The first official Spring Training game for the Phillies ended with a 3-2 win over their World Series foes, the New York Yankees. Not that spring games mean anything, but it was fun to watch. Roy Halladay pitched two innings and lived up to the hype. He did not allow a hit in 2 innings and threw 21 of 24 pitches for strikes. It did not look like even one of those pitches came near the middle of the plate. He had amazing movement on the ball, pinpoint control and he painted the corners, making it look effortless.
Kyle Kendrick and new pick-up Jose Contreras impressed as well. Each threw 2 innings and looked solid. Kendrick appears to be serious about grabbing the 5th starters’ spot. Kendrick spent extra time this off-season working out to prepare and during camp, has been following Halladay around like a lost puppy. The extra effort appears to be paying off.
Another anxiously awaited debut was that of former 2nd baseman, Placido Polanco at third base. The first batter of the day hit it right to him and Polly handled it well. Later that same inning however, he made a fantastic scoop but overthrew to first for the first error of spring. It was basically smooth sailing after that minus a pop-up that the wind took away. Polanco started his career at third and it is expected that he will progress quickly in his return to the position.
So it was all positives for the Phillies in their 1st official spring game. Yesterday’s exhibition against Florida State however was a bit more challenging for one new Phillie. Top prospect Phillipe Aumont who was acquired in the Cliff Lee trade had a memorable outing on the mound, although it won’t be a good memory for the young pitcher.
Obviously shaken by the pressure to show he was worth the trade, Aumont gave up 5 runs in 2/3 of an inning including 3 walks and a 3-run homer. Previously touted for his excellent control, that skill went right out the window as nerves got the better of him. And all that was against a college team…ouch. This poor kid needs a hug….bad. The Phillies still won 13-6 so no worries. Besides, things can only get better from here. Aumont should bounce back now that he has purged the nervous energy. I wish him luck!
So the Phillies will play a game every day until their one day off of the month on March 18th. Tomorrow they face the Blue Jays in Dunedin and Halladay will make his first visit back to his old spring stadium. Cole Hamels is scheduled to start and we will also see J.C. Ramirez, Ryan Vogelsong and Antonio Bastardo in action as well. Game time is 1:05pm.
if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget(‘23806c5d-27e5-4f04-a300-94a868417e13’);
Photo from ESPN.com