The biggest news out of Bradenton today was the Grapefruit League debut of lefthander Antonio Bastardo. The Phillies love his arm and would really like to see him pitch well enough to be the second lefty in the bullpen. But he had elbow issues early in the spring.
He seemed in midseason form at McKechnie Field, striking out two and getting a weak pop-up in a perfect ninth of the Phillies 7-4 win.
Two other candidates to be the second lefthander behind veteran J.C. Romero also appeared. Mike Zagurksi, who is on the roster, pitched the eighth and gave up just an infield hit while striking out one. Dan Meyer, who isn’t, pitched the sixth and gave up 2 runs on 2 hits and a walk. He also struck out two.
There are two other non-roster lefty relievers in camp: Juan Perez and Ryan Feierabend.
Some interesting news broke back in Clearwater during the game when WTSP.com in Tampa reported yesterday that the $190,000 Porsche Panamera belonging to Phillies reliever J.C. Romero was stolen Thursday night while being serviced at a local dealership.
Romero drove the car to spring training from his home in Alabama. He did not accompany the team to Bradenton yesterday.
The continuing absence of Chase Utley with patellar tendinitis in his right knee has meant more playing time at second base for Delwyn Young, who became a free agent when non-tendered by the Pirates at the end of last season and signed a minor league contract with the Phillies.
Young, who had previously played in left and right fields, got his first start at second base against the team that let him go.
Young, by the way, said he was the bat boy for the 1995 Class A Riverside team that was a Seattle Mariners affiliate. One of the players on that club was Raul Ibanez. Young’s dad, Delwyn Sr., was a coach.
Two neat defensive plays today: Shortstop Wilson Valdez is getting a look in the outfield this spring. He started in right today threw out Neil Walker trying to go from first to third on a single in the first.
Starting pitcher Joe Blanton made the play of the game when he caught a comebacker from Pedro Ciriaco behind his back and between his legs and threw him out at first in the third inning. “There’s a lot of luck in there. I didn’t even know I caught it. I was looking around and all of a sudden I realized it was in my glove. You’ve got to laugh about it because there’s zero skill involved when you do that,” he said.
Blanton got his second start of the spring. After giving up four straight hits with one out in the bottom of the first – “A broken bat and two jam jobs,” by his estimation – he didn’t allow another hit in his 3 2/3 innings.
Pitching coach Rich Dubee’s son, Michael, came over from minor league camp and pitched 2/3 of an inning yesterday. He also pitched against the Phillies in the On Deck series before the start of last season. “I’m glad he did well,” the elder Dubee said. “But in the regular season, if that ever happens, I hope we’d light him up.”
The Phillies host the Pirates today at Bright House Field. Pittsburgh lefthander Paul Maholm is scheduled to start against Roy Halladay.
The Phillies have split squad games tomorrow. Cliff Lee will start against Tampa Bay Rays righthander Wade Davis at home. Kyle Kendrick will get the assignment against Tigers lefthander Phil Coke at Marchant Stadium in Lakeland.
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