Phillies use team effort to down Diamondbacks

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Phillies use team effort to down Diamondbacks

BOX SCORE

On the final night of being the only game in town for a good long while, the Phillies got a solid start from Kyle Kendrick, clutch relief work from Justin De Fratus and a whole bunch of offense from a whole bunch of guys.

The result was a 9-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citizens Bank Park Friday night (see Instant Replay).

On Saturday, the Eagles open training camp across the street and that’s where the region’s sporting attention will turn, save for a few glances at the Ryan Howard soap opera and what will happen at next week’s trade deadline.

Speaking of Howard, it looks like his three-game benching will come to an end Saturday night against Arizona right-hander Josh Collmenter.

“We have a right-handed pitcher throwing,” manager Ryne Sandberg said. “I’ll make the lineup up. We’ll go forward. But I want him -- with a little bit of rest and some tweaking of his mechanics like he’s done the last couple of days -- to have a big game for us.”

Several Phillies hitters had big games Friday night.

Jimmy Rollins went 0 for 5, but still had a big (money) night. His second plate appearance of the game was his 1,100th since the start of 2013 and that guaranteed his 2015 contract for $11 million.

Darin Ruf, getting his third straight look at first base in place of the struggling/platooning Howard, had a double, a sacrifice fly, a walk and scored a run.

Domonic Brown swung the bat well. He drove in three runs with a groundout and a two-run homer in the seventh. The longball into the right-field seats made it a four-run game after the Diamondbacks had pulled to within two runs in the sixth inning.

Grady Sizemore batted leadoff for the Phillies and played center field. He had a single, two doubles, scored two runs and stole third base.

Sizemore is making the most of his tryout in Philadelphia -- and that’s exactly what it is as team decision makers try to determine if he can be a fit on this team next year after missing the previous two seasons with a myriad of injuries. In 11 games with the Phils, Sizemore is 14 for 41 (.341) with four doubles.

“Everybody here has been very welcoming,” Sizemore said. “The more I play, the stronger I get. I just want to be in the lineup.”

Sizemore’s first-inning single was the 1,000th hit of his career and the Philadelphia fans gave him a nice ovation when it was announced on the video board.

“It’s exciting,” Sizemore said. “Hopefully there’s a lot more.”

Kendrick opened the game with five shutout innings, but allowed a double, a walk and a two-out single in the sixth. All three of those runners scored when reliever Antonio Bastardo gave up a grand slam to pinch-hitter Alfredo Marte.

Bastardo continued to struggle in the seventh when he allowed a pair of singles to open the inning. The left-hander’s tough outing (he retired just one of the four batters he faced) came with scouts from Toronto and Detroit behind the backstop. Both teams are looking for relief help and have been gathering intelligence on Bastardo.

Bastardo left with two men on base and the Phillies up by two runs. In came De Fratus. He struck out Aaron Hill for the first out then walked dangerous Paul Goldschmidt (.312/18/66) in a long, 12-pitch showdown to load the bases before striking out Miguel Montero and Mark Trumbo to end the threat.

“I wasn’t going to let Paul Goldschmidt beat us -- or beat me -- tonight,” De Fratus said.

De Fratus struck out Trumbo on the eighth pitch, a 93 mph fastball. He left the mound pumping his fist.

“That was a game-saving moment right there,” Sandberg said. “He had three strikeouts in the inning, but the big one was with the bases loaded. He showed the emotion and it was right for the moment. It was a big out.”

De Fratus earned the right to be fired up.

“Giving the team a chance to win and keeping the lead,” he said. “That’s really what I was excited about.”

The Phillies had 12 hits in the game and were 6 for 15 with runners in scoring position.

“A good win all the way around,” Sandberg said.

Phillies 10, Blue Jays 3: Jeremy Hellickson limbers up, offense continues to hit

Phillies 10, Blue Jays 3: Jeremy Hellickson limbers up, offense continues to hit

DUNEDIN, Fla. — Jeremy Hellickson did not shine in his spring debut Sunday, but he didn’t have to.

Hellickson projects to be the Phillies' opening day starter for the second straight year, but with five weeks to go before it all starts for real in Cincinnati, he has plenty of time to put a coat of polish on his game.

