Phillies Notes: Dubee: Phillies' fifth starter will be Blanton

With Joe Blanton penciled in as the fifth starter, righthander Kyle Kendrick's status is unclear.
With Joe Blanton penciled in as the fifth starter, righthander Kyle Kendrick's status is unclear.
Posted: February 14, 2011

CLEARWATER, Fla. - To be clear, there is no competition for the fifth starter's spot. The job is Joe Blanton's, assuming, of course, a trade does not prevent him from heading north with the Phillies.

"Joe's our fifth starter," pitching coach Rich Dubee said.

So where, exactly, does that leave Kyle Kendrick?

"It's out of my hands," Kendrick said. "I just need to have a good spring, and they'll make the decision."

The decision for now is to stretch both Kendrick and Vance Worley out as starters. Either one could end up in the bullpen for the Phillies, perhaps taking the innings Chad Durbin manned the previous three seasons. Durbin remains unsigned and unlikely to return to Philadelphia because the Phillies like the righthanded pitching depth they have. Kendrick, who signed a one-year, $2.45 million deal this off-season to avoid arbitration, is included in that mix.

"Kyle could fill a lot of roles," Dubee said. "He could be that long guy out of the bullpen. He could be that spot starter. That stuff will all sort itself out."

A lot will depend on how many pitchers the Phillies take north. With a starting rotation that could go deep into games, the Phillies may decide an 11-man staff is more than enough. That would leave just one bullpen spot open.

"It's too early right now" to decide that, Dubee said. "It's not unlikely. It's a possibility."

Rollins comes early. Jimmy Rollins was not seen Sunday, but he has been using the facilities in Clearwater for the past week. Why is that noteworthy? Well, Rollins almost never shows up before the mandatory date for position players.

A few Phillies officials made a point of noting Rollins' early arrival. One of them was hitting coach Greg Gross, who said he was surprised to see Rollins so early. He reported the shortstop appears to be in great shape.

Of course, there should be no shortage of motivation for Rollins, who is entering a contract year.

Extra bases. Position players are not required to report until Saturday and only a few - Chase Utley, John Mayberry Jr., Brian Bocock, and Harold Garcia - were around Sunday. Other position players have been floating in and out of the facility. . . . Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels are among the two groups of pitchers who will throw off a mound Monday.


Contact staff writer Matt Gelb at 215-854-2928 or mgelb@phillynews.com.

Follow on Twitter: @magelb.

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