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.”

Jeremy Hellickson leaves final start of season with right knee sprain

Jeremy Hellickson leaves final start of season with right knee sprain

Updated: 9:15 p.m.

ATLANTA — Phillies pitcher Jeremy Hellickson left his final start of the season Thursday night with a right knee sprain.

Facing the Atlanta Braves, Hellickson had gotten one out in the fourth inning when he waved for athletic trainer Scott Sheridan to come to the mound. Hellickson left the field with Sheridan by his side.

Hellickson did not allow a run in 3 1/3 innings. He gave up just one hit, walked none and struck out four.

Hellickson finished the season 12-10 with a 3.71 ERA in 32 starts. The Phillies acquired the 29-year-old right-hander in a trade with Arizona last fall. 

Hellickson will become a free agent after the World Series. The Phillies could extend him a one-year salary offer of $17 million. If Hellickson accepts, he would return to the club in 2017. If he rejects the offer and seeks a multi-year deal elsewhere, the Phillies would get a compensatory pick between the first and second rounds of next year's draft. 

Tonight's lineup: Tommy Joseph's last start of the year?

Tonight's lineup: Tommy Joseph's last start of the year?

Tommy Joseph, who has been missing from the lineup lately, starts at first base and bats fourth tonight.

Joseph will most likely be making his final start of the season with Ryan Howard expected to start the final games of the season. Joseph is batting just .235 against the Braves this season, but does have two home runs. The rookie first baseman has 21 home runs and 15 doubles in 104 games during his first season in the majors. 

Howard will be playing what are almost definitely his final games in a Phillies uniform this weekend vs. the Mets.

Maikel Franco bats fifth and plays third base. Franco, who has been hot lately, has three home runs and is batting .320 over his last 25 at-bats. He will look to continue his success against the Braves, as five of his 25 home runs this season have come against them.

Cameron Rupp gets a day off behind the plate and will be replaced by veteran catcher A.J. Ellis. Ellis has exceeded expectations in a short sample since coming over in the Carlos Ruiz trade last month. Ellis is 8 for 28 with a home run and nine RBIs in 10 games with the Phils. He's batting .285, which is astronomically better than his paltry .194 mark with the Dodgers. 

Part of the reason for Ellis' start could be his history against Braves starter Josh Collmenter. He is 4 for 11 with two home runs and four walks against the former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher.

Here is tonight's lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Maikel Franco, 3B
6. Cody Asche, LF
7. A.J. Ellis, C
8. Aaron Altherr, RF
9. Jeremy Hellickson, P

And for the Braves:

1. Mallex Smith, CF
2. Dansby Swanson, SS
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Matt Kemp, LF
5. Nick Markakis, RF
6. Anthony Recker, C
7. Jace Peterson, 2B
8. Rio Ruiz, 3B
9. Josh Collmenter, P