DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Following a year filled with controversy, Michael Schwimer has an opportunity for a fresh start with the Blue Jays.
Schwimer, who was acquired from the Phillies on Saturday in exchange for Minor Leaguer Art Charles, garnered a lot of attention in Philadelphia last year because of a right-biceps injury.
The Phillies attempted to send Schwimer to the Minors midway through last season instead of placing him on the disabled list. Schwimer did not report to Triple-A Lehigh and the Players' Association reportedly is still looking into the matter on his behalf.
Despite all of the attention the situation received last season -- and again this spring -- Schwimer did his best on Sunday to downplay the rumors.
"My relationship with the Phillies is actually a very good one despite what people say and read and think," Schwimer said on his first day at camp. "People tend to blow up and make big things out of things that really aren't. I like the Phillies and I believe they like me.
"It was just a situation of the bullpen, they had a ton of bullpen guys on the 40-man roster and you can't play with that many players. Something had to give and they like what they got in return from the Blue Jays, so that's why I'm here."
Schwimer joins the Blue Jays with an opportunity to compete for a job in the bullpen, but faces an uphill battle to make the team. Assistant general manager Jay Sartori already informed him that with the veteran relievers and other pitchers out of options on the roster he's unlikely to head north.
That's just fine with Schwimer, though, who said he will have no problem reporting to Triple-A Buffalo at the start of the year. Once there, it's very possible he will be a candidate for a promotion if the Blue Jays' pitching staff suffers any injuries during the year.
"It's competition and I love competition," said Schwimer, who went 2-1 with a 4.46 ERA in 34 1/3 innings last season. "Right now, I would certainly say I'm not the odds-on favorite and I'm fine being in that position.
"I'm just going to try to make the front office's decision really hard. That's my goal. Come in here and compete my butt off, and hopefully good things will happen."
Bautista homers in first game back since injury
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Jose Bautista passed his first test of the spring with flying colors on Sunday afternoon by hitting a two-run homer against the Orioles.
Bautista was making his first appearance in a game since the Dominican native's 2012 campaign came to an end in late August with a left wrist injury.
Toronto's slugger had been insisting for most of the offseason that he will be completely ready to go for Opening Day, but in case there were any lingering doubts, he attempted to dispel those with a deep shot to left-center field.
"When there's something wrong with your body, you feel it," said Bautista, who went 1-for-3 with a pair of RBIs. "We're used to knowing what feels good and what doesn't.
"I've always felt like even though I was sore at the beginning and had to work getting my range of motion and strength back, I knew it was going to be fine because nothing felt out of place, weird, or funny. All of the pain that I had was strictly on the scar because of the surgery and all of that."
Bautista continues to monitor the wrist and performs daily exercises as recommended by the doctors, but doesn't expect the injury to resurface this spring. He's more focused on getting ready for the season, and in many ways this camp is just like any other.
The 32-year-old said he needs about 50 at-bats during the Grapefruit League season before his timing at the plate feels right. Bautista certainly didn't look out of sorts against the Orioles, but it's still going to take time before he feels completely comfortable.
"I need repetitions, just because I had good success doesn't mean anything," Bautista said. "But I felt good about all three of my at-bats. Even in my last one when I grounded out, I swung at two pitches in the zone aggressively.
"I think the last pitch I swung at, even though I didn't hit it that well, I tracked it well. It was just a back-up swinging slider. If the pitch would have done what [Daniel McCutchen] tried to do with it, I think I would have hit it better. It just backed up on him, didn't move as much, so jammed me a little it."
Buehrle pleased with spring debut vs. Orioles
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Mark Buehrle has been around the Major Leagues for 14 years now, so he knows a thing or two about how to get ready for the season.
The 33-year-old made his spring debut for the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon, but wasn't working on any one particular pitch like most of his counterparts.
It was business as usual for the veteran left-hander and the only real goal was building endurance, which will be a gradual process throughout the Grapefruit League season.
"Just pitch count to be honest with you," said Buehrle, who threw 24 of his 35 pitches for strikes against Baltimore. "There may be a few times that Pete [Walker] says, 'Hey, let's work on a few things, let's not throw this, let's just work on a certain pitch,' but the majority of the time, I'm going out there trying to get outs.
"It seems like I never pitch too good in Spring Training, my numbers aren't too good, but I don't care if it's Spring Training or during the season, I try to get outs and I don't like to get hit around even though, obviously, it doesn't matter."
Buehrle cruised through the opening frame and retired the first batter he faced in the second before getting into trouble. Outfielder Lew Ford singled and then Steve Pearce recorded a two-run shot over the wall in left-center field.
The veteran southpaw didn't make it out of the second and was charged with two runs on four hits while striking out one in 1 1/3 innings. Buehrle's biggest concern wasn't with the pitching line, but with the amount of times Orioles batters were able to hit the ball into the air.
Two of his four outs came in the air and there were several hard-hit balls in the outing. But Buehrle's confident improved results will come with time -- it was, after all, the first outing of the spring.
"First outing, good, obviously second inning I didn't locate as well," Buehrle said. "Put the ball in play. I think for me when I'm going well, I'm getting a lot of ground balls. If they find holes, that's part of the game. But fly balls aren't good, when I'm getting fly-ball outs, it means I'm not down in the zone as much as I'd like. But first day, I got pitches in, got some work in, so all in all a good day."