In his first appearance wearing the red, white and blue since leaving Angels camp, Scot Shields could not have been any better in a World Baseball Classic tuneup.
Facing the Blue Jays on Wednesday in Dunedin, Fla., Shields pitched a perfect sixth inning, striking out one man while retiring the other two on ground balls. The Jays rallied with three runs in the bottom of the ninth against J.J. Putz to pin a 6-5 defeat on Team USA.
Shields was close to perfect out of the bullpen for the U.S. in the inaurugral Classic, appearing in three games and allowing one hit and one walk in 3 1/3 scoreless innings.
The rubber-armed set-up artist is expected to be joined by new bullpen mate Brian Fuentes in the second round of the Classic in Miami starting on March 14, assuming the U.S. gets through the opening round in Toronto.
Team USA debuts in Pool C play on Saturday against Canada. The game is set for 11 a.m. PT and will be carried on ESPN. Italy and Venezuela fill out the bracket, with two teams moving on to the second round.