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Nola's difficult spring ends on rough note

Right-hander allows five runs against Blue Jays
March 28, 2017

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- If Aaron Nola is concerned, he is not saying it.Nola's spring ended on a sour note in Tuesday's 10-4 loss to the Blue Jays in a Grapefruit League game at Spectrum Field. Nola allowed five runs on seven hits in just 1 2/3 innings. He posted an

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- If Aaron Nola is concerned, he is not saying it.
Nola's spring ended on a sour note in Tuesday's 10-4 loss to the Blue Jays in a Grapefruit League game at Spectrum Field. Nola allowed five runs on seven hits in just 1 2/3 innings. He posted an 8.38 ERA in six starts this spring.
"A tough night, for sure," Nola said. "I felt great. I felt the best I've felt all spring. I left some balls up over the plate."
It is a fool's errand to try to predict a player's in-season success or failures based on Spring Training performance, but Nola is trying to bounce back from a rough 2016 campaign, so people are paying closer attention to his spring. He went 6-9 with a 4.78 ERA in 20 starts last season before he landed on the disabled list with an injured right elbow.

"He hasn't shown the command that makes him a good pitcher," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "I think he's going to get there. His velocity is way up, so I think his arm is healthy. I kept looking up and 92, 93, 94 [mph]. That's good to see."

Nola had a 2.65 ERA over his first 12 starts last season, but a 9.82 ERA over his final eight outings. Nola said he did not think the injury played a role in those eight starts.
"I feel good," Nola said. "The ball is coming out [of my hand] really good. It feels like my pitches are where I want them to be. There are just some things I need to work on."
Nola allowed home runs to Troy Tulowitzki and Melvin Upton Jr. during Toronto's five-run second inning.
Nola said he will pitch in a Minor League game Sunday in Clearwater, Fla., before he joins the team for Opening Day on Monday in Cincinnati. Nola is scheduled to make his first start April 8 against the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.