Sunday, March 30, 2014

Manship's stellar spring may have secured final rotation spot

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
March 30, 2014, 2 p.m.
@Philabaseball

Jeff Manship entered Phillies camp as a 29-year-old non-roster invitee with an uncertain future. Now, thanks in part to a stellar spring, he's made an opening day roster for just the second time in his major league career.

"It's a pretty cool feeling, knowing I made the club," Manship said.

The right-hander spent last season with Colorado, posting a 7.04 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, and 18/12 K/BB ratio over 30 2/3 innings. He's spent the majority of his five year career shuttling between starting and relieving, never really holding down a role consistently.  

That's not likely to change with the Phillies as Manship will begin the season in the bullpen before likely making at least one start when the fifth spot in the starting rotation comes around on April 13.

"Jeff gives us some versatility," Ruben Amaro Jr. said.  "With Hamels down and a temporary spot in the rotation open he can give us some added depth in the rotation or he can come out of the bullpen."

Manship, a Notre Dame graduate, was drafted by Minnesota in the 14th round of the 2006 draft. He made his major league debut in 2009 and has a 6.42 career ERA over 52 appearances, including 10 starts.

Recognizing he needed to alter his approach on the mound, Manship radically changed his off-season training regiment over the winter and spent  time working with University of Texas pitching coach Skip Johnson.

"He's worked with some big name guys, like [Clayton] Kershaw and Homer Bailey," Manship said. "Having someone in your corner with the kind of experience he has, it really helps."

Through 20 innings during the spring Manship walked just two and struck out 16.  His 1.80 ERA was one of the biggest surprises coming out of Clearwater. 

"He pitched well and earned a spot on our roster," Ryne Sandberg said. "He deserves it."

For now, Manship will work out of the bullpen in a long relief role, but he's the favorite to earn the fifth starting spot in mid-April. 

"Nothing is guaranteed, but I think Jeff has demonstrated he belongs here," Sandberg said.

In addition to Manship, the Phillies rounded out the final spots on their opening day roster with left handed reliever Mario Hollands, outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., and newly acquired infielder Jayson Nix.

- The Philadelphia Baseball Review is the top baseball news blog in Philadelphia, providing news coverage and analysis of the 2014 Phillies and baseball in the Philadelphia region.

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