2/26/2014 5:50 P.M. ET
Likely starter Hernandez gets off to rocky start
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- If Cole Hamels misses the beginning of the season, the Phillies might use a fifth starter to get through the first couple of weeks of April.
Then again, they could work the rotation so they only use four starters until he returns.
But barring an unforeseen development, Phillies right-hander Roberto Hernandez will be in the rotation. He signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract in December and is a near certainty to get his share of starts this season. Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Jonathan Pettibone, Ethan Martin and others are in camp, but it is highly unlikely the Phillies paid Hernandez to start the season in the bullpen.
Hernandez struggled in two innings Wednesday in a 4-3 loss to the Blue Jays in the Grapefruit League opener at Bright House Field, which was called in the middle of the seventh because of rain. The righty allowed a solo home run to Jose Bautista in the first inning and two drives off the wall in the second inning to score a run.
"Everything was up," Hernandez said. "I don't know what happened today. I'll continue to work, get ready for my next start and keep the ball down."
"He threw more four-seamers than he normally does," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He pitched behind the count, and the balls that were hit were four-seamers for the most part. They were up a little bit. A couple of those balls, in my opinion, were wind-aided to center field. It didn't sound so good off the bat."
Hernandez allowed 24 home runs in 151 innings last season with the Rays. The Phillies believe that number will improve. But he also has a 5.19 ERA over the past three seasons, so he will need to produce to keep his job. The Rays eventually put him in the bullpen last season because of his struggles.
"Whenever I get the ball, I try to pitch, keep the ball down and get outs," Hernandez said. "I don't have control if I'm moved to bullpen or if I'm starting. But I like starting. ... I feel very good. I'm ready to compete in the season."
Schmidt joining Phillies' broadcast team
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- There will be a Hall of Famer in the Phillies' broadcast booth this season.
Comcast SportsNet announced Wednesday that Mike Schmidt will be in the booth for 13 Sunday games at Citizens Bank Park. Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews were dismissed as part of Comcast SportsNet's 25-year contract with the Phillies. Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs took their place.
Moyer will broadcast 109 games this season, including Spring Training. Stairs will broadcast 108. Their first broadcast, which will air on MLB.TV, is Wednesday in the Grapefruit League opener against the Blue Jays.
Schmidt has been in Spring Training as a guest instructor since 2002, but he has not been here this year because of an undisclosed illness.
"Mike is treating a health issue that requires him to remain near his doctors, and he will be unable to attend Spring Training as a field instructor this year," a Phillies spokesman said in a statement in January. "Mike plans to visit camp in the middle of March as part of his marketing relationship with the Phillies and continue his normal visits to Philadelphia throughout the summer."
Clark 'concerned' about Phils-NCAA involvement
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Major League Baseball Players Association visited camp Wednesday to talk to its players, and afterward MLBPA executive director Tony Clark met with reporters and said the union is "concerned" about the Phillies' recent involvement with the NCAA.
The Phillies turned in Oregon State pitcher Ben Wetzler and Washington State outfielder Jason Monda to the NCAA for using agents during negotiations after they did not sign contracts with the team.
Wetzler and Monda were drafted in the fifth and sixth rounds of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, respectively. Monda has been reinstated by the NCAA, but Wetzler has been suspended the first 11 games of the season.
"Concerned and troubled, I'm thinking those two words connect," Clark said. "Yes, we are concerned. Based on what we find out will determine what, if anything, lends itself to further discussion. But yes we are concerned enough to be further inquiring about what may have happened. We are gathering information as we speak.
"I don't know how it happened. I don't know why it happened. I don't know what the rationale was behind it. I really don't know. I hope to know at some point soon."
The Phillies said little, other than issuing a statement acknowledging their involvement and saying they do not believe this will damage their reputation.
• Ryan Howard hit a first-pitch single to left-center field in the first inning on Wednesday against Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ to tie the game at 1. Howard is trying to improve against lefties this spring. "I really liked Howard's aggressiveness early in the count," Sandberg said. "You want to see if he can make [lefties] throw the ball over the plate. Be patient, be relaxed in those situations. Get a good ball to hit. Make the pitcher come to him. If it means being patient and taking walks, that's for the betterment of the team. Spit on it, take the walk and be a baserunner. Will that result in some walks? Seventy-five to 100, 120? Probably."
• Right-hander Phillippe Aumont struggled in his debut. He walked Melky Cabrera and Bautista in the third before allowing both runners to score.
"It's his first time out," pitching coach Bob McClure said. "First time out jitters, trying too hard maybe, trying to make the team on the first day."
• Right-hander Jeff Manship allowed one hit and struck out three in two scoreless innings.
"He threw the ball very well, mixing up pitches," Sandberg said. "He really shows a knack for mixing it up."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.