Posted March 29, 2013 on AP on Fox
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Cliff Lee finished up spring training by having a little fun. Soon after pitching four sharp innings against Toronto in his final tuneup, the Philadelphia ace teamed up with Cole Hamels and joined the Phillie Phanatic in shooting hot dogs into the stands. ''I asked if I could jump in there and get close to that action and see what it was all about,'' Lee said after the Blue Jays beat the Phillies 1-0 Friday night. ''It was pretty neat.'' There's no way the intense Lee will be launching hot dogs after a start during the regular season. Other than that, the left-hander looked in midseason form against a formidable and revamped Blue Jays lineup that is being predicted to contend in the tough AL East. Lee allowed allowing only Jose Bautista's double. He struck out five, walked none and retired the final 10 batters. ''It felt good,'' said Lee, who threw 37 of 48 pitches for strikes. ''It's time to get ready for the real games. Physically I feel good, it's just a matter of executing pitches. Today I was able to do that and hopefully I can carry that into the first game and throughout the year.'' Lee, set to pitch next Thursday at Atlanta, finished the spring 0-1 with a 4.79 ERA. Last season, it took Lee 14 starts before he earned his first victory in a hard-luck season of limited run support. Lee is hoping for a turnaround for himself and the Phillies, who were hurt by injuries to stars Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay last season when they finished 81-81 and out of the playoffs for the first time since 2006. ''It feels like there's a little bit more focus and intensity this spring because of the failure we had last year,'' Lee said. ''To me that's a good thing. It's just a matter of going out and executing, staying healthy. Spring training and getting yourself ready is a huge part of that, and it seems like everyone is focused on those things.'' ''It's my last chance to get ready for the season so I wanted to approach it more like a real outing,'' he said. J.P. Arencibia homered in the fifth inning off Phillipe Aumont for the lone run. Mark Buehrle was impressive in five innings for Toronto, allowing two hits. He struck out five and walked none. NOTES: The Phillies announced a crowd of 32,164 that braved a chilly, 52-degree evening that felt colder due to a strong wind blowing in from center field. ... The teams complete their spring training schedule at 1:05 on Saturday. Phillies RHP Kyle Kendrick is scheduled to face RHP Josh Johnson.
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