Doc throws a warm-up pitch before the game. AP Photo.
The Phillies and Yankees had an exciting late-innings game where the heroes weren’t Roy Halladay or C.C. Sabathia. They were Paul Hoover and Wilson Valdez, two players who will start the year in the minors. After trailing 2-1 to the result of Sergio Escalona’s rough ninth, Brian Bocock singled with one out. Quinton Berry pinch-ran for him and scored on Paul Hoover’s RBI double, who advanced to third on the throw. Dewayne Wise then replaced Hoover as Wilson Valdez drove him in with a hard grounder that bounced off Yankees pitcher, Wilkins Arias.
Though the Phillies won the game in dramatic fashion, the main story was Halladay vs. Sabathia. Both pitched shutout ball in their first starts of Spring Training. Sabathia struggled a bit, allowing two hits and two walks in two innings of work. Halladay impressed Phillies fans, giving them a sample of what he can do all year. He went two innings of perfect ball, striking out three without allowing a single base-runner. He only threw 23 pitches – 20 of them going for strikes.
Interview with Halladay after his start [video]. Watch the whole thing for entire interview:
“It’s always fun getting back out there. You realize how much you miss it when it finally starts up again. It’s fun going out there, getting your work in and trying to throw as many strikes as possible.
“I was [happy with my command]. There was a couple pitches I rushed there in the first inning but I felt good. Tempo is always important for me – getting on the rubber, throwing strikes and putting the ball in play. If I can get that from the get-go and kind of have a feel from both sides… You’re going to be off early on but as long as you’re really working both sides, you know you can build on that. I felt good about that.”
Kyle Kendrick, who is using Doc as a mentor to earn himself a spot in the Phillies 25-man roster and hopefully rotation, pitched well in his follow-up of the ace. Kendrick pitched two shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out one.
Other Phillies making debuts included Placido Polanco and Jose Contreras. Polanco was solid at the plate, getting a base hit in his first at-bat. He also had a throwing error and lost a foul pop-up in the sun but fielded the ball nicely the rest of the way. Contreras was the third pitcher on the mound, throwing two shut out innings, allowing two hits and striking out three. No Phillies pitcher allowed a walk.
Phillies play tomorrow at Toronto, 1:05 p.m.