"I'm playing for over a month with the best players in the world," Morgan said. "I hold myself to a high standard to go out there, and I really believe I can compete with these guys."
Morgan is a fast riser. The University of Alabama product was selected in the third round of the 2011 draft. He started last season at single-A Clearwater and finished at Reading. He totaled a 3.35 ERA with 169 strikeouts in 1582/3 innings. He throws four pitches, a skill that had scouts gushing late last season.
On Friday, he froze Howard with a nifty backdoor change-up for a called third strike. Pitching coach Rich Dubee relayed a scouting report on Morgan, saying he succeeds with various combinations of his arsenal on a given night. There are few better ways to describe a young arm.
If every day during spring training is like Friday, manager Charlie Manuel will have no worries about his outfield.
Darin Ruf doubled in each of his first two at-bats during the intrasquad game. Domonic Brown singled and doubled his two times up.
"Ruf and Brown had a good day, didn't they?" Manuel said. "They had two good at-bats. We'll see. They'll play [Saturday]."
Ruf will bat fifth in Saturday's Grapefruit League opener vs. Houston, with Brown hitting sixth.
Chase Utley struck out swinging and walked in his two plate appearances Friday. He also helped turn two double plays at second base. He will bat third for Manuel on Saturday.
The only regular not starting Saturday is Jimmy Rollins. Howard will play both Saturday and Sunday, Manuel said.
Phils in the WBC
The Phillies will be represented by 10 players in this year's World Baseball Classic:
Tim Kennelly, C, Australia.
Lucas Rojo, IF, Brazil.
Phillippe Aumont, RHP; Tyson Gillies, OF; Jay Johnson, LHP; Pete Orr, IF, Canada.
Rodrigo Lopez, RHP; Sebastian Valle, C, Mexico.
Rollins, SS, United States.
Cesar Jimenez, LHP, Venezuela.