DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Soon, Jay Bruce said.
Bruce played first base for five innings Sunday in a 9-0 loss to the Blue Jays in a Grapefruit League game at TD Ballpark. He is projected to be the team’s Opening Day left fielder, especially with Andrew McCutchen still recovering from ACL surgery on his left knee. But Bruce has not played in the outfield this spring. The Phillies are bringing him along slowly after he injured his left elbow last summer, limiting him almost exclusively to pinch-hitting duties after July 16.
“Beggars can’t be choosers at this point,” Bruce said about playing in the field for the first time this spring. “It felt good to get out there. You feel a little more in-tune with the game when you’re on the field. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to. We’re on track as far as my arm goes. It feels good. Everything is feeling fine.”
Bruce’s lack of work in the outfield this spring has flown under the radar, but his health is important to the team’s success. He batted .221 with 12 home runs, 31 RBIs and a .510 slugging percentage last season with the Phillies. He's mashed 312 home runs during his 12-year career. He can help, if he is playing. He said he expects to play in the outfield in a Grapefruit League game sometime after Wednesday’s off-day.
Bruce played twice in the outfield in simulated games at Carpenter Complex. He was not challenging his arm with any throws, though.
“My biggest goal is to be ready for Opening Day,” Bruce said.
He said he thinks he will be.
Seranthony impresses again
Phillies right-hander Seranthony Domínguez struck out two in a perfect inning of work in his second Grapefruit League appearance during Sunday's loss.
He threw a scoreless inning Thursday against the Blue Jays in Clearwater.
“It’s a bright spot,” manager Joe Girardi said. “The fact that he’s able to get quick outs and throw strikes with all his pitches, the gun up there said 95 [mph]. I don’t know how close that is, but it looked like it came out pretty good.”
Domínguez is coming back from a season-ending elbow injury. His performance so far is encouraging. If there are no setbacks, he will be in the Opening Day bullpen.
“Just stay healthy,” Girardi said. “I really don’t know if we’ll use him back-to-back early in the year. I’ve talked about that. That’s something we’ll have discussions, our medical team, pitching coach Bryan [Price], Matt [Klentak], Ned [Rice] and everyone involved. But my inkling is somewhat to be careful using him back to back.”
• Right-hander Deolis Guerra pitched a scoreless inning in relief on Sunday. He has a 3.18 ERA in 5 2/3 inning this spring. He is out of options. The combination of Guerra being on the 40-man roster and being out of options will give him an extended look to make the bullpen.
• Right-hander Bud Norris is a non-roster invitee competing for a bullpen job. He allowed three runs during the eighth inning on Sunday and has allowed four runs in four innings this spring. Norris did not pitch in the big leagues last season. He has a June 30 opt-out clause in his contract.
• Right-hander Blake Parker allowed one run in 1 2/3 innings of work vs. the Blue Jays. He has a 7.71 ERA in 4 2/3 innings this spring. He has a March 19 opt-out clause.
Nola (1-0, 4.50 ERA) was to start opposite Yankees left-hander J.A. Happ (2-0, 1.00 ERA) at 1:05 p.m. ET on Monday in a Grapefruit League game at Spectrum Field, but he was scratched and righty Ramon Rosso was put in his place. The Phillies have not announced anything, but Nola is on track to be their Opening Day starter in Miami on March 26. The game can be seen on MLB Network and streamed live on MLB.TV.