CLEARWATER, Fla. — Jonathan Papelbon recorded three outs on eight pitches in his Grapefruit League debut, enough action to stir encouragement through the Phillies' ranks for one specific reason.
"I could tell he was throwing with more velocity," catcher Carlos Ruiz said.
"It looked like it had some giddy-up on it," pitching coach Bob McClure said. "That was good to see."
One radar gun clocked Papelbon's fastball Sunday at 92-93 m.p.h. That was an improvement from the end of 2013 and a fine speed for the first week of March. The opposition hit .303 against Papelbon in the second half of last season while his average fastball velocity dipped to 91 m.p.h.
Papelbon attributed some of that to a hip injury that nagged him all of last season.
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