Opening-day harbinger? Phillies set spring rotation

Opening-day harbinger? Phillies set spring rotation
February 20, 2013, 9:45 am

CLEARWATER, Fla. – In a strong indication that Cole Hamels will be the Phillies’ opening-day starter April 1 in Atlanta, the lefthander has been named starting pitcher for Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener against Houston at Bright House Field.
 
Roy Halladay will start the second game of the spring against Detroit on Sunday in Lakeland. He will oppose another former Cy Young winner in Justin Verlander. Cliff Lee will start the third game Monday against the Tigers in Clearwater. Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan will start on Tuesday and Wednesday.
 
Manager Charlie Manuel has not yet named an opening-day starter, but the general consensus around Phillies camp is that Hamels’ time has come. The 29-year-old lefty led the club with 17 wins last season and became the highest-paid athlete in Philadelphia sports history when he signed a six-year, $144 million contract in July.
 
On Tuesday, Jimmy Rollins, the longest-tenured pro athlete in Philadelphia, endorsed Hamels for the opening-day start.
 
“Because he’s good,” Rollins said.
 
Hamels has never made an opening-day start. He was in line for the assignment in 2009, but was slowed by a sore elbow in spring training.
 
Pitching coach Rich Dubee said there was no significance to the spring pitching alignment, that he merely wanted to split lefties Hamels and Lee. Dubee wants to do that in the regular season, as well. It remains to be seen if Halladay or righthander Kendrick will slot in between the two lefties in April. Using Kendrick in the second game of the season in Atlanta would make some sense as he is 7-1/2.86 lifetime against the Braves and Halladay had an 11.21 ERA against Atlanta in four starts last season. Dubee indicated on Tuesday that Halladay would go in Atlanta.
 
“We’ll probably run our first three out in Atlanta,” Dubee said, referring to Hamels, Halladay and Lee.
 
The Phillies will play a five-inning intrasquad game Friday at noon at Bright House Field. It is open the public. The Phils will use a number of pitching prospects in that game, including lefty Adam Morgan and righthanders Ethan Martin and Jonathan Pettibone. Cesar Jimenez, Mauricio Robles, Kyle Simon and Justin Friend will also pitch.
 
Here’s a look at the Phillies’ pitching plans for the first five games of the spring:
 
SATURDAY vs. Houston
Cole Hamels
B.J. Rosenberg
Zach Miner
Jeremy Horst
Mike Schwimer
Justin De Fratus
 
SUNDAY at Detroit
Roy Halladay
Rodrigo Lopez
Antonio Bastardo
J.C. Ramirez
Jake Diekman
Joe Savery
 
MONDAY vs. Detroit
Cliff Lee
Tyler Cloyd
Mike Stutes
Phillippe Aumont
Jonathan Papelbon
Raul Valdes
 
TUESDAY vs. New York Yankees
Kyle Kendrick
Aaron Cook
Chad Durbin
Zach Miner
Jeremy Horst
 
WEDNESDAY at Minnesota
John Lannan
Adam Morgan
Antonio Bastardo
B.J. Rosenberg
Mike Schwimer
Justin De Fratus

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