Happ solid in rotation debut

Happ solid in rotation debut

NEW YORK -- Charlie Manuel felt the time had come to finally move Chan Ho Park from the rotation to the bullpen.

Park hadn't done the job.

Manuel thought left-hander J.A. Happ could, so he moved him from the 'pen to the rotation, where he made his starting debut Saturday against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Happ made Manuel look smart in the 5-4 loss, which ended with Brad Lidge blowing his third save of the season in the ninth. Happ allowed just four hits and two runs and struck out four in six innings.

"I was definitely pleased with it," Happ said. "From the get-go, I was hoping I could throw four or five, hopefully solid innings."

Happ, who was on a pitch count, threw six because he kept his pitch count down. He threw 75 pitches, 50 for strikes.

"I definitely tried to get first-pitch strikes," Happ said. "I got into a couple deep counts, but it was something I was focusing on -- not trying to give up any free passes. You never know what can happen. Just make them put the ball in play."

Happ is scheduled to make his next start Friday against the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park.

Manuel wasn't surprised. Happ was 1-1 with a 3.58 ERA in five career starts prior to Saturday.

"He pitched about four real good games for us last year," Manuel said. "He was pretty good. He threw strikes and didn't walk anybody."

Happ, who stuck with his fastball, slider and changeup and didn't throw his curveball, hopes to keep it up.

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