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Phillies, Clay Buchholz begin final week of spring training in home matchup against Pirates

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The 2017 Grapefruit League season is drawing to an end.

A week from today, the Philadelphia Phillies (10-15-4) will arrive in Cincinnati ahead of their Opening Day matchup against the Reds the following afternoon.

Just seven spring training games remain in six days — four of which are home at Spectrum Field. On Sunday, RHP Clay Buchholz and the Phillies will host the National League's winningest team this spring, the Pittsburgh Pirates (18-8-1). They will oppose former Phillie — RHP Josh Lindblom — who has pitched in the Korean Baseball Organization since 2015.

Prior to the game, Phillies left-hander Sean Burnett requested and was granted his unconditional release. The 34-year-old signed a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training on Dec. 9. He posted a 2.00 ERA this spring over seven appearances and nine innings, but failed to record a strikeout.

Starting Pitching Matchup:

Pittsburgh Pirates (18-8-1) Philadelphia Phillies (10-15-4)
RHP Josh Lindblom RHP Clay Buchholz
(2016, KBO: 10-12, 5.27 ERA) (2016: 8-10, 4.78 ERA)

Lindblom, 29, signed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training with the Pirates on Dec. 16. In 26 appearances with the Phillies in 2012, Lindblom was 1-3 with a 4.63 ERA and 27 strikeouts through 23 1/3 innings. 

The Phillies acquired the Indiana native, along with RHP Ethan Martin and minor league second baseman Stefan Jarrin, in exchange for All-Star outfielder Shane Victorino on July 31, 2012. That offseason, the right-hander was dealt with RHP Lisalverto Bonilla to the Texas Rangers for seven-time All-Star and 2008 American League Gold Glove award winner, infielder Michael Young.

Following his Philadelphia departure, Lindblom appeared in just nine more Major League games combined with the Rangers and Oakland Athletics in 2013 and 2014, respectively. He appeared in a combined 61 starts with an even 23-23 record over the last two seasons with the Korean Baseball Organization's Lotte Giants.

Buchholz, 32, is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA through four starts and 13 1/3 innings this spring. He has surrendered nine runs (eight earned) on 14 hits, five walks and four home runs. The right-hander has punched out nine batters.

 Starting Lineups:

Pittsburgh Pirates (18-8-1) Philadelphia Phillies (10-15-4)
  Position Player Bats   Position Player Bats
1 SS Jordy Mercer R 1 2B Jesmuel Valentin S
2 1B Josh Bell S 2 LF Howie Kendrick R
3 3B  David Freese R 3 CF Odubel Herrera L
4 RF John Jaso L 4 3B Maikel Franco R
5 LF Jose Osuna R 5 RF Michael Saunders L
6 CF Austin Meadows^ L 6 1B Daniel Nava^ S
7 2B Gift Ngoepe R 7 C Andrew Knapp S
8 C Jackson Williams^ R 8 SS Freddy Galvis S
9 P  Josh Lindblom R 9 P Clay Buchholz L

^ non-roster invitee

Broadcast Information:

  • First pitch: 1:05 p.m.
  • TV: CSN
  • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP

Game Notes:

  • Buchholz is scheduled to pitch "five or six innings," according to Stephen Gross. Phillies right-handers Luis Garcia, Joaquin Benoit and Hector Neris will follow in relief.
  • The Phillies must decide today whether they will place utility man Chris Coghlan on their Major League roster. As Todd Zolecki notes, if not, he "must be released upon his request or placed on the roster within 48 hours." The 2009 National League Rookie of the Year is batting .243 this spring with two doubles, three walks and five RBIs over 37 at-bats.

What's Next:

  • Monday, March 27, 2017: at Toronto Blue Jays, 6:07 p.m.
    • Florida Auto Exchange Stadium (Dunedin)
    • RHP Vince Velasquez (2016: 8-6, 4.12 ERA) vs. RHP Aaron Sanchez (2016: 15-2, 3.00 ERA)
    • TV: N/A; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP


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