3/26/2013 5:31 P.M. ET
Valdes, Horst make strong cases for 'pen spots Tuesday
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Left-hander Raul Valdes is a frontrunner for one of the three openings in the Phillies' bullpen, and he seemed to solidify his spot Tuesday in a 10-1 victory over the Rays at Bright House Field.
He pitched three innings, allowing two hits, one run and striking out five. The Phillies don't have a prototypical long man -- nor do they feel they need one -- but Valdes has shown the ability to pitch more than a couple innings while throwing strikes. He went 3-2 with a 2.90 ERA in 27 appearances last season.
"Raul has been fantastic," Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "He's a strike thrower. He pitches down in the bottom of the zone. He reads bats real well. He reads swings real well, and he can go back and forth on you. He can throw that breaking ball behind in the count, first-pitch strike, double up, triple up. Then he can paint you with some fastballs that are deceptively quick."
Left-hander Jeremy Horst is also a frontrunner for a job. He allowed one hit and struck out one in two scoreless innings. He has a 4.80 ERA this spring, but has not allowed an earned run in his last 10 1/3 innings in seven outings. He also had a 1.15 ERA in 32 appearances last season.
Right-hander Mike Stutes allowed one walk in one scoreless frame. He has allowed four hits, six runs and five walks and struck out one in four innings in his last four appearances. He has a 7.36 ERA this spring. Right-hander Phillippe Aumont seems to be ahead of him for the last job in the bullpen at this point.
"He hadn't commanded the ball really well," Dubee said of Stutes, who missed most of last season because of an injured shoulder. "Whether it's not having last year buildup-wise, or it's still not timing his delivery..."
Utility man Galvis can play nearly every position
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Freddy Galvis has played everywhere in the infield except first base and everywhere in the outfield except center field.
Has he played catcher?
"PlayStation, maybe," he joked Tuesday morning at Bright House Field.
Galvis, who essentially has made the Phillies' 25-man roster as a utility player, started Tuesday's 10-1 victory over the Rays in left field. It is just another way for manager Charlie Manuel to get one of his favorite players onto the field, although Galvis has made some noise this spring with his bat. He is hitting .300 (21-for-70) with seven doubles, two triples, three home runs and 11 RBIs. He has 12 extra-base hits, which is tied for second most in baseball this spring.
"I would say just an emergency-type situation," third-base coach Ryne Sandberg said of Galvis' chances to play outfield regularly at this point, although he showed good instincts there on Tuesday. "It could be another piece to the ballclub. It could create some more opportunities for him. If he shows he can play out there and take the defense he'd normally bring to the infield to the outfield in a game situation, then he'll be ready."
Galvis, who played a few innings in right field Saturday, is content with that.
"I love baseball," he said. "That's what I have to say. Wherever they put me, I'm going to try to do the job."
Galvis has played shortstop his entire life, so that is where he is most comfortable. He played second base like a Gold Glover last season when Chase Utley missed nearly three months because of bad knees. He also played a little bit of third base in winter ball, and he regularly caught fly balls in the outfield during batting practice using the lefty glove of Phillies teammate Ender Inciarte.
Galvis, who is a right-hander, has his own outfielder's glove these days after using Minor League outfielder Carlos Tocci's for a bit.
But Galvis is an infielder, first and foremost, so expect to see him in the infield more often. If Galvis shows an aptitude at third base like he has at shortstop and second base, he could spell Michael Young on occasion.
"It's good," Galvis said of his limited time at third. "It's a little bit harder than shortstop and second base because it's quicker. The ball gets quicker to you. But I like it."
He also will like making his second Opening Day roster. He is a virtual lock at this point.
"It looks like," he said. "They don't tell me nothing yet, but it looks like it. I'm going to keep working and see what happens."
Inciarte, Orr competing for Phils' final outfield spot
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies unofficially finalized their infield Sunday when they released Yuniesky Betancourt to essentially guarantee Freddy Galvis and Kevin Frandsen spots on the Opening Day roster.
But the Phillies still need a fifth outfielder behind Ben Revere, Domonic Brown, John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix. Rule 5 Draft pick Ender Inciarte seemed to be in a strong position to make the team when the Phillies optioned Darin Ruf to Triple-A Lehigh Valley last week, but after making errors in consecutive games Saturday and Sunday, the door has opened for infielder/outfielder Pete Orr, while the Phillies continue to search for outfield help outside the organization.
Orr went 1-for-4 with one RBI in Tuesday's 10-1 victory over the Rays at Bright House Field. He is hitting .308 (8-for-26) this spring. Inciarte went 0-for-1 and is hitting .250 (6-for-24).
Phillies release veteran right-hander Cook
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies entered Spring Training expecting veterans Aaron Cook and Rodrigo Lopez to pitch in the Triple-A Lehigh Valley rotation.
Both are gone.
They released Lopez last week. For Cook, the Phillies had a deadline of noon on Tuesday to decide whether to promise a him a spot on the 25-man roster, pay him a $100,000 retention bonus to pitch in Triple-A or release him. Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said after a discussion with Cook's agent they decided to release him.
"We decided that was the best thing to do," Proefrock said. "It was our decision, but I think Ruben [Amaro Jr.] was cognizant and considerate of the player's feelings of the circumstances."
Cook went 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in six Grapefruit League appearances, but went 13-29 with a 5.54 ERA the previous three seasons, including 20 strikeouts in 18 starts last year with the Red Sox. Cook's departure sets up a Triple-A rotation with right-handers Tyler Cloyd, Jonathan Pettibone, Ethan Martin and B.J. Rosenberg and left-hander Adam Morgan, although Proefrock said nothing has been finalized.
If the Phillies needed a sixth starter immediately, Cloyd could have the edge based on experience, but Morgan has impressed the Phillies this spring. It simply may be the hottest hand at the time.
"I think it remains to be seen, but we do have options," Proefrock said. "And that's the positive aspect of it. I think we feel pretty good about the depth we have. It is experienced? Probably not as experienced as you'd like, but they've got to get experience somehow."
Of course, there is a possibility that Cook could return to the Phillies if he doesn't find a better situation elsewhere.
"I don't think we've closed any doors, and I don't think he did, either," Proefrock said. "You just have to wait and see how things play out. But at this time, we thought it was the right thing to do for all involved."
• Left-hander Cole Hamels starts Wednesday against the Tigers in Lakeland. He will probably pitch only three innings as he rests up for Opening Day on Monday in Atlanta.
• Right-hander Roy Halladay is expected to throw 85-90 pitches in Thursday's start against the Blue Jays at Bright House Field. He has struggled for much of the month, so the Phillies would like to see some positive results before he pitches April 3 in Atlanta.
• Betancourt, whom the Phillies released Sunday, has signed a Major League contract with the Brewers.
• Left-hander Antonio Bastardo pitched two-thirds of an inning Tuesday because he is pitching again Wednesday. It is the first time he will pitch back-to-back days this spring.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.