Pair of Veterans Pitching Well in Phillies Bullpen
One of the Philadelphia Philies’ newer additions — reliever Tony Watson — made his Grapefruit League debut in Sunday’s game against the New York Yankees.
Watson signed a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training in mid-February and is expected to battle to be the teams left-handed pitcher out of the bullpen.
The 35-year-old spent the last three seasons with the San Francisco Giants, one with the Dodgers and his first seven with the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 627 career games (591 innings pitched), Watson has an outstanding 2.80 ERA and 32 saves to go along with a 40-25 record.
In Sunday’s 4-0 loss to the Yankees, Watson struck out two, issued one walk and no hits over the course of the eighth inning.
The veteran has a good chance of earning his way into the Phillies bullpen, he along with fellow non-roster invitee Brandon Kintzler, both could earn a roster spot and help what was a historically bad bullpen in 2020.
Kintzler threw one inning with one strike out. So far in three spring innings, the veteran right-hander has three strike outs and given up just one hit.
“They know how to pitch,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi told reporters after the game.
The Phillies bullpen is shaping up to be one of the more interesting battles in Clearwater. With Archie Bradley and Hector Neris about the only two arms that have a definitive spot on the Opening Day roster.
As long as Watson and Kintzler continue to impress and more importantly get outs, they should make the trip to Philadelphia when the regular season starts.
Righty Zack Wheeler wasn’t as sharp in his second start of spring, allowing four runs on four hits with two walks and four strike outs over 2.1 innings pitched.
The Phillies are off on Monday, with Zach Eflin throwing a simulated game. Vince Velasquez will start on Tuesday with Spencer Howard getting the ball on Wednesday.
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