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.