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Veteran Camp 'fortunate' to be in camp with Phillies

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Shawn Camp's personal pitching philosophy seems to jive with everything he has heard about the Phillies' pitching philosophy this spring:

Keep the ball down, get ground-ball outs.

"I'm fortunate to be here," he said Tuesday afternoon at Bright House Field, where he threw one inning in an intrasquad game. "This is kind of a place I've always wanted to be."

Two years ago with the Cubs, Camp, 38, tied for the big league lead with 80 appearances. But he also warmed up 120 times, which took its toll. He entered last spring feeling the effects and carried a 7.04 ERA in 26 appearances before the Cubs released him. He signed a Minor League contract with the Phillies but has a legitimate chance to make the bullpen based on his track record.

"I thought he threw good today," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He looked like he pitched a little bit, could take a little off, was down in the zone, the ball was going both ways. He looks like he knows what he's doing when he's pitching."

Camp dropped 12 pounds in the offseason, training with Texas reliever Jason Frasor (they were teammates in Toronto). He also entered camp having worked to re-establish his changeup, something he lacked last season.

He believes a third quality pitch will help him against left-handers.

"It's kind of put me back on the map," he said. "And my arm feels great. I feel like I've got as good a shot as anybody.

"A lot of people think the older you get, the less valuable you are. It's ageism at times, but I've never been a power pitcher. I'm just a guy that has thrown down in the zone and gets ground balls. I feel great, and I think you have to go off how you feel. I closed the chapter on last year. Even from two years ago when I pitched 80 games. Nobody remembers what you did two years ago, you know? After this year nobody will remember what I did last year. I think it's 'what have you done for me lately?' I think if I go out there with as much confidence as I have my whole career, I can be a valuable asset to the bullpen because I can get the ball on the ground. I think that's where I set myself up for success, especially in our 'pen."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for
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