Buchanan, Hollands taking advantage of chances

Buchanan, Hollands taking advantage of chances

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- With Opening Day just one week away, the Phillies have some difficult decisions to make with their pitching staff, and left-hander Mario Hollands has emerged as a possibility to make the club.

Hollands can fill a variety of roles: starter, reliever, long man, situational lefty. He's impressed the coaching staff with a solid Spring Training, lowering his ERA to 1.64 with 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief in the Phillies' rain-shortened 6-3 victory over the Blue Jays on Monday.

"Hollands has pitched well. He's had a good spring," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said after Monday's Grapefruit League win. "He's got some funk to him from the left side. He's handled himself very well. He's been a bright spot as far as pitchers coming in with an opportunity. I think he's done a nice job."

David Buchanan has been another bright spot in camp. He made his fourth Grapefruit League start on Monday, striking out two over two perfect innings. Like Hollands, Buchanan has never pitched above Triple-A, but he still has a shot to make the Opening Day roster.

"The fact that I'm still here is a blessing for me," Buchanan said after Monday's start.

It's unclear how Buchanan fits into the Phillies' immediate plans. The club will need a fifth starter on April 13, with Cole Hamels set to open the season on the disabled list. Buchanan is an option to fill that void, but could also be a long man out of the bullpen. He will have one final audition on Saturday, as he's scheduled to pitch in the Phillies' final exhibition game against the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park.

"It's a dream come true, absolutely," Buchanan said of the opportunity to pitch in a big league park. "Hopefully, things continue to go right. I'm going to try to have fun. That's what the game is about. We'll go up there and have a good time and compete."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jalaymance. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.