DUNEDIN, Fla. -- David Buchanan admits that he didn’t envision taking a trip to Philadelphia in late March, but that is where the righthander will be when the Phillies host the Pittsburgh Pirates in their final two exhibition games at Citizens Bank Park Friday and Saturday.
Buchanan was the starting pitcher, throwing two perfect innings in Monday’s 6-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, in a game halted with one out in the top of the eighth inning due to rain. That lowered his spring ERA to 2.25.
Buchanan doesn’t know if he will earn an opening day roster spot, but he’s at least making it hard on the decision makers.
He was told that he’ll be pitching in the Saturday exhibition game. When asked if this were a scenario he could have envisioned prior to spring training, the 24-year-old Buchanan spoke with true candor.
“To be honest, no,” he said. “The only thing I was trying to do was make an impression.”
Consider that goal accomplished.
In 12 innings, Buchanan has struck out 11 and walked two.
Now he is looking forward to pitching at Citizens Bank Park.
“The fact that I am still here is special to me,” said Buchanan, who pitched at Reading and Lehigh Valley last year. “When I go to Philly, I will try to do the same thing, pitching in front of the Philly fans at home and try to make a good impression.”
He’s done it all spring in Florida. The Phillies likely won’t need a fifth starter for two weeks but afer the game manager Ryne Sandberg said Buchanan could stick as long reliever in early going.
The manager has been impressed with his poise.
"He has shown a lot of maturity and stuff," Sandberg said.
Even if he doesn’t make the opening day roster, Buchanan has emphatically accomplished his stated goal by earning the undivided attention of the Phillies decision makers.