CLEARWATER, Fla. — Maikel Franco homered and Aaron Nola pitched two innings Sunday as the Phillies opened the first of four games this spring against the New York Yankees with an 8-3 loss.
Here’s a look at the game:
Aaron Nola: 2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 31 pitches, 23 strikes
It was Nola’s first start of spring and he focused his short outing on making sure his mechanics were in tune. His day would have been scoreless had Maikel Franco not lost an infield pop-up in the sun. Nola struck out the next batter before Danny Espinosa hit a three-run double when Nola hung a change-up.
“My biggest goal always is to stay healthy,” Nola said. “Besides my back injury last year, I stayed healthy for the most part. It was good to finish the season on a good note. I want to pitch through the whole season this year and not miss a start. That’s my biggest goal.”
- Maikel Franco was wearing sunglasses when he lost the pop-up and said there was nothing he could do about it. He made up for it with a two-run homer in the fifth. It was his first homer of spring and a good start for what is an crucial season. He said he’s working with new hitting coach John Mallee on how he positions his front foot.
- Scott Kingery entered the game at shortstop in the fifth inning for his first action beside second base. He will also spend some time at third base and possibly play center field. Kingery will start the season as the triple-A second baseman but could be playing a different position when he arrives to the majors sometime early this season.
- Hector Neris logged a scoreless inning in his spring debut. He will enter the season as the team’s closer, but the Phillies have hinted this off-season that their relievers will not have strictly defined roles. Maybe you’ll see Neris use his splitter to record a key out in the seventh if that’s the highest leverage situation of the game. It will be interesting to see.Next up: The Phillies travel to Tampa on Monday night to play the Yankees at 6:35. Ben Lively will start for the Phillies and the Yankees will be joined in camp by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, whose rights they acquired via a trade earlier this month with Texas. Wilson has no plans to quit football but will spend a week with the Yankees.