LAKELAND, Fla. -- Andrew Hutchison just might be the biggest surprise in Phillies camp.He signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training on Feb. 15, one day after Phillies pitchers and catchers held their first official workout. After another solid performance on Saturday in a 4-1 victory
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Andrew Hutchison just might be the biggest surprise in Phillies camp.
He signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training on Feb. 15, one day after Phillies pitchers and catchers held their first official workout. After another solid performance on Saturday in a 4-1 victory over the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium, Hutchison's contract was selected by the Phillies on Sunday. Veteran catcher Cameron Rupp was designated for assignment to make room for the right-hander.
Hutchison, 27, allowed one hit and three walks in four scoreless innings against the Tigers. He struck out three. He has a 2.75 ERA in 19 2/3 innings this spring.
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"I think I've pitched very well," Hutchison said on Saturday. "I think I've taken advantage of all the opportunities I've been given. I feel good about the way I've performed."
There was a strong argument to keep him. First, he pitched as well as anybody in camp. Second, the Phillies need arms, especially with right-handers Jerad Eickhoff and Mark Leiter opening the season on the disabled list. Third, Jacob Arrieta will not start until April 8 against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. Hutchison could be the No. 4 starter until Arrieta joins the team, and could remain the No. 5 starter thereafter.
Hutchison also could pitch out of the bullpen as a swingman.
"We'd be very comfortable using him in a long-relief role because of the way his slider plays," manager Gabe Kapler said on Saturday. "We'd be comfortable using him in a shorter look, and we'd also be comfortable starting a game with him, if necessary. He profiles very well in multiple positions out of the 'pen and as a starter. And as you guys know, we prize flexibility."
Hutchison on Saturday worked out of his only jam in the third. He walked Leonys Martin and Jeimer Candelario to put runners on first and second with one out. Martin stole third and Candelario stole second to put them in scoring position.
But Hutchison struck out Jose Cabrera swinging on a fastball for the second out. He then got Nicholas Castellanos to ground out on a slider to end the inning -- with some help from a runner's interference call.
"We were very interested to what was going to happen the last time he faced Cabrera," Kapler said. "He stepped up and got super competitive during that period and that stretch. I thought it was a good performance by Hutch. He gave us every assurance that he's ready for the season."
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.