Cole Irvin to start for Phillies in Grapefruit opener
The Phillies open Grapefruit League play this afternoon with a contest against the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte, Fla. Left-handed pitching prospect Cole Irvin will open on the bump for the Phils.

Irvin, 25, went 14-4 with a 2.57 ERA in 26 appearances (25 starts) last season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Selected by Philadelphia in the fifth round of the 2016 Draft, he ranks as the No. 16 prospect in the organization according to MLB Pipeline. He doesn't overpower hitters, but he's crafty and throws strikes to induce contact.

It goes without saying how important of a year this is for Irvin. He projects as a potential backend rotation arm but isn't yet on the 40-man roster. Today begins the next chapter in what could prove to be a pivotal camp for the California native.

A Returning Veteran
The Phillies and third baseman Trevor Plouffe agreed to a minor league deal, the club announced Thursday. The 32-year-old was with the Phillies organization last season, hitting .230 at Triple-A Lehigh Valley with 12 homers, 37 RBI and a .460 slugging percentage in 73 games. He made seven appearances with the Phillies last year, going 3-for-12 with a home run.

On the Mend
Odubel Herrera is expected to miss the first few Grapefruit League contests as he mends a hamstring strain. He participated in batting practice and throwing drills on Thursday and expects to see game action by the middle of next week.
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

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