Roy Halladay wasn’t filthy on Friday. He added his curveball to the mix for the first time and struggled commanding it.
Jonathan Papelbon was knocked around for the second straight spring appearance. The defense behind him wasn’t what you’d call very good, though.
The standout performer on the mound for the Phillies wasn’t its two-time Cy Young Award or its All-Star closer. It was Phillippe Aumont.
Although all of the Phillies pitchers were matched up against a mostly anonymous New York Yankees lineup, Aumont’s results were far and away the best.
The 24-year-old Canadian pitched a scoreless fourth inning in his second game of the spring. Aumont struck out the first batter he faced; the only blemish on his line was a two-out single hit back through the middle.
The game was Aumont’s last in a Phillies uniform before joining Team Canada for the World Baseball Classic. But he left a pretty good impression in his quest to win a bullpen job with the Phils.
He also threw a scoreless inning of relief against the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
On Friday, Aumont regularly hit 94-MPH on the radar gun, and more importantly, threw strikes.
Of the 12 pitches he threw, 11 were for strikes.
“I’m getting there,” Aumont said. “It’s still camp. I’m still not trying to be ready right now. I’m just trying to take it gradually throughout the spring. I have to be ready for the tournament; it’s not the important stuff, but still you have pride when you get on the field for your country, the adrenaline will kick in. But my priority is to come back healthy and compete for a job.”
The Phillies figure to have three openings with vets Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo, Mike Adams and Chad Durbin in the ‘pen. As it stands on March 1, exactly one month until Opening Day, Aumont looks as much of a lock as anyone.