Blue Jays 13, Phillies 4: Aumont steps up, Lannan shelled

Blue Jays 13, Phillies 4: Aumont steps up, Lannan shelled

March 25, 2013, 6:00 pm
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DUNEDIN, Fla. – The days are dwindling in spring training and so are the Phillies’ job openings.

Sunday’s release of Yuniesky Betancourt essentially firmed up utility infield positions for Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis.

Rule 5 pick Ender Inciarte could end up being the club’s fifth outfielder unless something more attractive becomes available in another camp. (Phillies officials are on the lookout for outfield help.)

The backup catcher’s job is a down-to-the-wire race between Steven Lerud and Humberto Quintero.

Before getting on the team’s charter flight for Philadelphia early Thursday evening, club officials are likely to decide the makeup of their opening day bullpen. Rosters are due to the commissioner’s office Sunday afternoon.

Four relievers came into camp as locks: Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams, Antonio Bastardo and Chad Durbin.

Two other relievers appear to have sewn up jobs with a combination of their work last season and in this camp: Jeremy Horst and Raul Valdes.

That leaves Phillippe Aumont and Mike Stutes vying for the final spot in the bullpen.

The days before roster decisions can be stressful for a player, but Aumont isn’t feeling any anxiety. He showed that with his performance against the Blue Jays on Monday afternoon: Three up, three down.

“Obviously it’s something you think about,” Aumont said of the joust for a big-league job. “I could get called into the office at any time. It would be disappointing, but I’m not going to sit on the edge and worry. They’re giving me the opportunity right now and I have to prove I can do it. I don’t want to be sent down. I want to be part of the special team we’re going to have this year. If they think I fit, great. If they want me to go down and work on stuff and come later, that’s out of my control.”

Aumont has allowed three hits and two runs in 6 1/3 innings. He has walked three and struck out five.

Stutes, who had extensive experience with the Phils in 2011, has given up nine runs and eight walks in 10 innings. He missed most of last season recovering from a shoulder injury that required surgery. He is scheduled to pitch an inning against the Rays on Tuesday. Ultimately, Phillies officials could decide he needs to go to Triple A and get more innings with an eye toward helping later in the season.

The bullpen was an Achilles heel for the Phillies lastseason, but manager Charlie Manuel thinks it will be improved this season. He believes that Aumont could be important if the power-armed righty can control his hard sinker and breaking ball. Adams and Papelbon will pitch the eighth and ninth innings, respectively. Durbin could be used for an important out against a right-handed hitter anywhere from the middle innings on. Manuel hinted that Aumont could team with Bastardo in the seventh inning. Both pitchers need to throw strikes for that to happen.

First things first, though. Aumont must make the team. That decision is nearing.

Homers galore
Phillies pitchers have allowed 43 home runs, the most by any big-league team this spring. That doesn’t include the three that Kyle Kendrick surrendered in a Triple A game against the Yankees on Monday.

John Lannan allowed two homers (both to J.P. Arencibia) in the varsity game in Dunedin. The Phillies lost that game, 13-4, as Lannan waspounded for 14 hits and 12 runs by a rugged Blue Jays lineup.

In fairness to Lannan, the wind was howling to dead center in Dunedin. He had trouble getting the ball down. Wind and elevated pitches are a bad mix.

“They took advantage and I got my butt kicked,” Lannan said. “You move on.”

Kendrick pitched six innings and allowed five runs.

Lineup matters
Charlie Manuel continues to experiment with Jimmy Rollins and Ben Revere at the top of his lineup. Some days Revere leads off and Rollins hits second. On Monday, Rollins led off in front of Revere as the Jays sent righthander Josh Johnson to the mound.

Manuel will not reveal how he will go on opening day. He has always been partial to Rollins in the leadoff hole, but says there will be times when he uses Revere in the top spot. It’s possible he could do that against Atlanta in the season-opening series. Atlanta is strong in lefty relief and Rollins in the two-hole would break up lefty hitters Revere, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. We’ll see.

In late April, the Phils will add Carlos Ruiz and Delmon Young to the lineup. Manuel could then look to use Revere in the No. 8 hole as he tries to lengthen his lineup and get some speed toward the bottom.

“We have a lot of possibilities,” he said.

Revere will start in centerfield. Domonic Brown has won one of the corner jobs. He can play rightfield and leftfield. He could open in right and move to left when Young is ready in late April.

The other corner spot is a toss up between John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix. To start, it could be a platoon.

“I’m looking for people who can get hot,” Manuel said.

Up next
Valdes, Horst, Stutes, Bastardo and Papelbon are scheduled to pitch against the Rays in Clearwater on Tuesday.