Kendrick helps out at plate in loss to Astros

Kendrick helps out at plate in loss to Astros

ASTROS 5, PHILLIES 2
at Kissimmee, Fla.
Tuesday, March 30

Phillies at the plate: Chase Utley went 2-for-4 with a strikeout and a pair of singles, and Brian Schneider was 2-for-4 with a double. Raul Ibanez had an RBI single in the first inning, and pitcher Kyle Kendrick drove in a run with a bloop single. Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco and Ryan Howard were 0-for-4.

Astros at the plate: Carlos Lee went 2-for-3 with a pair of run-scoring doubles. He doubled home Hunter Pence in the first inning, and had a three-run double to left field in the fifth to give the Astros a 4-2 lead. J.R. Towles, who struck out twice, had an RBI groundout in the seventh. Michael Bourn went 4-for-5 with two doubles, a single and a triple.

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Phillies on the mound: Kendrick, who was battling with Jamie Moyer for the fifth spot in the starting rotation, threw only two innings as the club pulled him back in preparation for a bullpen role. He gave up two hits and one run. Antonio Bastardo gave up one hit in two-thirds of an inning, and Jose Contreras was rocked for three hits, three runs and two walks in two-thirds of an inning.

Astros on the mound: Facing a Phillies lineup that closely resembled what it might look like on Opening Day, right-hander Bud Norris gave up six hits and two runs and struck out seven batters in five innings in his final Grapefruit League outing, lowering his ERA to 7.47. Matt Lindstrom allowed the Phils to load the bases with no outs in the sixth before getting three quick outs, and Jeff Fulchino worked a scoreless seventh.

Worth noting: Brad Lidge pitched in an intrasquad game, giving up a hit, a walk and an unearned run (on a catcher's throwing error) in his lone inning of work. The Phillies' closer is expected to start the season on the disabled list but could join the team by mid-April. ... Sporting a sleeve on his right arm, Raul Ibanez made his return to the starting lineup after getting hit by a pitch on his right elbow against the Yankees on Friday. ... Jayson Werth, who came in batting .170 in Grapefruit League play, walked into Osceola County Stadium with his trademark goatee after shaving off a Grizzly Adams-looking beard he sported at the start of camp.

Grapefruit League records: Astros 13-12-1, Phillies 12-11-1

Up next: Wednesday will mark the return of Roy Halladay at 1:05 p.m. ET in Clearwater, Fla., in a game that will be on MLB.TV. This will be the first time Halladay has faced the Blue Jays since being dealt from Toronto in a blockbuster trade this offseason. For his career with the Blue Jays -- the only other team Halladay has pitched for -- the 32-year-old right-hander won 148 games, sported a 3.43 ERA and won an American League Cy Young Award in his 12 seasons. Coming into his last start of the spring, Halladay sports a 0.90 ERA in 10 Grapefruit League innings. Ryan Madson and Chad Durbin are also slated to pitch for the Phillies.

The Astros will send left-hander Wandy Rodriguez to the mound Wednesday against the Braves in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., at 12:05 p.m. CT, in a game also on MLB.TV. Rodriguez is scheduled to throw only two innings before catching a plane for Houston, where his wife is scheduled to deliver the couple's second child Thursday. Brian Moehler, Chris Sampson and Sammy Gervacio are also scheduled to pitch. Right-hander Roy Oswalt, who had an injection into his lower back Monday in Houston, will start a Minor League game Wednesday.

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