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Arrieta breaks in, breaks bats in sim game

New Phillies ace throws roughly 30 pitches, impresses hitters; next step to be determined
Special to MLB.com

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The action was simulated, but the importance for Jake Arrieta to do well on Saturday was real.

Wearing his new, bright red Phillies uniform, Arrieta threw two innings and approximately 30 pitches in a simulated game as he prepares for the regular season. The right-hander signed a three-year, $75 million deal on Monday.

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CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The action was simulated, but the importance for Jake Arrieta to do well on Saturday was real.

Wearing his new, bright red Phillies uniform, Arrieta threw two innings and approximately 30 pitches in a simulated game as he prepares for the regular season. The right-hander signed a three-year, $75 million deal on Monday.

View Full Game Coverage

"I'm still getting to know these guys a lot, but physically I feel really good about where I'm at," Arrieta said, adding he would need to speak to pitching coach Rick Kranitz about the next step going forward. "We're in a great spot. It feels really good."

Tweet from @Phillies: Stepping in the batter's box against this fella?Irish you luck. #StPatricksDay pic.twitter.com/LZyn0iHsUa

Though there were no fielders behind him, Arrieta said he threw each of his pitches, with the mindset of seeing as many different varieties of counts and situations to prepare how to react in a game-like situation.

"Making quality pitches with the offspeed in and out of the strike zone for chases and being able to work my way back into situations where I happen to fall behind," Arrieta said of his goal during the session, which featured him throwing to Andrew Knapp. "And timing is vitally important at this point in the year. Once I am able to establish that, everything falls into place naturally."

Video: ATL@PHI: Knapp, Phillies excited to catch for Arrieta

The plan going forward is currently unclear, but Arrieta said he will likely get a side session in "another day or two." It was also unknown whether the next live action would be in a Grapefruit League game, Minor League game or another simulated game, but he added he would likely throw 50-70 pitches.

"As long as we can get that pitch count to a point where we're comfortable going into the season, I think we're going to be just fine," he said.

Video: Arrieta feeling good after simulated game

What he doesn't necessarily need to worry about is his stuff. Among the players hitting against Arrieta were catcher Jorge Alfaro and infielder Scott Kingery. Alfaro will need to place a new order for bats after an inside fastball, sinker and cutter broke lumber.

Kingery, meanwhile, had trouble reading Arrieta's cross-body throwing motion from the right side of the rubber that helped revitalize his career in Chicago.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"When he's throwing, he's hammering away with the sinker in and it's across the body and throws you off," Kingery said. "That curveball looks like it's coming at your head and comes back down across the middle. Every pitch is super deceptive, and I think that's what makes him a difficult pitcher to hit."

But there was one positive for Kingery.

"Alfaro got the bad end of that one, and I'm just happy I'm walking away with no broken bats," he joked.

Spring Training information

"You saw these guys walk back to the plate and smiling -- it's not an accident," manager Gabe Kapler said. "That's a different kind of stuff than they see on a regular basis. Arrieta has always had a high degree of deception, but now he's got a real good command of his pitches. It's better now than it ever has been, and I know when a guy steps across his body and fires the other way, you lose sight of the baseball. With that velocity and stuff, it's a lead-heavy ball."

Arrieta joins what is a young team looking to make its mark, much like his former team. Arrieta helped the upstart Cubs in winning a World Series title in 2016, a year after a stellar National League Cy Young Award-winning season in '15 that saw him go 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA.

"I like what's going on here -- a lot of guys are healthy, a lot of guys are competing and a lot of youth, and it's a really fun time to be in this organization," Arrieta said. "I just look to bring whatever I can bring to these guys from an experience standpoint, from a veteran leadership role, to help these guys to make that transition and be the player they are capable of."

Greg Zeck is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Phillies on Saturday.

Philadelphia Phillies, Jake Arrieta