Monday, November 24, 2014
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Game 32: A bullpen game (plus some Utley homers)

On the visiting side, a 20-year-old ballyhooed prospect makes his major-league debut. The home team is simply looking for five innings from its starter.

Game 32: A bullpen game (plus some Utley homers)

Kyle Kendrick will make his first start of the season on Saturday against the Atlanta Braves. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)
Kyle Kendrick will make his first start of the season on Saturday against the Atlanta Braves. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)

On the visiting side, a 20-year-old ballyhooed prospect makes his major-league debut. The home team is simply looking for five innings from its starter.

Julio Teheran, all of 20 years and 100 days old, will start for the Braves. By doing so, he becomes the youngest Braves pitcher to make his debut as a starter since Steve Avery in 1990.

Kyle Kendrick, starter-turned-long-reliever, makes his first start of the season with Roy Oswalt disabled because of a back injury. Kendrick has thrown no more than three innings in his eight appearances and the most pitches he's thrown in an outing is 46.

Charlie Manuel says Kendrick can give him 65 to 75 pitches tonight. That, the manager estimated, is five innings. Six if he's really good, four if he's not.

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The bullpen will be needed.

Vance Worley has not thrown off a mound since his last start Wednesday. So he is available out of the bullpen and expect him to be used should Kendrick not go deep.

Scott Mathieson, recalled from triple-A Lehigh Valley, is available too. He has averaged close to 1 2/3 innings per appearance in the minors, but threw 21 pitches Friday night for the IronPigs.

Manuel also said the team had been trying to stay away from young Michael Stutes on Friday because he's been used or warming up in almost every game. He, too, is available to pitch.

"I've got some guys down there now," Manuel said.

***

In reality, this should qualify as a blip on the radar because context is always required. Chase Utley played in an extended spring training game Saturday on a side field in Dunedin, Fla., and batted seven times.

Of those seven, he reached base with a hit five times. Twice he hit a home run.

"That's good anywhere," Manuel said.

Phillies fans will be nothing short of giddy upon hearing this news. In the first time Utley competitively swung a bat since Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, he showed great proficiency.

Of course, an extended spring training game is nothing more than a glorified scrimmage. The Phillies can have Utley bat as many times as they'd like. He can play the field, or take an inning off, do whatever. But reports are that Utley was very active for the majority of the game.

He will not play Sunday and the expectation is for him to go every other day, at least in the beginning of this process.

So he isn't coming back right away.

"The big step is when he gets to two days and see how he recovers," Manuel said. "Then he gets to three days and sees how he feels."

***

Joe Blanton threw another bullpen session and reported no issues. The Phillies expect him to start Monday.

Carlos Ruiz is still sidelined and not taking batting practice with the team. He said his back hurts him most when he is squatting, but plans to catch a bullpen session Sunday. Still, even if he is not placed on the disabled list, he remains a few days away from playing.


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Matt Gelb Inquirer Staff Writer
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