Spring training takes on a life of its own. Moving from “catchers and pitchers” bullpens the first week, to coaches throwing batting practice, to “Live BP” the second week, Tuesday began the live batting practice phase where pitchers throw with an actual umpire calling balls and strikes.
The Phillies had five pitcher throw “Live BP” Tuesday on Carlton Field under the watchful eye of Joe Girardi. They threw 20-25 pitches each but with the manager looking on from behind the mound, the pressure for pitchers trying to make an impression on the manager could not be greater.
First up on the mound was opening day starter Aaron Nola. The third batter he faced was a minor league shortstop Nick Maton, who ended last season with the Reading Fightin Phils. Maton put Nola in his book his first time up by lining a homer over the right field fence. What a way to introduce yourself to Joe Girardi!
The next pitcher up was Trevor Kelly, an impressive submariner acquired over the winter. He was effective when he kept his pitches at the knees of the batters he faced. Kelly proceeded to strikeout Maton in a later at bat.
Lefty Garrett Cleavinger was the next. He struck out Scott Kingery to get one of his outs.
Longtime minor league starter Adonis Medina then took to the mound. He has come to camp in great-looking shape in his bid to make the AAA Lehigh Valley roster this season. He was greeted with a line-drive single to center by Didi Gregorius.
The final pitcher to take to the mound was Connor Brogdon who finish up strong for Lehigh Valley to end last season. He faced Kingery, who lined to right field.
That brought to an end to the first edition of live batting practice. Most of the time the pitchers were a little bit ahead of the hitters but Nick Maton will likely not forget his line drive homer off of the Phillies No. 1 starter Aaron Nola to get his spring training started. You only get one chance to make a first impression and Nick took full advantage of his chance!