Arrieta meets expectations in first spring outing with Phillies

Jake Arrieta makes Phillies debut
Jake Arrieta had no problem throwing gas on Thursday in his Phillies Grapefruit League debut. His fastball touched 95 mph and his command looked solid in a 6-2 loss to the Tigers at Spectrum Field.

All told, Arrieta threw 31 pitches over two innings. He struck out the first two batters he faced before surrendering a line drive home run to Miguel Cabrera in the first inning. He surrendered another run in the second frame on two hits. His velocity consistently sat in the 92-95 mph range.

"What I'm focused on is being compact and explosive, but not putting max effort out there right now," Arrieta said. "So to have the ball coming out like that my first time out it's a good sign."

Arrieta will next pitch Tuesday in the Phillies' Grapefruit League finale and he said he expects to throw about 50 pitches.

"We were asked what we were expecting from him," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. "We weren't looking for a perfect line. We were looking for health and strength and we saw that."

Strange Behavior
Thursday's contest included five ejections by home-plate umpire Tom Hallion.

Tigers' hurler Matt Boyd was the first to be tossed after Hallion alleged he was trying to hit Odubel Herrera after one pitch sailed over his head and another came too far inside.

From the Phillies, Parker Frazier was ejected after hitting Derek Hill in the leg with an 82-mph slider. Manager Gabe Kapler was tossed at that point too as warnings had already been given.

Frazier has spent 11 seasons pitching in the minors and had family on hand to watch Thursday's contest.

"It was the first time they got to see me pitch," Frazier said. "They texted me, 'What happened?' I told them accidental hit by pitch. They had never seen me play professional baseball before because I was injured last year."

Pedro Beato was tossed in the final frame after hitting Dylan Rosa with a pitch, and so was bench coach Rob Thomson.

"I just point to the fact that we had a young Minor Leaguer in the game and he's just trying to make a good impression," Kapler said. "Threw a slider that backed up and hit somebody. Beato is also trying to make a club and make the best possible impression. He has no reason to do anything but throw strikes. Balls are going to get away from guys."

Bench Battle
The Phillies announced Thursday the unconditional release of Ryan Flaherty, leaving Roman Quinn, Pedro Florimon, Adam Rosales, and Jesmuel Valentin as finalists battling for a bench spots on the 25-man roster.

The Phillies won't need a fifth starter until April 11, so the club will likely carry five bench players to open the season.

A fourth outfielder and a backup catcher, presumably Andrew Knapp, are penciled into two of the five slots.

Up Next
The Phillies travel to Bradenton on Friday to face the Pirates. Aaron Nola will make his fifth start of the spring. He has a 4.50 ERA over 14 innings of work. 
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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