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Lannan recalls big-league debut against Phillies

The Phillies hit John Lannan in his major-league debut with the Washington Nationals and he hit them, too.

Lannan recalls big-league debut against Phillies

New Phillies left-handed pitcher John Lannan sits for a photograph<br />after meeting with media at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday, December<br />18, 2012.  (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
New Phillies left-handed pitcher John Lannan sits for a photograph after meeting with media at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday, December 18, 2012. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

The Phillies hit John Lannan in his major-league debut with the Washington Nationals and he hit them, too.

Lannan surrendered five runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings in a July 26, 2007 game at Citizens Bank Park. His debut ended in the bottom of the fifth with one out after he hit Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in consecutive at-bats. He broke Utley's hand before also hitting Howard and the lefthander and his manager Manny Acta were ejected from the game.

After the Phillies officially announced Tuesday that Lannan had signed a one-year $2.5 million deal that also includes performance bonuses, the pitcher was asked what he remembered about his inauspicious debut.

"I don't remember anything about that day," he deadpanned. "No ... it was my debut. Emotions were running high. I think that's water under the bridge, though."

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Lannan said he never spoke to or even acknowledged the incidents with Utley and Howard. He'll get that chance in spring training in February.

"It was six years ago," he said. "Like I said, it's water under the bridge. I think they know I didn't mean to do it. Lefties, I've got to throw inside. I'm not going to blow people away. I have to pitch inside to good left-handed hitters. That's what Utley and Howard are. I'm not going to miss over the plate, but I'm not trying to hit them. That's what it basically came down to."

Pressed on the issue, Lannan said there were no winks or man hugs with Utley and Howard either.

The Phillies survived the first long-term absence of Utley's career and went on to win the first of their five National League East titles.

In the years that followed, the Phillies hit Lannan a lot more than he hit them. In 19 career starts against them, Lannan was 3-13 with a 5.53 earned run average. He was winless against them until the 2011 season.

Take away his career numbers against the Phillies and Lannan is 39-39 with a 3.80 in 115 career starts.

The Phillies hope, of course, he will continue to have success against other teams in 2013 when he will likely be the team's fifth starter. They especially hope he will do well against the Nationals, the team that ended the Phillies' run of five straight division titles in 2012.

Lannan would love that, too. He spent most of last season at triple-A Syracuse and even asked for a trade after being the odd-man out in the Nationals' young and talented starting rotation.

"It was weird definitely not being a part of it," he said. "But I was happy for them and I was glad I was able to help. The season ended on a bad note, but I got a taste of it and that's why I wanted to come here. I feel like the Phillies have a great shot of winning the NL East and going to the World Series."

Does that mean he thinks the Phillies are better than the Nationals?

"I'm trying to say that it's a very competitve division and we're ready to go in and win the NL East," he said.



Bob Brookover Inquirer Columnist
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