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03/16/09 5:30 PM ET

Manuel: Kendrick deserved better fate

In loss, Phillies right-hander not helped by 'shabby defense'

TAMPA, Fla. -- The pitching line showed that Kyle Kendrick allowed five runs in four innings Monday against the Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

He surrendered eight hits. He walked three.

But Kendrick, who is 1-2 with a 12.10 ERA in three Grapefruit League starts, legitimately seemed to pitch better than his line indicated in the ugly 12-0 loss to the Yankees. Kendrick was often the victim of poor defense, especially in the fourth inning, when he allowed three runs.

"He made some good quality pitches," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We had some shabby defense. His line definitely should have been better. We made mistakes. We made a lot of ... mistakes. That was really a nice game. I think any game like that [annoys you], but the best thing you can do is ... go out there and get on the bus and forget about that.

"That was a [tough] game. If I played in that ... game, I would take a good inventory of myself. I'd say we kind of ... hit rock bottom for a while."

Kendrick tried to look at the positives. He thought he threw better offspeed pitches, including those to left-handed hitters.

"I thought I did well on lefties," Kendrick said. "If anything, I'm not happy about the three walks, but other than that, I was happy with the way I felt. Most of the time, I was down. It was something to build on definitely."

Kendrick also thought he pitched much more aggressively than in his previous starts.

Kendrick has two more starts before the April 5 season opener, and he is behind right-hander Chan Ho Park and left-hander J.A. Happ in the competition for the fifth spot in the rotation. Right-hander Carlos Carrasco is competing for the fifth job, but he is behind Park and Happ, too.

"I'd like to have some good results," Kendrick said. "They know what I can do, and right now, they'd like to see some good results. If I can just come out and turn it around numbers-wise, I think that's all I can do.

"It is a big deal [the competition]. Obviously, I want it. Those other two guys want it. I can't worry about what they do or what everybody says or what's written. All I can do is go out there and pitch and do what I can do to prove I deserve that spot."

The next time, Kendrick hopes to make even better pitches and get a little help behind him, too.

Utley is OK: Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said that second baseman Chase Utley, who made his Grapefruit League debut Sunday, felt fine Monday. That is good news as Utley targets being in Philadelphia's lineup Opening Day.

Roster moves: The Phils optioned right-handers Andrew Carpenter, Drew Naylor and Scott Nestor, left-hander Sergio Escalona and catcher Joel Naughton to Minor League camp. They also reassigned right-hander Blaine Neal, left-hander Antonio Bastardo, catcher Tuffy Gosewisch and Paul Hoover and infielders Mike Cervenak, J.J. Furmaniak, Jorge Velandia and Andy Tracy to Minor League camp.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.