Phillies 5, Marlins 1
Joe Blanton had his best start of spring training, allowing just one hit over six scoreless innings for the Philadelphia Phillies in a 5-1 win over the Florida Marlins on Thursday. "He threw strikes," manager Charlie Manuel said. "(Pitching coach Rich) Dubee said he threw 19 first-pitch strikes out of 20. That's unreal. That's super." Florida All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez hasn't played since Saturday because of mild tendinitis in his right shoulder. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he hoped Ramirez could play Saturday against the Red Sox in Jupiter. "I'll be ready to go for opening day," said Ramirez, who took swings in the batting cage Thursday. "It's not worry about that, for sure." Blanton, the Phillies' No. 4 starter, struck out three and didn't walk a batter, lowering his ERA to 2.30. But he still wasn't completely satisfied. "My location for the most part I was a little better today than I have been with it earlier in the spring," the right-hander said. "I don't know if the slider is as good as it was the last game I felt like my changeup stepped up a little bit." Brad Lidge pitched a scoreless seventh inning, allowing two hits and striking out a batter. Marlins right-hander Chris Volstad allowed one hit over four scoreless innings, giving him a string of nine shutout innings over two starts. He worked five scoreless against the Mets on March 15. Both starts came on short rest. "I like facing the guys we're going to be playing during the year," Volstad said of pitching against NL East opponents. "It's good for me to remember how they approach it and what pitches work and don't work. It's a good confidence-builder going in." The team hasn't named a starter for the opener on April 6 but if the current sequence doesn't change, it would go right-handers Ricky Nolasco, Josh Johnson, Volstad, left-hander Andrew Miller and right-hander Anibal Sanchez. The first three starters have had solid springs. "We kind of feed off each other, at least I feed of them," Volstad said after lowering his ERA to 2.50. "I see them go out and pretty much dominate and I just try to follow their lead." Marlins left-hander Dan Meyer opened the sixth inning with two walks, and both runners scored. Pablo Ozuna scored on Ryan Howard's double and Jason Donald scored on Jayson Werth's sacrifice fly. Rookie first baseman Gaby Sanchez, who left Wednesday night's game in the ninth inning after colliding with Washington's Lastings Milledge, was diagnosed with a left knee bone bruise. The Marlins hope he can return to action Monday or Tuesday. Notes: Robert Andino started at shortstop in place of Ramirez and went 0-for-4. ... The Marlins reassigned eight players to minor league camp: Left-handers Sean West and Willie Collazo, right-handers Brett Sinkbeil and Jason Standridge, infielders Logan Morrison, John Lindsey and Manny Myerson and outfielder Scott Cousins. Phillies pitcher J.C. Romero returned to the team's complex in Clearwater after his stint with Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic.