Yankees 9, Phillies 4: Cameron Perkins comes out swinging

Yankees 9, Phillies 4: Cameron Perkins comes out swinging

BOX SCORE

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Phillies’ bats were slow getting started in the Grapefruit League opener Friday afternoon. The Phils did not have a baserunner through the first six innings in a 9-4 loss to the New York Yankees at Steinbrenner Field.

“First game, I’m just happy we got at-bats because the pitching is always ahead of the hitting this early,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said afterward.

Outfielder Cameron Perkins had the Phillies’ first hit, a single up the middle in the seventh inning. He added a solo homer in the ninth inning.

Perkins, 26, was the Phillies’ sixth-round pick in the 2012 draft out of Purdue University. He graduated from Southport High School in Indianapolis, the same school that produced Phillies great and Hall of Famer Chuck Klein.

A right-hander hitter who eschews batting gloves, Perkins hit .292 with eight homers and 47 RBIs at Triple A Lehigh Valley last season. He is not on the 40-man roster but was invited to camp for a look-see. He is considered a longshot to win a spot on the Phillies’ bench, but will certainly improve his chances if he keeps swinging it like he did Friday.

“I don’t think about it,” Perkins said of his bid to make the club. “All I can do is what I did today -- get my opportunity and make the most of it.”

Brock Stassi, another candidate for a job on the Phillies’ bench, also homered.

On the pitching side
Right-hander Alec Asher, who projects to open in the Triple A rotation, started for the Phils. He pitched two innings, allowed a home run to Didi Gregorius and struck out two.

Asher made big strides with his sinker last season. He’s added a cutter now.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta debuted with two scoreless innings. He gave up a hit, walked one and struck out three. The Phillies acquired Pivetta from Washington from Jonathan Papelbon in July 2015. He projects to open in the Triple A rotation, but first will pitch for Team Canada in the WBC in March.

“It’s a lifelong dream for me, right up there with whenever it is that I get my first start with the Phillies,” Pivetta said.

The bullpen
Mackanin has said he’d like to have two left-handed relievers in his bullpen. The Phillies have just one -- Joely Rodriguez -- on their 40-man roster, although it’s possible that Adam Morgan could be shifted from starter to reliever later in camp.

The Phils have brought two veteran lefties -- Sean Burnett and Cesar Ramos -- into camp on minor-league deals to compete for a job. Burnett made his debut Friday and gave up a triple, a sacrifice fly and a home run in his inning of work.

Luis Garcia was tagged for four hits and three runs in his spring debut.

Up next
The Phillies host the Yankees in Clearwater on Saturday afternoon. Morgan will start for the Phils against right-hander Adam Warren.

Instant Replay: Diamondbacks 6, Phillies 1

Instant Replay: Diamondbacks 6, Phillies 1

BOX SCORE

PHOENIX -- The Phillies suffered one of their more unsightly losses of the season on Monday afternoon as they absorbed a 6-1 beating at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Rookie right-hander Nick Pivetta did not make it out of the third inning.

The Phillies won the first game of the series, 6-1, then lost the next three, scoring just four runs in the process. They went 1-6 against the Diamondbacks in the season series.

The Phils have the worst record in the majors at 24-51. They are 10-31 on the road. They are on pace for 110 losses.

Arizona is 49-28.

Starting pitching report
Pivetta (1-4) was rocked for six runs in 2 2/3 innings in his ninth big-league start. He had trouble throwing strikes — five walks — and when he threw strikes, they were often hit — seven hits.

Control has been an issue for Pivetta in the big leagues. He walked 16 in his first six starts then just three in his next two, which were both quality starts. He threw 84 pitches in his short stay Monday.

Arizona's Zack Greinke (9-4) was not particularly sharp, lasting just five innings, throwing 102 pitches and walking three, but he managed to hold the Phillies to three hits and one run while striking out five.

Bullpen report
Adam Morgan picked up Pivetta and pitched scoreless ball for 3 1/3 innings. He allowed one hit, one walk and struck out five.

Arizona's bullpen picked up four shutout innings.

At the plate
The Phils actually had some chances to get in this game, but they left two men on base in the first and sixth innings and the bases loaded in the fifth. They were just 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position.

All five of the Phillies' hits were singles.

Chris Herrmann hit a leadoff homer against Pivetta on a 95-mph fastball. Arizona scored two in the second and blew it open with three in the third, two on a single by Daniel Descalso.

Transaction
The Phillies sent struggling reliever Edubray Ramos to Triple A and recalled reliever Ricardo Pinto.

Health check
Howie Kendrick can hit, but defense is a problem. He could end up on the disabled list. Also, Jared Eickhoff will miss one more start. Updates here (see story).

Up next
The Phillies play a quick, two-game interleague series in Seattle on Tuesday and Wednesday. Here are the pitching matchups:

Tuesday night — RHP Aaron Nola (4-5, 4.32) vs. LHP James Paxton (5-2, 3.39)

Wednesday afternoon — RHP Mark Leiter Jr. (1-0, 3.60) vs. Felix Hernandez (3-2, 4.68).

Phillies Injury Update: DL possible for Kendrick; Eickhoff to miss another start

Phillies Injury Update: DL possible for Kendrick; Eickhoff to miss another start

PHOENIX — Howie Kendrick was not in the Phillies' starting lineup for a fifth straight day on Monday because of a hamstring problem that, as the player said, "hasn't gotten any better, but it hasn't gotten any worse either."

Kendrick can pinch-hit — he, in fact, had hits in the role on Friday and Sunday — but playing defense is another matter.

"I kind of stinks because I can function, I can still hit, but as far as getting up to full speed and exploding the way I'd like to, it's still restricting me," he said.

Kendrick's ability to hit — not to mention his .361 batting average in 122 at-bats — makes him a prime candidate to serve as the designated hitter when the Phillies open a two-game interleague series Tuesday night in Seattle. But as far as playing second base when the Phillies return to National League action Friday night in New York …

That's the issue.

"The trouble with defense you’re exploding with every play, especially up the middle," Kendrick said. "I just don’t feel as comfortable exploding off it every time. As far as hitting and pinch-hitting goes you can govern that a little more when you run. You can control the rate of speed, but as far as defense you have to react to the ball."

Kendrick could end up on the disabled list if he's not ready to play defense by Friday night.

"That’s something we talked about, but I don’t know what’s going to happen yet," he said. "We’ll see."

Kendrick missed six weeks earlier this season with an abdominal injury.

In other health matters, pitcher Jerad Eickhoff will remain on the disabled list and Mark Leiter Jr. will make a second start on Wednesday in Seattle. Leiter filled in for Eickhoff on Friday night and pitched six shutout innings in his first big-league start.

Eickhoff believes he has completely recovered from an upper-back strain.

"I think they just want to err on the side of caution," he said. "I feel like I could throw Wednesday, but in all honestly, maybe that would be too quick. We'd rather be safe than sorry and finish the season strong and not risk a setback. So if we can knock this thing out with three or four more days, that's the way to go."

Eickhoff has felt good in bullpen workouts but has not reached game intensity. It's possible he could make a minor-league rehab start later this week before returning to the rotation next week.