PST: Kyle Kendrick is ready for spring training

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PST: Kyle Kendrick is ready for spring training

In two weeks we will hear plenty of mitts-a-poppin’ when the reports come back from the Phillies’ camp in Clearwater, Fla. And taking a prominent role with the Phils’ starting rotation when spring training begins will be right-hander Kyle Kendrick.

Kendrick signed a $7.6 million deal this month to avoid arbitration with the Phillies and will be one of the team’s leaders and mentors for the young pitchers looking to make a contribution.

“I’m ready for it,” Kendrick said during an appearance on Philly Sports Talk on Thursday. “[Right-handed pitcher Jonathan] Pettibone is a good guy [and] I’ve been trying to help him out a little bit. I’m just trying to help guys out as much as I can — just trying to pass along the things I learned from Jamie (Moyer) and Roy (Halladay) and all the guys I’ve played with. It’s fun. If I can help guys out, it’s great.”

Mostly, the advice will be about what it takes to be a big leaguer. After all, says Kendrick, the Phillies’ young pitchers are a little more developed than the veteran was when he was called up from Double-A Reading in 2007.

“They’re better than me,” Kendrick said. “I had one pitch.”

Kendrick picked up a few more since then and has been working on curveball with new pitching coach Bob McClure. A few seasons ago, Kendrick worked on a changeup with former pitching coach Rich Dubee, which was an excellent complement to his “one pitch,” the sinker.

Still, it’s the one pitcher who will be in camp in a different role that will most intrigue Kendrick. In fact, Kendrick can’t wait to work with new spring-training instructor, Roy Halladay.

“I’m looking forward to working with him,” Kendrick said. “I’ve been texting and talking to him and I’m excited he’s going to be there.”

When Halladay joined the Phillies for the 2010 season, Kendrick was his shadow, looking for any morsel of information from the ace to make him a better pitcher. But in December when Halladay announced he was retiring, Kendrick knew it was the right move.

“Physically, I don’t think he could do much more. Mentally, he still wants to pitch,” Kendrick said. “Physically, he was hurting and I know he wants to be to walk in 10 years. He made the right decision. He just texted me a little while ago, he’s coaching his kid in basketball so he’s staying busy.”

Like Halladay, Kendrick dealt with injuries in 2013 as well. Though he had a career-high 182 innings in 30 starts, Kendrick was shut down with shoulder pain in September.

But with spring training ready to open, Kendrick is OK.

“When I got the MRI in the middle of September we made a good decision — myself and the organization — to shut it down for the last two weeks," he said. "I feel great now and I’ve been doing all my rehab and my shoulder stuff. I have a bullpen tomorrow and I’ve been throwing down in Florida and I feel good.”

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.

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin: Adam Morgan is a definite bullpen candidate

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin: Adam Morgan is a definite bullpen candidate

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Just pitch.
 
Don’t worry about the role.
 
Just pitch.
 
That’s Adam Morgan’s mindset this spring.
 
“I’m just trying to show whoever needs to see it that I can be an asset to this team,” the left-hander said after his spring debut against the New York Yankees on Saturday (see story). “I’m just keeping it simple that way. I’m not trying to go out for that fifth (starting) spot. If the fifth spot opens up, I’d be more than willing to do that. If they want to put me in the bullpen, I’d be more than willing to do that. If they want me to be the backup catcher, I’ll be the backup catcher.”
 
The Phillies have plenty of candidates for backup catcher.
 
And the top five spots in their starting rotation, barring an unforeseen development, are accounted for.
 
But there is a way for Morgan to make this team.
 
“He’s definitely a bullpen candidate,” manager Pete Mackanin said.
 
Mackanin is on record as saying he’d like to have two lefties in what likely will be a seven-man bullpen. It might not work out that way, but that would be Mackanin’s preference.
 
Morgan is one of what appears to be four candidates along with Joely Rodriguez, Cesar Ramos and Sean Burnett. Ramos and Burnett are experienced major-league veterans in camp on minor-league contracts. Rodriguez is the only pure lefty reliever on the 40-man roster. Morgan, of course, is on the 40-man roster, but he’s mainly been a starter in his career.

There’s a long way to go in spring training and it would not be surprising to see general manager Matt Klentak add to the list of lefty relief candidates with some type of pickup before the end of camp.
 
But for now, it’s just these four.
 
Morgan, who turns 27 on Monday, started and pitched two scoreless innings against the Yankees on Saturday and will likely continue to have his innings stretched out throughout the Grapefruit League season, just in case he’s needed as a starter.

Ramos and Rodriguez both pitched an inning Saturday. Ramos allowed a hit and a run. Rodriguez had a clean inning. Burnett was tagged for two hits and two runs on Friday.
 
Morgan made 21 starts for the Phillies last season. He also made two relief appearances and finished the season with a 6.04 ERA. He was sent to Triple A in July and returned in mid-August. He made nine starts after returning and pitched at least six innings and gave up two or fewer earned runs in four of them.
 
During his time in Triple A, Morgan started throwing a two-seam fastball or sinker. He’s continued to throw it this spring and believes it will help him.
 
“I learned to trust the two-seamer last year and that’s what I hope to keep moving forward with,” he said.
 
Will it take him to the Phillies’ bullpen?
 
He hopes so. He got a taste of relieving last season and liked it.
 
“Oh, yeah, I loved it,” he said. “Every time the phone rang down there, I was on high alert. It was awesome. It’s a rush.
 
“But wherever I land, I land. I’d be willing to play anywhere on this team.”