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Cook, Lopez willing to pitch whenever called upon


CLEARWATER, Fla. -- It is a rarity for a team to play an entire 162-game season and use only five starting pitchers.

It is why the Phillies closely watched right-handers Aaron Cook and Rodrigo Lopez in Thursday's 2-1 victory over the Pirates at Bright House Field. Nine different pitchers made starts last season for the Phils. They had seven starters in 2011, nine in '10, 12 in '09, seven in '08 and 13 in '07. The odds are Philadelphia will need more than just Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan in '13.

"Depth is always important," Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "We've always talked about that. You've got guys there with experience, for sure. We also feel that we've got some young kids knocking on the door here pretty soon."

Cook allowed one hit, one walk and struck out one in three scoreless innings. Lopez allowed three hits and struck out one in two scoreless innings. They would like to start, but both said they would be willing to pitch in a long-man role in the bullpen. That is a possibility, although the club is asking its relievers to pitch multiple innings to see who is most capable.

"I would love to start, but at this point in my career, pitching in the big leagues, there's not too many that say they get to do that every day," Cook said. "So if they give me a ball, I'll take it whenever."

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

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{"event":["spring_training" ] }
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