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Arrieta lays out plans for ramp-up to April 8

Phillies starter to pitch Tuesday's spring finale, attend Opening Day, toss 60-70 pitch sim game before season debut
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jake Arrieta has no plans to miss Opening Day in Atlanta, even though he will not pitch for the Phillies until April 8.

"I wouldn't want to be anywhere other than in that moment with the guys," Arrieta said Sunday morning following a bullpen session at Spectrum Field. "Being a part of watching [Aaron] Nola get prepared and watching these guys on their first Opening Day roster, the excitement. That's one of the coolest days of the year, by far."

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jake Arrieta has no plans to miss Opening Day in Atlanta, even though he will not pitch for the Phillies until April 8.

"I wouldn't want to be anywhere other than in that moment with the guys," Arrieta said Sunday morning following a bullpen session at Spectrum Field. "Being a part of watching [Aaron] Nola get prepared and watching these guys on their first Opening Day roster, the excitement. That's one of the coolest days of the year, by far."

The team announced Saturday that Arrieta will make his Phillies debut in the series finale against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

Video: Kapler breaks down Arrieta's timetable before debut

Arrieta, who signed with the Phillies on March 12, is still building arm strength for that start. He will pitch Tuesday in the Grapefruit League finale against the Pirates at Spectrum Field. After flying with the team to Atlanta, he said he prefers to remain with the team and pitch a simulated game next week at Citi Field, where the Phillies will play a three-game series against the Mets.

But Arrieta said he could return to Clearwater and throw a simulated game at Carpenter Complex instead.

"Any way to just get 60-70 pitches, really, with a guy in the box," he said. "I think that would be sufficient."

At the very least, Arrieta is just happy to have a date: April 8.

"Now we're working toward that," he said. "I've got a pretty good schedule set up to get me prepared for that. In a week and a half, two weeks, we'll be off and running."

Pivetta looks ready
Right-hander Nick Pivetta is scheduled to start Friday night against the Braves in Atlanta. He made his final Grapefruit League start a good one.

He allowed just two hits and struck out five in three scoreless innings in the Phillies' 6-5 loss to the Orioles at Spectrum Field.

Video: BAL@PHI: Pivetta K's Tejada to escape jam in the 2nd

"I'm not sure I've ever seen Pivetta so sharp," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. "We've been saying that the last couple of times out with Pivetta. We want to see more and more and more, but we stayed disciplined because we have a plan to have him be healthy and strong, and we got to the area that we wanted to get to innings-wise on the spring. We stayed right with our approach and we made the decision to get him out of there."

Ben Lively allowed two runs in four innings. He is competing with Drew Hutchison and Zach Eflin to be the team's No. 5 starter. Lively could end up in the bullpen to start the season, if he does not make the rotation.

Valentin optioned, Pinto DFA'd
The Phillies designated right-hander Ricardo Pinto for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster for Scott Kingery. They optioned Jesmuel Valentin to make room for him on the 25-man roster.

Up next
Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez is slated to start Monday's game against the Pirates. The 1:05 p.m. ET contest will be broadcast live on MLB.TV and MLB Network, and by exclusive audio webcast on phillies.com. Monday marks Velasquez's final spring tuneup, as he is next scheduled to start Saturday's series finale against the Braves at SunTrust Park.

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.

Philadelphia Phillies, Jake Arrieta