Virgil Vazquez, by all rights, should be feeling anxious right about now.

The Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander is competing for one open spot in the starting rotation with right-hander Jeff Karstens. That means his immediate future is unsettled.

Vazquez will begin the season in the starting rotation, work out of the bullpen or wind up at Class AAA Indianapolis if he clears waivers, something that did not happen three times in the offseason, since he is out of minor-league options.

However, Vazquez was upbeat Friday night after taking the loss as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Pirates 4-1 in an exhibition game at McKechnie Field

“I felt real calm at the beginning of camp because I felt as a new guy I was just going to come in here and show them what I could do,” said Vazquez, who was claimed off waivers from the San Diego Padres in January. “Then in the middle, I got kind of nervous because I looked around and saw how many good pitchers were here. Now, though, I feel calm again.

“I feel like I’ve showed them what I could do. I think I showed I can be an asset both on and off the field.”

Vazquez allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings with three walks and one strikeout. His spring ERA now stands at 7.62 as he has given up 11 runs and 17 hits in 13 innings with six walks and five strikeouts.

“I thought he did a nice job,” Pirates manager John Russell said.

Karstens has a 5.60 ERA as he has given up 12 runs, 11 earned, in 17 2/3 innings.

Karstens’ next start is scheduled for next Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins at Fort Myers, Fla. Vasquez has yet to be scheduled for another start.

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Game report: Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay made the Pirates hitters look silly as he allowed one run and four hits in seven innings with no walks and four strikeouts. The Pirates had a total of five hits.

Tyler Yates and Craig Hansen each pitched one scoreless relief inning for the Pirates and Sean Burnett retired one of the two batters he faced while John Grabow gave up one run in one inning.

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Injury update: Infielder/outfielder Andy Phillips got five at bats as a designated hitter in a minor-league game at Pirate City, his first action since March 7. He has been sidelined by two bulging discs in his back.

Phillips will play in the field in a minor-league game today but there is not yet a timetable for when he will appear in a major-league game.

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Maholm update: Left-hander Paul Maholm, the likely opening day starter, gave up five runs, two earned, and five hits in seven innings on Friday while pitching for Class AAA Indianapolis in its 5-5 tie with the New York Yankees’ Scranton/Wilkes-Barre club in an exhibition game at Pirate City. He walked none and struck out six.

Maholm has allowed only one run in 19 2/3 innings against major-leaguers this spring for a 0.46 ERA.

Shortstop Jack Wilson, who left Wednesday night’s game with the Tampa Bay Rays after one inning because of a mild asthma attack, also played for Indianapolis and hit a sacrifice fly. Outfielder James Boone homered for the Indians.

Right-handed reliever Jesse Chavez worked three innings for Class AA Altoona against the Yankees’ Trenton farm club and allowed one run and three hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

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Nutting update: Pirates chairman Bob Nutting was in attendance at Friday night’s game, his first visit of the spring, after spending time at the minor-league camp in the afternoon. He will meet with Russell and the coaching staff prior to today's game with the Philadelphia Phillies at McKechnie Field.

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Up next: The Pirates and Phillies meet at 1:05 p.m. with Ian Snell starting against Jamie Moyer.

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