Jorge Alfaro hit a grand slam and the Phillies picked up their first Grapefruit League victory with a 9-6 win over Baltimore.
Here’s a look at the game:
Zach Eflin, in the mix to break camp as the fifth starter, was pulled after 1 2/3 innings because of a pitch count. He threw 38 pitches, 24 of which were strikes. Eflin allowed two, hits struck out two and walked one. He was charged with an earned run, but it scored on a single allowed by Tyler Viza.
Eflin said earlier this week that he finally felt fully healthy and at full strength following the pair of knee surgeries he underwent at the end of 2016 season. So it was a good sign that his fastball zipped between 93 and 95 mph. He picked up his second strikeout by fooling Chris Davis, who looked at his curveball to end the first inning.
“Last season, it was more of I couldn’t put as much pressure and support on my legs as I used to in the past. I shaved off 20 pounds and was kind of pitching on sticks,” Eflin said. “I think my arm kind of compensated for that and took on more pressure than it should. Now that I have some legs back, they’re not fully there, but once they’re fully there, it will be amazing. I’m just really excited and I’m putting a lot more pressure on my legs and I’m using my legs to where I don’t even feel my arm when I throw. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like that in my life. I’m really, really excited right now.”
1. Jorge Alfaro already has a spot on the opening-day roster but it was still a good sign to see him hit a grand slam in second inning. It was his first hit of spring and it came on a 3-0 pitch. Alfaro has the power to develop into a middle-of-the-lineup hitter, but the majority of his focus this spring will be on his work behind the plate.
2. Will Middlebrooks was carted off the field after suffering a serious left ankle injury when he collided in shallow left field with Andrew Pullin. The 29-year-old Middlebrooks, who has played parts of six major-league seasons, is in camp on a minor-league deal and competing for a spot on the bench as a utility infielder.
3. Carlos Santana and Rhys Hoskins saw their first game action of spring. Santana went 0 for 3 and Hoskins went 0 for 2 with a walk and a run scored. Gabe Kapler batted them 1-2 in the lineup and spring training batting orders carry little weight, but it will be interesting to see if Kapler lines them up at 2-3 in the regular season.
Aaron Nola makes his first start of spring training on Sunday as the Phillies host the Yankees at Spectrum Field. The game starts at 1:05 p.m. and will be telecast by NBC Sports Philadelphia. WIP-FM will handle radio coverage.