No problems for Lee in Grapefruit League debut

Lefty tosses two scoreless innings in first game action since July

No problems for Lee in Grapefruit League debut

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Phillies starter Cliff Lee worked two scoreless innings and gave up two hits with no walks or strikeouts in a 6-3 loss to the Astros. It marked his first game action since July 31 after he went on the disabled list with a left elbow strain and missed the rest of the regular season.

Because he was battling for a spot on the roster a year ago, Astros right-hander Collin McHugh didn't even get a chance to start a game in the spring. He didn't make the club, but he was called up by the end of April and wound up making 25 starts and becoming a great story.

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Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

'Normal' is watchword in Lee's first game back

Phillies lefty said elbow is in good shape after two-inning outing

'Normal' is watchword in Lee's first game back

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The important number wasn't the 22 pitches, or the 16 strikes. The important number wasn't a fastball that sat in the high 80s or the zero runs allowed on two hits with no walks or strikeouts. The important number wasn't even the 17 scouts who sat behind home plate, carefully watching his two innings.

The most important result for veteran Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee after his start in Thursday's 6-3 Grapefruit League loss to the Astros at Osceola County Stadium wasn't even a number at all. It was this: "It feels normal," the 36-year-old said.

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Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gillick: Healthy, stable Phillies can reach .500

Team president's optimism comes with contingency that team stays together

Gillick: Healthy, stable Phillies can reach .500

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Phillies president Pat Gillick said on a Philadelphia sports talk radio show Thursday morning that he thinks that with good health, the rebuilding team could realistically have a winning record this season.

"I think we're going to win in the [80-game range]," Gillick told 94WIP.

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Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies looking for bounce-back year from Brown

Phillies looking for bounce-back year from Brown

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- During their organizational meetings last fall, one of the strongest supporters of outfielder Domonic Brown was Pat Gillick.

"One thing about Domonic is he did hit 20-some home runs one year. He has done it," the club president said before Thursday's 6-3 Grapefruit League loss to the Astros at Osceola County Stadium. "I don't know if he's going to do it again, but he's one guy who has shown offensively that he's capable of it.

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Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Righties Gonzalez, Aumont have work to do

Phillies pitchers combine to allow four runs Thursday vs. Astros

Righties Gonzalez, Aumont have work to do

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Reliever Phillippe Aumont is out of options. Starter Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is in the second year of a three-year contract. The two right-handers are considered to have significant upsides, but neither has yet demonstrated the consistency they need to help the Phillies win at the big league level.

Both pitchers worked in Thursday's 6-3 Grapefruit League loss to the Astros at Osceola County Stadium. Gonzalez allowed two runs on four hits while pitching the third and fourth innings. Aumont gave up back-to-back home runs to Robbie Grossman and Marwin Gonzalez in the fifth.

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Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Trending upward: Slowey makes strong first impression

Righty yields just one hit over two scoreless frames in Phillies debut

Trending upward: Slowey makes strong first impression

TAMPA, Fla. -- Phillies right-hander Kevin Slowey made a pretty routine start Wednesday afternoon against the Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Slowey spent two innings working on his fastball command in Philadelphia's second Grapefruit League game of the spring. No big deal. Well, except Yankees star Alex Rodriguez played in his first game since his season-long 2014 suspension for PED use, which meant local and national media outlets live tweeted those plate appearances across the world.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, The Zo Zone, and follow him on Twitter ToddZolecki. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

In first start, Herrera turns in 3-hit performance

Rule 5 Draft pick also swipes three bases as he looks to win spot on 25-man roster

In first start, Herrera turns in 3-hit performance

TAMPA, Fla. -- Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg liked what he saw Wednesday afternoon from Rule 5 Draft pick Odubel Herrera, who went 3-for-4 with three stolen bases and two runs scored in a 3-1 victory over the Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

"A lot stood out," Sandberg said. "A spark plug at the top [of the lineup]. Great job with the stolen bases, getting in scoring position, which was big in a 3-1 game. He did a good job of squaring balls up and staying on top of the ball, hard grounders, line drives. Real heads up play with the stolen bases."

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, The Zo Zone, and follow him on Twitter ToddZolecki. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

As Grapefruit League slate begins, bench jobs up for grabs

As Grapefruit League slate begins, bench jobs up for grabs

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies will need to be pretty creative to score runs consistently this season. A productive and versatile bench could help.

