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Stiff competition awaits for Phillies' bullpen

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- It is too early to say much about how the Phillies bullpen might look Opening Day.

But everybody knows closer Jonathan Papelbon is a lock. Left-handers Antonio Bastardo and Jake Diekman also are safe bets. And whenever Mike Adams is healthy -- he is recovering from right shoulder surgery -- he also will be in the 'pen.

There are a host of candidates for what could be just a few spots. Right-hander Brad Lincoln is out of options, which is worth noting. If there is a tie between two players for a job, the player with options is often sent to Triple-A to open the season.

"It's early in the spring for me to really comment on that," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "I like to leave that a little bit open-ended. The players will dictate that in a lot of ways. It's a little bit too early."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for
Read More: Philadelphia Phillies, Brad Lincoln