Phillies 6, Braves 4
Dontrelle Willis pumped his fist with the enthusiasm of a guy
getting a meaningful out late in the season, and then blessed
himself and pointed to the sky as he walked off the mound.
The D-Train is still in service.
Willis pitched a scoreless inning, Scott Podsednik hit a
tiebreaking RBI single and a Philadelphia Phillies split squad beat
the Atlanta Braves 6-4 on Thursday.
It was an encouraging outing for Willis after he got rocked and
left his last appearance because of arm tightness and fatigue.
Willis, a former 22-game winner, is trying to resurrect his career
in a new role as a lefty specialist in the bullpen.
”I took some tips from some guys,” Willis said. ”I definitely
warmed up a lot better. I slowed myself down. I felt a lot better
out there. Just learning the learning curve.”
Willis walked the first batter he faced then retired Jason
Heyward on a flyball and retired Tyler Pastornicky on a double-play
”That was a big play,” Willis said. ”That’s the kind of
situation that I’ll get put in and I’m facing guys I might face in
the big leagues. I’m taking this task seriously because it’s the
first time I’ve done it.”
Willis allowed five runs and five hits in 1 2-3 innings in his
first two spring appearances.
”Command is the biggest thing, if he commands his pitches,”
manager Charlie Manuel said. ”He’s funky. He definitely has enough
motion and stuff to be tough on lefties.”
Matt Diaz and Dan Uggla hit solo homers for the Braves. Jair
Jurrjens had a rough outing, allowing four runs and nine hits in
Jurrjens went 12-3 in the first half last year and made his
first All-Star team, but he didn’t pitch during the final month of
last season because of a bone bruise in his right knee.
”They got some cheap hits,” he said. ”I felt good. I threw
more strikes. I was happy with my control. I wish they hit some
balls to the fielders. Nothing you can do about those cheap
Joe Blanton went five innings for Philadelphia, allowing three
runs and four hits.
Podsednik had one of six run-scoring singles for the Phillies.
He’s competing for a roster spot and could earn playing time in
Jim Thome, Jimmy Rollins, John Mayberry Jr., Placido Polanco and
Brian Schneider also had RBI singles for the Phillies.
NOTES: Manuel said ”there’s a good chance” Chase Utley will be
in the lineup on opening day. Utley, the five-time All-Star 2B,
hasn’t played this spring because of a knee injury that forced him
to miss the first 47 games last year. … Phillies RHP Jose
Contreras threw a scoreless inning in his second appearance in a
minor league game. Contreras is coming off an injury-plagued season
and could be a key part of the bullpen if healthy. … OFs Domonic
Brown and Laynce Nix were scratched from Philadelphia’s split-squad
lineup against the Tampa Bay Rays. Brown has a stiff neck and Nix
is bothered by sore ribs. … Braves RHP Arodys Vizcaino will visit
renowned specialist Dr. James Andrews to have his injured elbow