The right-hander knocked off some wintertime rust with two innings of work against the Toronto Blue Jays. He gave up four hits and two runs, walked one and did not strike out a batter.

"I felt great," Hellickson said. "I wasn't really commanding the fastball like I wanted, but my arm and my body felt good."

Hellickson went 12-10 with a 3.71 ERA in 32 starts for the Phillies last season and could have opted for free agency in the offseason. However, he surveyed the marketplace and determined he'd be better off taking the Phillies' qualifying offer of $17.2 million for 2017 and trying his luck on the free-agent market next season.

So he's betting on himself.

"That's kind of how I'm looking at it," he said. "It was easy to do that just with the way I felt last year. I think I can definitely repeat or exceed what I did last year."

The Phillies can't give Hellickson another qualifying offer after this season so it's quite possible they will look to deal him in July. But that won't necessarily be easy. The Phils had talks with a number of teams about Hellickson last July and were unable to consummate a deal. It will be tougher this July as Hellickson’s salary has jumped by $10 million. The Phillies may have to eat some of that salary to get a deal they like.

Hellickson was asked if he was ready for another summer of trade rumors.

"No," he said with a wry smile. "But I know it's coming."

He's holding out hope that the Phillies will play their way into contention and the front office keeps the rotation together. He believes it's possible.

"I think we have a really good team here," he said. "Hopefully we're the ones trading for guys at the deadline.

"I've been reading some stuff saying (Aaron) Nola is a No. 5 guy. If Nola's your No. 5 guy, you have a pretty good rotation. I definitely think one through five we can give six, seven, eight strong innings every time out. Then with the guys, we signed for the back of our bullpen, it'll make our jobs that much easier. The days we don't have it, I feel like we can hand it off to those guys after five or six. We're in pretty good shape."

The game
The Phillies beat the Jays, 10-3, on the strength of 13 hits and three Toronto errors. The Phils had eight hits in Saturday’s win over the Yankees.

Cam Perkins, Pedro Florimon and Daniel Nava all had two hits. Rhys Hoskins and Ryan Hanigan both walked twice. Andres Blanco homered. Brock Stassi doubled. Nick Williams had a hit, two RBIs and a walk. Power-hitting rightfielder Dylan Cozens stole two bases.

Cozens is a legitimate stolen-base threat. In addition to belting 40 homers at Double A Reading last season, he swiped 21 bags and was only caught once.

"You've got to like his tools," manager Pete Mackanin said. "He's really an athletic guy. He's got good hands at the plate. I think he's going to hit because he doesn't have a lot of excess body movement. He hits a lot with his hands and I think in time he'll cut down on the strikeouts and he'll be an even better player. He looks like a solid defender, good hitting ability, a lot of power and some speed."

On the mound
Ben Lively and Alberto Tirado both pitched two scoreless innings and Pat Neshek and Michael Mariot had one each.

Up next
Jerad Eikchoff makes his spring debut when the Phillies host the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday afternoon.

Clay Buchholz will get the start Tuesday against Baltimore.

Phillies prospect Nick Pivetta has long-awaited meeting with Roy Halladay

Phillies prospect Nick Pivetta has long-awaited meeting with Roy Halladay

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies pitching prospect Nick Pivetta had one of those pinch-me moments Saturday.

He met his boyhood idol, Roy Halladay, at a charity event.

Someone had filled in Halladay that Pivetta had grown up in Canada and had regularly watched Toronto Blue Jays games on television. Pivetta loved watching Halladay pitch, as he talked about a few weeks ago here.

"I got to briefly shake his hand," Pivetta said Sunday morning. "He knew I was like a stalker. He said, 'Oh, right, you're the guy from British Columbia.'"

Halladay, who pitched for the Phils from 2010 to 2013, lives in the Clearwater area. Pivetta said he expected to speak more with Halladay in the coming days.

Halladay was honored at the 44th annual Clearwater For Youth banquet and Pivetta attended with a number of his teammates and Phillies officials. Phillies chairman David Montgomery and his wife Lyn were also honored for their charitable works.

Pivetta will pitch for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic in March.