If it's on the ground, John Lannan is happy

Phillies pitcher John Lannan. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Only eight starting pitchers have induced ground balls at a higher rate than John Lannan since 2008. Lannan is not an overpowering pitcher. Rarely will he miss bats. So he relies on keeping the ball down in the zone, and then on the ground.

Four of his six outs Wednesday were on the ground, which was a good sign. Lannan allowed one run in two innings during his Grapefruit League debut. A few Twins made solid contact.

"Yeah," Lannan said, "so I'm relatively happy."


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Lannan has begun picking the brains of his new staff mates. He quizzed Carlos Ruiz on how he'd call a game. It's all part of the adjustment to a new team.

Lannan lives in Tampa, Fla., so he threw a few bullpen sessions for pitching coach Rich Dubee at the team's facility before spring training started.

"First bullpen, he was kind of quiet," Lannan said. "So that sort of screwed me a little bit. After that, I realized he probably didn't want to say too much. Now he's getting into the role of telling me what he thinks. It's great."

Lannan said he is not tinkering with anything major this spring. He is guaranteed $2.5 million and should fill the fifth spot in the rotation barring a huge surprise.

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