Phillies Notebook: Kendrick: 'I wanted to stay in the game'

Posted: April 07, 2013

THE PHILLIES feel good enough about Kyle Kendrick's place on the pitching staff that they gave him a guaranteed $7.5 million before he threw a pitch in spring training 14 months ago, and they penciled him into the rotation at the end of the 2012 season.

But there remains a clear distinction between the top half of the Phillies' rotation and the back half of it that begins with Kendrick. The All-Stars are given a little more leeway while the Kendricks and Lannans are more likely to get the quicker hooks.

At least that was probably Kendrick's perspective Friday, when he was ticked he didn't get the opportunity to pitch out of trouble in the eventual 13-4 defeat.

"When I came out, no runs were scored yet," Kendrick said of leaving with the Phillies up 4-2 in the sixth. "Yeah, it's frustrating, you want to finish the inning, be leading and you want to win the game. It's frustrating."

Kendrick took a shutout into the fifth but three of the first four Royals batters reached in the inning and the Royals cut a 4-0 deficit to 4-2. Kendrick ran into more trouble in the sixth, and with two on, two out and the Royals' best hitter standing in the on-deck circle, manager Charlie Manuel called for an intentional walk and a lefty out of the bullpen.

Kendrick's last four pitches were intentional balls to Kansas City All-Star Billy Butler, a designated hitter wearing pinch-hitter's clothing in a National League ballpark this weekend.

With runners on second and third and two outs, Manuel opted to put the righthanded Butler on first and take his chances with lefty Jeremy Horst on the lefthanded-hitting Alex Gordon. Gordon hit a three-run triple that gave KC the lead for good.

"Butler is their best hitter," Manuel said. "He's their best hitter and he's the guy I wasn't going to let beat us today. And he's standing there in a good spot to beat you. I liked the lefty on [Gordon]."

Kendrick had held Kansas City to two singles in the game's first four innings. But six of the last 10 batters he faced, not counting the intentional walk, reached on hits.

Kendrick had thrown 88 pitches when he was pulled. With his team holding the lead, he would have liked a little more leash and the opportunity to pitch to Butler or Gordon.

"I'm not knocking Charlie's decision at all, but I wanted to stay in the game," Kendrick said. "I'm a competitor. It's not my decision. I respect it. But I wouldn't say I wanted to come out of the game."

Trouble with Brown

Domonic Brown misplayed a ball in leftfield Friday; he dived and the ball got by him and three runs scored in the seventh inning.

Brown's uneasy defense was part of the reason why the Phillies had never committed to him on a full-time basis. For his part, Brown was as impressive defensively as he was offensively this spring. But two plays Friday led to an obvious question: Why is Brown playing left and not right?

"Nix and [John] Mayberry have both played a lot of rightfield," Manuel said. "Domonic has played left and right. I kind of like him better in left because of how he moves and everything."

Brown played both corner outfield positions this spring and said he's comfortable in both. With Delmon Young destined to play right and Darin Ruf in the mix this spring in left, the Phils didn't commit to either position for Brown before the season.

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