DUNEDIN, Fla. – Troy Patton had a difficult beginning to spring training. He allowed a home run to Matt Wieters in Thursday’s intrasquad game. Wieters did him a favor by not trotting around the bases.
Jose Bautista did him no favors on Sunday. In the third inning, the Toronto Blue Jays slugger slammed a long two-run home run off him.
In his inning, he allowed a run and four hits, striking out one.
Patton said he doesn’t want to assume he’s Buck Showalter’s top left-hander in the bullpen.
“I don’t feel that way. I don’t think Buck would want me to feel that way. Just from the way we were handled last season, I think Buck wants us on our toes. He hates roles in the bullpen,” Patton said.
“I’m honestly trying to treat it like last season where it was a good competition all through the end.”
A year ago, Patton was the only left-hander for much of the season. When he turned an ankle in August, Brian Matusz was converted into a reliever with much success. Rule 5 left-hander T.J. McFarland is in camp, too.
“There’s good lefties to compete with. We’re stocked full of pitchers,” Patton said.
“You think about how much chemistry means in a game like baseball and how great our chemistry was last year, you can understand why our front office wouldn’t want to tinker with too many things.”