Phillies defense sloppy in 8-3 loss to Astros

Phillies' first baseman Ryan Howard reacts after striking out looking in the sixth-inning against Houston Astros' catcher Rene Garcia during a spring training exhibition game in Clearwater, FL on Saturday, February 23, 2013. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Often, before Grapefruit League games started, Charlie Manuel gravitated toward the outfield drills. His defense there is of great concern.

Those fears were not alleviated in Saturday's 8-3 loss to Houston at Bright House Field. The Phillies committed four errors, two of them by outfielders Darin Ruf and Ben Revere.

Both of those errors led to unearned runs.

"Hopefully we kind of got a lot of that out of the way," Manuel said. "That was one of those days. That's what we talked about, that's why we've been working a lot on our defense. We still got a long way to go and today was a good example of it."

Ruf made a fielding error in the fourth when a single bounced off his glove. Revere could not cleanly field another single in the fifth.

The Phillies expect Revere to be sure-handed. Ruf, who is making the transition from first base to left field, is another story.

"Darin is gonna make some mistakes," Manuel said. "Playing down here in spring training, that's gonna help him. I didn't expect him to go out there and make great catches or catch every ball. He hasn't played much out there and he's going to make mistakes."

EXTRA BASES. Every Phillies pitcher in relief of Cole Hamels allowed at least one run. B.J. Rosenberg, Jeremy Horst and Justin De Fratus each pitched two innings because the Phillies are looking for middle relievers with length. ... Jarred Cosart, the former Phillies prospect traded for Hunter Pence, pitched two perfect innings in relief for Houston. The 22-year-old righthander is likely to start 2013 at triple A.

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