2/28/2014 6:18 P.M. ET
Rollins hits big fly, but Sandberg likes the walks
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jimmy Rollins hit a three-run home run in an eight-run third inning Friday during a 10-6 victory over the Tigers at Bright House Field.
It came against Tigers right-hander Jose Valdez, who split last season with Class A West Michigan and Class A Advanced Lakeland. But Rollins is trying to recapture his stroke after the worst offensive performance of his career last year. He also walked twice in his first two plate appearances, giving him three in five plate appearances in two games.
"I liked the walks," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "The first 3 1/2 games here, as a group we've gotten walks when strikes aren't thrown, and that's good. With Jimmy becoming a baserunner and taking the walks, swinging at strikes, that's big. In the two-hole, to get on base is a priority for him. ... He's still got his pop. But it's not something I'm stressing or looking at. Keep a good approach. A home run swing from him for me is just a reaction on a pitch."
Kendrick optimistic heading into important season
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- This is a big season for Kyle Kendrick.
He is hoping to bounce back from a forgettable finish in 2013, in which he went 3-9 with a 6.45 ERA in his final 14 starts. If he does, he could turn it into a lucrative multiyear contract as he has the opportunity to become a free agent following the season.
"I take every year as a big year, but this is a big year for our team, and me personally," Kendrick said Friday after allowing three runs in two innings in a 10-6 victory over the Tigers at Bright House Field. "The main thing is health, that's a big key. If I can stay healthy, make my starts and pitch my innings while giving us a chance to win -- I know I say it every time and it's a cliche, but it's the truth. If you stay on the field, that's big. That can help yourself. Those are what my goals are this year. I plan on doing that."
Kendrick avoided salary arbitration this winter when he signed a one-year, $7.675 million contract. He is 64-55 with a 4.38 ERA in 194 appearances (153 starts) in his seven-year career. That should line up the right-hander for a nice deal.
Consider Scott Feldman (51-56, 4.62 ERA in 234 appearances, 131 starts), who signed a three-year, $30 million contract this offseason with the Astros; Phil Hughes (56-50, 4.54 ERA in 182 appearances, 132 starts), who signed a three-year, $24 million deal with the Twins; and Jason Vargas (51-58, 4.30 ERA in 174 appearances, 154 starts), who received a four-year, $32 million deal from the Royals.
"Obviously, I want to stay here," Kendrick said. "I grew up in this organization. I'm used to it here. I live here. Spring Training is here. The organization knows me and I know the organization. I would like to stay here, but we'll cross that bridge when it comes. I would love to stay here. As long as they want me to. I want to go somewhere that wants me."
Of course, Kendrick has to produce and stay healthy. He finished last season on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, but said he has had no issues since.
"I just had some tightness, and [Dr. David Altchek] suggested I not throw," he said. "That route was probably the best decision for my career. We went that way. He actually said, for my age, my shoulder looked pretty good. I feel great. I plan on having a good, strong season."
Pettibone progresses after cortisone injection
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies right-hander Jonathan Pettibone said he took a step forward Friday morning with his first bullpen session following a cortisone injection in his right shoulder Feb. 17.
"Arm felt good," he said afterward. "I think we're back on track. That was like the first stepping stone, and [we] cleared that. Now it's, 'Game on.'"
Pettibone, who finished last season on the disabled list because of shoulder inflammation, said his shoulder has felt fine since the injection.
"Once I got the cortisone, I was feeling smoother and kind of fresh," he said. "In the week leading up, everything felt fine. So I'm staying positive."
It is unlikely Pettibone could be ready to pitch by the beginning of the season, but he said he is hopeful he could be ready the first week of April.
• Right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez had been scheduled to start Saturday against the Yankees in Tampa, Fla., but he will follow David Buchanan instead. "No physical reason," pitching coach Bob McClure said. "It's just his first time out. I wouldn't start you your first time out. I'd like you to work into it."
• Right-hander Phillippe Aumont threw a clean inning in Friday's game. He was roughed up in his first appearance Wednesday. "I liked him throwing his fastball and sticking with it," Sandberg said. "He doesn't have to throw his breaking balls right now. Pound the zone with the fastball, that's when he's effective. Good live fastball, four-seamers, two-seamers. Two power pitches right there without throwing a breaking pitch. That's what I saw and that's what I liked."
• Marlon Byrd went 2-for-3 with two runs scored Friday. "Byrdie had a couple good at-bats," Sandberg said. "He's been battling his at-bats with good results."
• Darin Ruf went 1-for-3 with two RBIs. He has four RBIs in two games.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.