Myers gets to pitch in opener

Posted: April 01, 2009

CLEARWATER, Fla. - During an active afternoon yesterday, the Phillies released Geoff Jenkins, named Chan Ho Park their fifth starter, told J.A. Happ that his immediate future was uncertain and spoke with free-agent slugger Gary Sheffield.

But they weren't finished until a few minutes before 10 o'clock last night. After the team defeated Toronto, 9-1, at Bright House Field, manager Charlie Manuel announced that Brett Myers would start on opening night Sunday against Atlanta at Citizens Bank Park.

"The fact that we gave him the ball the last two years, the way he pitched here, it was a logical choice," Manuel said.

In his final start of spring training last night, Myers pitched four innings against the Toronto Blue Jays, allowing three hits and one run. He struck out three.

Afterward, Myers did not reveal the team's decision but said that recent postseason experience had given him a different perspective on opening night.

"I don't think you can get any more jacked up than pitching in the World Series," he said.

Entering the final year of his contract, the sometimes inconsistent Myers said he wanted to remain with the team.

"I'd like to play in Philly," he said. "But it all depends on how I pitch and their plan for the future."

"If [impending free agency] motivates him, that's good enough [for] me," Manuel said. "Whatever motivates him, whatever turns him on, whatever makes him go, what the hell."

Pitching coach Rich Dubee said that Myers' success this year will depend on his mental approach. Dubee believes that Myers was not totally committed to starting last spring after enjoying his stint as closer in 2007.

"Brett can have any type of year that Brett wants to have," Dubee said. "He's in a lot better frame of mind than he was last year."

Contact staff writer Andy Martino

at 215-854-4874 or

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