The projected Opening Day lineup includes catcher Carlos Ruiz, first baseman Ryan Howard, second baseman Chase Utley, third baseman Cody Asche, shortstop Freddy Galvis, left fielder Grady Sizemore, center fielder Ben Revere and right fielder Domonic Brown, but the Phillies' projected five-man bench could go a bunch of different ways.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, The Zo Zone, and follow him on Twitter ToddZolecki. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sizemore's knee OK after getting plunked

Sizemore's knee OK after getting plunked

TAMPA, Fla. -- Phillies left fielder Grady Sizemore left Wednesday's 3-1 win over the Yankees after getting hit on his right knee with a pitch in the fourth inning.

Jordan Danks replaced Sizemore as a pinch-runner.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, The Zo Zone, and follow him on Twitter ToddZolecki. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Howard a spark as Phillies look sharp

Slugger posts two-hit day in Grapefruit League opener vs. Yanks

Howard a spark as Phillies look sharp

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Yankees scored four runs in the ninth inning on Tuesday to tie the Phillies, 5-5, in their Grapefruit League opener at Bright House Field.

Phillies left-hander Mario Hollands allowed five hits and four runs in the ninth, which included a two-out, three-run home run from Aaron Judge, the Yankees' No. 5 prospect.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Buchanan has no issue with flying below radar

'Nobody' at camp last year, righty aims to lock up No. 5 spot in Phils' rotation

Buchanan has no issue with flying below radar

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies right-hander David Buchanan entered Spring Training last year as a last-minute invite to camp and a relative unknown outside the organization.

But Buchanan, who allowed five hits and one run over two innings in Tuesday's 5-5 tie with the Yankees at Bright House Field, enters this camp as the favorite to be the team's No. 5 starter behind Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Aaron Harang and Jerome Williams.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Howard focused on nothing but positives

After offseason of obstacles, Phillies' first baseman eager to keep mind on baseball

Howard focused on nothing but positives

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Ryan Howard could have come to Phillies camp last month in a miserable mood and with a scowl on his face.

Howard's offseason included a lawsuit between himself and his family, a concerted effort by the organization to trade him and a local radio interview in which his general manager said the Phillies would be better without him. But Howard showed up with a smile, and unless he is putting on an Oscar-worthy performance, he has maintained an upbeat appearance.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harang scratched with lower back discomfort

Need for chiropractor's aid 'normal' for righty; Slowey gets Wednesday's start

Harang scratched with lower back discomfort

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies right-hander Aaron Harang will not make his scheduled Grapefruit League start on Wednesday (1:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV and MLB Network) against the Yankees in Tampa, Fla.

Harang, 36, had his lower back wrapped on Tuesday morning at Bright House Field. He said he woke up the other morning with something amiss and decided he needed to have a chiropractor adjust his back -- a process the right-hander said "is normal for me."

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Utley won't rush back from sprained right ankle

Phillies will get second baseman into a game 'down the road'

Utley won't rush back from sprained right ankle

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Chase Utley did not work out with his teammates Monday and he will not play in at least the first week of Grapefruit League games because of a sprained right ankle, but he said there is no reason to be alarmed.

Utley rolled the ankle in January. It remains visibly swollen.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies to give Oliver strong consideration for bullpen

Rule 5 Draft pick can give club left-handed option in relief

Phillies to give Oliver strong consideration for bullpen

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Ryne Sandberg searched for the positives from Sunday's 6-2 loss to the University of Tampa.

He settled on left-hander Andy Oliver and left-hander Elvis Araujo. Oliver, who threw two scoreless innings, is a Rule 5 Draft pick from Pittsburgh who has a good chance to make the Opening Day roster as a reliever. The Phillies signed Araujo, who struck out the side in one perfect inning, to a Major League contract this offseason despite the fact he has not pitched higher than Double-A. The club loves his arm and his potential.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Spring may bring final chance with Phils for Aumont

Former first-round Draft pick has posted 6.13 ERA in three-year career

Spring may bring final chance with Phils for Aumont

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillippe Aumont seems to have made a few thousand adjustments to his delivery since he joined the Phillies following the Cliff Lee trade with Seattle in 2009.

