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Notes: Arrieta focused on strong 2020 season

@ToddZolecki
July 11, 2020

PHILADELPHIA -- Jake Arrieta entered Spring Training planning to prove himself over 30 plus starts this season. He battled injuries each of his first two years with the Phillies, going a combined 18-19 with a 4.26 ERA in 55 starts. Finally healthy, he will have only 10-plus starts in this

PHILADELPHIA -- Jake Arrieta entered Spring Training planning to prove himself over 30 plus starts this season.

He battled injuries each of his first two years with the Phillies, going a combined 18-19 with a 4.26 ERA in 55 starts. Finally healthy, he will have only 10-plus starts in this now shortened season to make his case for potential suitors this offseason in free agency. Of course, the economic landscape in baseball because of the COVID-19 pandemic adds another layer of uncertainty into his situation.

“Well, I mean, there's always a concern about free agency, right?” Arrieta said Saturday at Citizens Bank Park, where he threw three-plus scoreless innings in a scrimmage. “It doesn't matter if it's my free-agent year or the couple years before that or last year or this year, right? There's always concerns. It's just a matter of what those concerns are and for what reason. … We'll just have to play it out and see.

“I'm comfortable with whatever happens after the season. It is what it is. There's no reason to complain about it or think you're the only one in that situation. There's going to be a lot of guys in the same boat as I am. We'll just have to handle that when that time approaches. But right now, first and foremost, it's about the health and safety of our guys and coaches and people that provide everything they do for us. We'll deal with free agency after October.”

Arrieta allowed one hit and one walk on Saturday. He struck out one. If everybody is healthy, he is expected to pitch behind Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler the first series of the season against the Marlins. The right-hander believes he could throw 80-85 pitches his first time through the rotation.

Zach Eflin was expected to slide behind Arrieta, but he has been battling back spasms. He is day to day and has not faced live hitters yet.

“We don’t expect it to be too long,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “We hope not.”

Nick Pivetta is competing with Vince Velasquez to be the No. 5 starter. Pivetta allowed seven hits and five runs in three innings in Saturday’s scrimmage.

“He didn’t really have his curveball today,” Girardi said. “It’s the first time these guys are seeing hitters and competition. You’re going to see some of that. My concern is how sharp pitchers are, not how built up they are, but how sharp they are, just because of the lack of reps that they had. We will look for improvement on that the next time out.”

‘Irish’ Mike Ryan Dies at 78
Former Phillies bullpen coach “Irish” Mike Ryan died Tuesday at his home in New Hampshire.

He played four seasons with the Red Sox (1964-67), six seasons with the Phillies (1968-73) and one season with the Pirates (1974). After his playing career, he joined the Phillies’ Minor League system in 1977 and was the Phillies’ bullpen coach from 1980-95, helping the club to a World Series championship in '80 and National League pennants in '83 and '93.

Ryan is survived by his wife, Suzanne.

According to the Red Sox, Ryan’s family wishes to dedicate a large granite bench in Haverhill, N.H., in his memory. Donations to the memorial can be made to:

The Mike Ryan Memorial Bench Fund
c/o Pentucket Bank
1 Merrimack St.
Haverhill, MA 01830

Extra bases
• Right-hander Victor Arano is healthy, but behind schedule. He was recovering from a right shoulder injury in Spring Training.

“We’re just not ready to put him in a game,” Girardi said. Arano will throw a live BP session on Monday.

• Bench coach Rob Thomson has rejoined the team after previously testing positive for COVID-19. The Phillies remain without bullpen coach Jim Gott and catching coach Greg Brodzinski. They also tested positive for COVID-19.

• Some Phillies coaches played in the field in the later innings of a long scrimmage on Saturday. The Phillies extended the scrimmage because Friday’s workout got cancelled because of rain.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .