Park not eager for relief role

Chan Ho Park is competing with J.A. Happ for the fifth starting spot in the Phillies' rotation. (Eric Mencher/Staff Photographer)

The modern professional athlete is well schooled in limiting his remarks to platitudes. So Chan Ho Park’s answer to a question on whether he’d be willing to accept a relief role if the Phillies decide to use him out of the bullpen and award the final spot in the rotation to lefthander J.A. Happ was the most interesting thing that happened around the Phillies yesterday.

“Uh, I don’t know,” he said somberly. “Let’s see. Wait, wait, wait, wait. Sometimes I’m crazy.”

That got a laugh and Park wouldn’t elaborate. But it’s apparent that he’s going top be unhappy if he doesn’t win the competition.

Making what is expected to be his last exhibition start of the spring in yesterday’s 13-3 win over the Houston Astros, Park gave up two runs, one earned, on six hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings. He also struck out seven, lowering his Grapefruit League earned run average to 2.53.

His walk-strikeout ratio is an amazing 2-to-25 in 21 1/3 innings.

Happ has a 3.15 ERA with six walks and 14 strikeouts in 20 innings. He’s expected top pitch at least once more.

When the Phillies signed Park to a 1-year, $2.5 million contract this winter, they envisioned him as a reliever who could give them multiple innings. But they also promised him an opportunity to start, a promise that Park has clearly taken seriously.

For our previous entry with Phillies odds and Cole Hamels' day, click here.