled off Jeff Beliveau during a two-run fourth.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said he enjoyed watching the prospect-laden roster that made the trip.

"There were a couple guys who pitched really well," Gibbons said. "I thought Lawrence looked great starting the game. Lucas Harrell has been around a little bit, but he looked good. Ryan Borucki, our young left-hander. A lot of good things happened. We just hit into [three] double plays to kill some innings."

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After the Braves removed their starters, Johan Camargo produced the first of four singles allowed by Glenn Sparkman during the decisive fifth inning. Recker hit his go-ahead single to left-center field off Chris Rowley.

Blue Jays Up Next: Grapefruit League play continues with split-squad games on Sunday. The Blue Jays will host the Phillies in their home opener at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. First pitch is at 1:07 p.m. ET with right-hander Joe Biagini on the mound. Meanwhile, non-roster left-hander Brett Oberholtzer will start against the Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field beginning at 1:05. In Dunedin, Biagini will be followed on the mound by right-hander Mat Latos, once one of baseball's better pitchers, who is attempting a comeback after two seasons marred by injuries and ineffectiveness. Watch both games on MLB.TV.

Braves Up Next: Snitker plans to play many of his other regulars again on Sunday, when likely Opening Day starter Julio Teheran takes the mound at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex to make his Grapefruit League season debut against the Astros. Freeman and Ender Inciarte are expected to play frequently during this first week as they prepare to compete in the World Baseball Classic. The game can be heard on Gameday Audio.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Paul Hagen is a national columnist for

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.