Nice debut for Nola after reminiscing with Bryce

Pitcher, slugger glad to be 'mates; Pivetta ready for big step

March 5th, 2019

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- has faced more than any other player in his four-year career.

Both are happy to never face each other again.

Harper has hit .303 (10-for-33) with three home runs, seven RBIs, two walks and 13 strikeouts in his career against Nola. But Harper has hit just .136 (3-for-22) with one homer, one walk and 11 strikeouts over the past two seasons against him. Harper probably knew that recent history when he said Saturday during his introductory news conference at Spectrum Field that he is happy to be Nola’s teammate. Harper repeated the sentiment to Nola the other day near the batting cages.

“But you got me on a changeup last year,” Nola said, referring to a homer he allowed to him.

“You gave me one right there,” Harper replied.

Nola smiled and said, “If I had thrown a fastball, I might have had him.”

Nola allowed one hit, one walk and struck out three in three scoreless innings Tuesday in the Phillies' 2-1 walk-off victory over the Cardinals in a Grapefruit League game at Spectrum Field. It was his first start of the spring, as the Phillies have had their projected five-man rotation pitching in controlled live batting practice sessions.

Pivetta ready to take a step forward

The Phillies projected to take a step forward in 2018, and he did. He went 8-10 with a 6.02 ERA and a 4.87 FIP in 26 starts as a rookie in 2017. He went 7-14 with a 4.77 ERA and a 3.80 FIP in 33 appearances (32 starts) last season.

The 3.80 FIP is one reason why the Phillies are confident that Pivetta, 26, will be even better this year.

“I’m going to have more time,” Pivetta said, when asked why he believes he will be better. “You get more years in the big leagues, you’re more seasoned, you learn more, you learn more from your mistakes. You see what you failed on, and you progress forward and take those small steps forward. You’re not trying to reinvent the wheel every single year. It’s just taking a small step to be perfect each and every single time and do little things better.

“Personally, I still have a ton to learn. Now is the year where I’m not going to take as many steps backward. We’re in a winning atmosphere. That’s not going to get us anywhere. We want to win. I’ve got to be pushing forward each and every single time because my teammates are going to be relying on me.”

The Bryce report

Harper remains on schedule to make his Phillies debut in a Grapefruit League game Saturday against the Blue Jays at Spectrum Field. The game is a sellout.

Harper, who will be the team’s DH on Saturday, stood in the batter’s box Tuesday morning to see pitches from Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin and left-hander JoJo Reyes. Harper is scheduled to play in a simulated game Wednesday morning against right-hander Jerad Eickhoff. He will play in another sim game Thursday afternoon against Minor League pitchers.

Extra bases

• Outfielder Odubel Herrera (Grade 1 strain in left hamstring) is out with the flu for the next few days.

• Second baseman Cesar Hernandez (Grade 1 strain of right hip flexor) is progressing as expected.

• Outfielder Roman Quinn (mild strain of right oblique) is improving at a faster rate than anticipated.

• Jimmy Rollins and Bobby Abreu are in camp for at least the next few days as guest instructors. Rollins spent much of the first few innings Tuesday chatting with Charlie Manuel and Larry Bowa, who are in uniform and working with players throughout camp.

Up next

Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez makes his Grapefruit League debut Wednesday afternoon against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla. (1:07 p.m. ET). Right-hander Aaron Sanchez starts for Toronto.