Phillies send pitcher Rodrigo Lopez to minors

Phillies send pitcher Rodrigo Lopez to minors

March 19, 2013, 9:45 am
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Spring Training TV Schedule

Mar. 22, Braves at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN
Mar. 26 Rays at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN
Mar. 28 Blue Jays at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN
Mar. 29 Blue Jays at Phillies, 7 p.m., TCN

CLEARWATER, Fla. – The day after being torched for eight hits and seven earned runs in two innings, pitcher Rodrigo Lopez was sent to minor-league camp as the Phillies reduced their field of pitchers to 16.
 
The move was not surprising, even in light of Lopez’ difficult outing against the Braves on Monday. The 37-year-old righthander, a veteran of 215 big-league starts, including five with the Phillies in 2009, was signed this winter as insurance for the big-league pitching staff. He is expected to hold down a spot in the Triple A rotation.
 
Lopez can opt out of his minor-league contract on June 1 if another team wants to give him a big-league opportunity.
 
Less than two weeks before opening day, Phillies officials still have a number of pitching decisions to make.
 
The starting rotation is set with Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan. Of course, that could change if the Phillies decide that Halladay is not ready for the first week of the season. Halladay has been bothered by a stomach bug and delivery issues. If he opens the season on the disabled list, Aaron Cook could come into play as the fifth starter. Right now, however, the plan is to have Halladay ready for the first week of the season. He could have as many as three more starts during the exhibition season.
 
The Phils will likely open with a seven-man bullpen. Four jobs are locked up: Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams, Antonio Bastardo and Chad Durbin. Righthanders Phillippe Aumont, Mike Stutes and Zach Miner and lefthanders Jeremy Horst and Raul Valdes are in the running for the final three spots. Cook could also be in the running for a bullpen job. Horst, based on his success last year, appears to have a leg up on the competition for a spot. Valdes' ability to pitch multiple innings and throw strikes is also attractive to team officials. He is scheduled to work an inning against the Yankees on Tuesday. Kyle Kendrick will start the 1 p.m. Game.