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Trending upward: Slowey makes strong first impression

Righty yields just one hit over two scoreless frames in Phillies debut

TAMPA, Fla. -- Phillies right-hander Kevin Slowey made a pretty routine start Wednesday afternoon against the Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Slowey spent two innings working on his fastball command in Philadelphia's second Grapefruit League game of the spring. No big deal. Well, except Yankees star Alex Rodriguez played in his first game since his season-long 2014 suspension for PED use, which meant local and national media outlets live tweeted those plate appearances across the world.

"Maybe I made it into some of those live tweets," Slowey said after throwing two scoreless innings in a 3-1 victory.

Slowey, who allowed one hit in two at-bats against Rodriguez, actually trended nationally on Twitter. A-Rod? Not so much because folks called Rodriguez any number of things on Twitter, including Rodriguez, ARod, A-Rod, etc.

Slowey is Slowey.

"All right," Slowey said. "Can I get a screen grab of that from somebody?"

Video: PHI@NYY: Phelps singles home first run of game

Cord Phelps got Philadelphia on the board in the second with an RBI single and Maikel Franco made it 2-0 with a single in the fifth.

Video: PHI@NYY: Altherr drives home Herrara

After the Yankees cut the deficit in half in the sixth, Aaron Altherr rounded out the scoring with a single in the seventh.

Slowey, 30, started Wednesday because Aaron Harang was scratched due to a back issue.

Slowey will need to continue to pitch well to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster. He is a non-roster invitee and has not pitched since the Marlins released him in June. Slowey had offers to pitch for other organizations, but he elected to stay home as his wife was pregnant with their first child.

Slowey said he would start or relieve for the Phillies, but they are asking him to start. Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Harang and Jerome Williams are locks for the first four spots. Slowey will compete with David Buchanan, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and others for the fifth spot.

Buchanan is the favorite for the No. 5 spot, but there could be an opportunity for everybody. Hamels or Lee could be traded at some point, and it is a rarity for five starters to stay healthy and effective the entire season. It is why the Phillies signed Chad Billingsley before Spring Training. Billingsley is another rotation candidate, but he is not expected to be ready until late April.

"In terms of breaking with the club, it's out of my hands," said Slowey, who is 43-36 with a 4.62 ERA in 137 appearances (106 starts) in seven seasons with the Twins and Marlins. "As long as I've been playing, every year you sort of realize that a little more. You go out there and you do what you can. For me, once I let go of the ball, that's it and I can prepare as best I can, and that's what I've done. The hope and the goal is to show them I can help the Phillies win and leave the decision up to them."

Up next: The Phillies travel to Kissimmee to play the Astros on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. ET, and fans can listen to an exclusive, free webcast on Lee, who finished last season on the DL because of an injured left elbow but has been healthy in camp, will make his Grapefruit League debut. Gonzalez, who is trying to reestablish himself as a starter after moving into the bullpen last season because of concerns about his health, is expected to pitch in relief of Lee.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his blog, The Zo Zone, and follow him on Twitter ToddZolecki.
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