Fighting for rotation job, Phelps stymies Jays

Right-hander scatters two hits over three scoreless frames of Yanks' loss

Fighting for rotation job, Phelps stymies Jays

TAMPA, Fla. -- Andy LaRoche connected for his second home run of the spring, a seventh-inning solo blast off reliever Chase Whitley, as the Blue Jays edged the Yankees, 1-0, on Thursday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow held the Yanks to two hits over two scoreless innings, completing his second start of the spring. Toronto also received scoreless work from J.A. Happ, Sergio Santos, Aaron Loup and Brett Cecil to push the game into the late innings.

"I treated it more like game speed," said Morrow, who allowed two runs in one inning during his last start. "I was more aggressive to my spot with the ball to where I wanted to throw it.

"I felt the same kind of rhythm in my delivery last time, but I was a little soft with throwing the ball [in my last outing]. That's why everything was up, and this time everything was down. [I had] good location and had a couple of good innings."

Yankees right-hander David Phelps turned in a sharp second outing of the spring as he continues to fight for a rotation spot. Phelps permitted two hits over three scoreless innings, walking one and striking out one in a 38-pitch effort.

"I thought I was getting ahead of guys, and they were aggressive today, swinging at a lot of early stuff," Phelps said. "I'll take early outs whenever we can get them."

New York relievers David Aardsma, Branden Pinder and Clay Rapada each followed Phelps with scoreless innings.

Yankees catcher Chris Stewart was ejected by first-base umpire Marty Foster for arguing a close play in the second inning. Stewart was called out after Toronto shortstop Jose Reyes ranged to his right and threw on to first base.

Up next for the Yankees: Coming off a career-high 16 wins, Hiroki Kuroda gets the ball for his first start of the spring on Friday as the Yankees host the Phillies for a 1:05 p.m. ET start at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Roy Halladay will be on the mound for Philadelphia, and the game will be broadcast on MLB.TV.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.