As spring training games go, today's television broadcast opener is an early treat as Kyle Kendrick and the Phillies welcome back Pat Burrell and the Rays at 1:05 p.m. on CSN.
I'm looking forward to this; to me, watching that first spring training game on TV makes it feel like spring has officially set in. All that good sunshine, the young players, the veterans. Good stuff. Today, it's Kendrick's turn to state his case for the fifth starter spot, following two solid debuts by Carlos Carrasco and J.A. Happ earlier this week. The 24-year-old right-hander is trying to rebound from a 11-9, 5.49 ERA season, losing his job in the starting rotation after pitching to a 7.59 ERA after the all-star break. Also on the bump this afternoon will be Drew Naylor, 22, last season's minor league strikeout leader (156). Relievers Scott Nestor, Clay Condrey and Scott Eyre are also slated to pitch. The Tampa press notes include Brad Lidge on their list, but he's not included on the Phillies' notes. As of this writing, lineups have not been announced.