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Phils' Lopez makes first start since '07

Phils' Lopez makes first start since '07

ATLANTA -- Right-hander Rodrigo Lopez quietly joined the Phillies in March.

It was a low-risk move for the the Phillies. They signed him to a Minor League contract with the intentions that maybe he could help the Phillies at some point this season. In the meantime, he would pitch for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

But that time has come because left-hander Antonio Bastardo is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left shoulder. Lopez will open a three-game series Friday night against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park.

"Anytime you can build inventory, it gives you options when you have to make decisions like the one we had to make," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "Is he a No. 1 pitcher? No. But he's a viable professional pitcher and hopefully he can pitch effectively for us in the big leagues."

Lopez is 5-4 with a 3.91 ERA in 13 starts this season with Lehigh Valley. He is 65-65 with a 4.80 ERA in his seven-year Major League career. He last pitched for the Rockies in 2007 because of arm problems.

"He's a veteran guy," Amaro said. "He's thrown pretty well for us. We'll see how he pans out."

Pitching matchup
PHI: RHP Rodrigo Lopez (0-0, -.-- ERA)
Because of arm problems, he last pitched for the Rockies in 2007. Lopez signed a Minor League deal with the Phillies at the end of Spring Training after they watched him pitch in the World Baseball Classic.

NYM: RHP Livan Hernandez (5-3, 4.04 ERA)
Hernandez fell victim to the "one bad inning" syndrome that hit Mets starters during their series sweep at the hands of the Yankees, surrendering three first-inning runs last Sunday. Hernandez was in total control after that, allowing just one more hit as he completed seven innings for a third consecutive start. Although Hernandez has pitched well of late, the Mets have lost his past four starts. While this will be his first start against the Phillies this season, he has a 10-8 record and a 3.36 ERA against Philadelphia in 24 career starts; he is 2-2 with a 5.45 ERA in five starts at Citizens Bank Park. Chase Utley is 8-for-24 lifetime against the right-hander, and Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard each have two home runs -- but averages below .200 -- against Hernandez.

Rollins entered Thursday's series finale against the Braves in a 0-for-27 slump before hitting a single in the third inning. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia went 0-for-26 earlier this season. It has been 21 years since two former league MVPs went at least 25 consecutive at-bats without a hit. Cal Ripken Jr. and Mike Schmidt each endured a slump like that in 1988, according to Elias Sports Bureau. ... The Phillies entered Thursday leading the National League with an 80 percent (52-for-65) stolen base percentage. They have been successful in 30 of their past 35 (85.7 percent) attempts.

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Up next
• Saturday: Phillies (Jamie Moyer, 6-6, 6.05) vs. Mets (Fernando Nieve, 3-1, 2.25), 4:05 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Phillies (Joe Blanton, 4-4, 5.08) vs. Mets (Johan Santana, 9-6, 3.34), 1:35 p.m. ET
• Monday: Phillies (TBD) vs. Reds (Johnny Cueto, 8-4, 2.69), 7:05 p.m. ET

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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