Nick Pivetta makes first Grapefruit League start

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Right-hander Nick Pivetta looked sharp in his first starting appearance (third overall) this spring, giving up one run on three hits and striking out two over five innings against the Blue Jays on Friday.
Pivetta was able to reach 99 mph with his fastball and stay ahead

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Right-hander Nick Pivetta looked sharp in his first starting appearance (third overall) this spring, giving up one run on three hits and striking out two over five innings against the Blue Jays on Friday.

Pivetta was able to reach 99 mph with his fastball and stay ahead of batters in the Phillies’ 3-2 win at Spectrum Field.

“Just throwing fastballs the way I’ve always thrown them,” Pivetta said. “It’s hot out. It’s nice. Body is in good shape. That’s all I can say.”

Pivetta generally stayed out of trouble, although he had a few hard-hit balls and gave up a solo home run to Freddy Galvis in the third inning. He retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced after the home run.

“All my pitches [worked], honestly,” Pivetta said. “I got a good swing and miss on my changeup, got good swings and misses and soft contact on my slider. Curveball is a little shaky, but got into it after the third inning. Was able to throw it over for strikes and put guys away with it.”

Manager Gape Kapler said it was important for Pivetta to get off to a good start and get his fastball going early in the game.

“Pivetta was excellent,” Kapler said. “It’s important to see where he’s come from last season. And he certainly is a high-velocity guy, but when he comes out with 95-99, it’s incredibly encouraging. We’ve asked him to come out and step on the gas pedal early in the game. He did just that.

“Sometimes we’ve seen it in reverse, where early on you see him come out and feeling for the ball a little bit. And in this particular case, he came out firing, utilized his curveball, his fastball looked great.”

Altherr runs it down

The few times Pivetta did make a mistake, he was generally backed up by good defense. In the second inning, Aaron Altherr ran down a hard-hit ball in the right-center gap by Brandon Drury.

Altherr’s efforts got Pivetta’s attention as he tipped his cap to the outfielder.

“Altherr is a tremendous outfielder,” Pivetta said. “When you give up a pretty good contact pitch on them and then the ball is in the gap, you see a guy run over there and hustle, and it really showed that he’s there and catching those balls. That means a lot, especially when I make a mistake, they’re able to pick me up.”

Altherr, who is battling with Odubel Herrera and Scott Kingery for reps in center field, had a rough day at the plate, going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.

Schmidt stops by

Hall of Famer and three-time National League Most Valuable Player Award winner Mike Schmidt stopped by the Phillies’ clubhouse on Friday morning to speak with the team.

Kapler, who had dinner with Schmidt on Thursday, said the 12-time All-Star was going have a Q&A session with the players as well.

“We’re just having him come in and address the club on what it’s like to win in Philadelphia,” Kapler said Thursday. “What it means to be a great teammate. What leadership characteristics look like.”

Schmidt was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1995. He had 548 home runs and 1,595 RBIs in his 18-year career. Schmidt led the Phillies to the 1980 World Series, where he was named MVP. He won 10 Gold Glove Awards at third base and six Silver Slugger Awards.

Game notes

• Kapler singled out Andrew McCutchen and Jean Segura for strong at-bats Friday, and he feels like both players are getting their timing and rhythm going as the season approaches. McCutchen was 1-for-3 with a single and Segura was 1-for-3 with an RBI single.

• Pivetta said the next step is for him to get to 100 pitches. He will have two more starts this spring.

Roster moves

The Phillies have optioned infielder Mitch Walding to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Forty-eight players remain in Major League camp.

Up next

Aaron Nola will make his third start of the spring at Spectrum Field against the Houston Astros on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. ET. Right-hander Brad Peacock will get the start for the Astros.

David Robertson, Pat Neshek, Jose Alvarez, Hector Neris, Josh Martin and Jeremy Bleich are also expected to pitch for the Phillies.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*