Aumont changed his arm slot. He stood more upright. He tried this. He tried that.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies get 'cobwebs out' in spring-opening exhibition loss

GM Amaro's nephew scores tying run for University of Tampa in comeback win

Phillies get 'cobwebs out' in spring-opening exhibition loss

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg downplayed the end result Sunday afternoon at Bright House Field.

The Phillies scheduled an exhibition against the University of Tampa, which is the No. 1 Division II baseball team in the country. The club wanted to give its younger players and non-roster invitees some work against the wide-eyed kids before opening the Grapefruit League season Tuesday against the Yankees.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies first to try out pace of play clock initiative

Sandberg: It 'went unnoticed for the most part'

Phillies first to try out pace of play clock initiative

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- For the first time in Major League Baseball, when the Phillies faced the University of Tampa at Bright House Field on Sunday, the time between innings and pitching changes was timed. There was a large clock immediately to the left of the batter's eye in center field and a smaller one on the façade behind home plate.

The goal is to improve the pace of play by eliminating time between the end of the break and the resumption of play. It is one of three major initiatives MLB has announced for the 2015 season involving the tempo of games.

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Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seeking starting role, Gonzalez competing for fifth spot

Entering second year of deal, Phillies righty says shoulder is completely healthy

Seeking starting role, Gonzalez competing for fifth spot

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez said pitching is pitching and he will pitch happily anywhere.

Of course, he would be especially happy in the Phillies' rotation.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Utley won't play in Grapefruit League opener

Phillies second baseman not fully recovered from sprained right ankle

Utley won't play in Grapefruit League opener

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies second baseman Chase Utley will not be in the lineup for Tuesday's Grapefruit League opener against the Yankees at Bright House Field.

Utley sprained his right ankle in January and has not fully recovered.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Clemens confident as he chases role in Phils' bullpen

Hard-throwing righty non-roster camp invitee

Clemens confident as he chases role in Phils' bullpen

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Paul Clemens is not afraid to say he has a great arm and two "hellacious" pitches.

But he will need to pitch well this spring to make the Phillies' seven-man bullpen, which has three openings behind Jonathan Papelbon, Ken Giles, Jake Diekman and Justin De Fratus. Clemens, who signed in the offseason as a non-roster Invitee, will need to improve upon the 5.51 ERA he posted in 48 appearances the past two seasons with Houston.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pettibone making progress in recovery

Pettibone making progress in recovery

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies right-hander Jonathan Pettibone pitched pretty well in 18 starts in 2013.

But a right shoulder injury popped up that July, which has limited him to just seven starts and 35 1/3 innings at the Major League and Minor League levels since. He ultimately required surgery to repair the shoulder in June 2014, which has him behind schedule this spring.

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Battle looming for spots in Phils' bullpen

Club thinks its relief corps can rank among baseball's best

Battle looming for spots in Phils' bullpen

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies are in the beginning stages of a substantial rebuilding process. But they believe they could be extremely competitive in at least one area in 2015.

They believe they could have one of the better bullpens in baseball.

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Plesac impressed with pitchers in Phils camp

MLB Network analyst serves as guest instructor, likes what he sees from Biddle

Plesac impressed with pitchers in Phils camp

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The last time Dan Plesac wore a baseball uniform he threw the final pitch for the Phillies at Veterans Stadium on Sept. 28, 2003.

He pulled on a uniform again this week at Bright House Field, where he worked with the Phillies as a guest instructor. Plesac, 53, still looks like he could strike out a hitter or two -- he posted a 2.70 ERA and averaged 10 strikeouts per nine innings in 58 appearances in his final season in 2003 -- but he came to camp to observe, coach and just get back on the field again.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lee to make first spring appearance Thursday

Phils lefty scheduled to throw two innings; Williams to start Tuesday's opener

Lee to make first spring appearance Thursday

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Any team in baseball that thinks it might need starting-pitching help this season might want to take a peek Thursday at the Phillies' Grapefruit League game against the Astros in Kissimmee.

Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee will pitch, which means he is not behind schedule in relation to other pitchers in camp. Lee finished last season on the disabled list with an injured left elbow, but there have been no issues this spring.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hollands rocking stirrups as part of new look

Hollands rocking stirrups as part of new look

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Before the Grapefruit League season opens Tuesday and Phillies players face real competition with real results that matter, reporters have asked Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg if anybody has stood out in camp.

Phillies left-hander Mario Hollands, 26, has stood out, but for more than his pitching.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.