Kendrick happy with changeup vs. Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick had his changeup working splendidly for two innings Friday at Charlotte Sports Park.

He struck out three with three groundouts.

"The first two innings were great," he said after allowing five hits, three runs, one walk with three strikeouts in four innings. "The changeup was good early. After that I was kind of burying it too much."

Kendrick's changeup is a big reason why he struck out more batters last season. He averaged a career-high 6.6 strikeouts per nine innings, a considerable jump from his 4.1 strikeouts-per-nine-inning average from 2007-11.

He thinks he can increase that number a bit more in 2013.

"I think can improve in all aspects of my game," he said. "But yeah, I think my changeup is going to get better. My slider is going to get stronger. I don't see why I can't get better."

Kendrick allowed three two-out runs in the third, so the day wasn't a complete success.

"It's something to build off of, that's for sure," he said. "It was nothing great, but I was happy to get my pitch count up and get through four."

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