Phillies Notes: Phillies, Pirates get testy after Slowey's quick pitches

BRADENTON, Fla. - The players from both dugouts and bullpens emptied onto the field Monday before the fifth inning of the Phillies' 18-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Pirates' Sean Rodriguez thought that Kevin Slowey was throwing too quickly an inning earlier when Slowey struck him out. He continued to holler from the dugout in the fifth, causing the dugouts to empty.

"I understand the frustration of a singular failure, it's a game of failures, but to react that way, for me, was very surprising," Slowey said. "To challenge somebody to a physical altercation, it hardly seems like the best way to resolve your frustrations."

The scuffle was quickly separated with coaches needing the most restraint. Pirates third base coach Rick Sofield and Phillies first base coach Juan Samuel were the only ejections.

"I was trying to tell [Rodriguez] to get back into the dugout so the third base coach was telling me to get into my dugout," Samuel said. "So I told him to go help me get in my dugout."

 

Pettibone's progress

Jonathan Pettibone won't get into a game before the Phillies break camp Thursday, but he will see tangible progress before his teammates head north. The 24-year-old righthander is scheduled to pitch live batting practice Tuesday, the first time he will face live hitters since undergoing June shoulder surgery.

Pettibone, who will stay behind in Clearwater to pitch in extended spring training, has thrown about 10 bullpen sessions this spring. It's likely Pettibone will pitch live batting practice at least two or three times before entering an extended spring training game.

 

The fifth starter?

Phillies righthander Sean O'Sullivan will start Tuesday's Grapefruit League game against Toronto in Dunedin, essentially making him the favorite to land the temporary fifth starter's job until Chad Billingsley is ready.

Billingsley, coming off a pair of elbow surgeries, is expected to be ready in mid-April or early May. The Phillies don't need a No. 5 starter until April 12.

"We're looking at some outside possibilities but it's likely to be an internal candidate," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.

O'Sullivan, 27, is an option because he has spent the last couple of weeks starting games in minor-league camp. Slowey, 30, has major-league starting experience but has yet to be stretched out as a starter. Slowey allowed six runs on six hits in two innings Monday.

"When they tell me to throw, I throw," Slowey said. "For me, trying to focus on an outside decision that somebody else is going to make isn't particularly functional for me."