Flyers-Blue Jackets: Postgame Review
Eflin, Phillies look for first win of the 2018 Grapefruit League campaign

Phillies top prospect Kingery to bat leadoff against Biagini, Blue Jays in Grapefruit League opener

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

DUNEDIN, Fla. — The Philadelphia Phillies and RHP Nick Pivetta will kick off 2018 Grapefruit League action in opposition of RHP Joe Biagini and the Toronto Blue Jays Friday afternoon at Dunedin Stadium.

The Phillies are coming off of a 6-0 victory Thursday afternoon over the NCAA Division II University of Tampa Spartans. Both clubs had seven hits, while the Spartans committed three errors and the Phillies just one. Phillies non-roster invitee outfielders Andrew Pullin and Danny Ortiz had a pair of RBIs each, while non-roster invitee second baseman Heiker Meneses drove in one as the substitute for top prospect Scott Kingery.

Kingery will start at second base and bat leadoff on Friday. He went 1-2 with a run scored in his 2018 exhibition debut against the Spartans on Thursday.

Starting Pitching Matchup:

Philadelphia Phillies Toronto Blue Jays
RHP Nick Pivetta RHP Joe Biagini
(2017: 8-10, 6.02 ERA) (2017: 3-13, 5.34 ERA)

Pivetta, 25, returns for his second season in the majors. The right-hander threw eight quality starts as a rookie in 2017, however he failed to appear beyond the seventh inning spanning 26 outings overall.

The Phillies acquired the Victoria, Canada native from the Washington Nationals on July 28, 2015, in exchange for franchise saves leader Jonathan Papelbon and cash. Papelbon went on to secure 26 of 31 save opportunities with Washington, but he has not appeared in the majors since 2016.


Biagini, 27, enters big league camp with pitching coach Pete Walker viewing him as a "quality major-league starter," according to's Ben Nicholson-Smith. Biagini appeared in 26 relief appearances and 18 starts in 2017, combining for a 5.34 ERA and 97-42 strikeout-to-walk ratio through 119 2/3 frames.

The Redwood City, California native was originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 26th round of the 2011 amateur draft. Approximately four-and-a-half years later, Biagini was selected in the December 2015 rule 5 draft by the Blue Jays and would debut as a reliever in April 2016.

Starting Lineups:

Philadelphia Phillies Toronto Blue Jays
  Position Player Bats   Position Player Bats
1 2B Scott Kingery* R 1 DH Curtis Granderson L
2 3B Maikel Franco  R 2 2B Yangervis Solarte S
3 C Cameron Rupp  R 3 RF Randal Grichuk R
4 RF Nick Williams  L 4 1B Rowdy Tellez L
5 1B Will Middlebrooks*  R 5 SS Aledmys Diaz R
6 SS Pedro Florimon* S 6 LF Teoscar Hernandez R
7 LF Dylan Cozens L 7 CF Anthony Alford R
8 CF Collin Cowgill* R 8 C Luke Maile R
9 DH Matt McBride* R 9 3B Gift Ngoepe R

* non-roster invitee

Broadcast Information:

  • First pitch: 1:07 p.m.
  • TV: N/A
  • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP

Game Notes:

  • The Phillies and Blue Jays will wear Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School hats this afternoon to support victims of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Players will sign the hats after the game, to then be auctioned off. All proceeds raised will benefit the Broward Education Foundation and the Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund.
  • Three-time All-Star outfielder Curtis Granderson will make his Blue Jays debut after finalizing a one-year, $5 million contract with the club exactly one month ago, Jan. 23. Granderson will turn 37 on March 16.
  • Pedro Florimon returns to the baseball diamond in game action for the first time since injuring his right ankle on Sept. 2. The Phillies re-signed Florimon to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp on Nov. 13. He batted .348/.388/.478 through 46 at-bats with the Phillies in 2017, with 11 singles, four doubles, one triple and six RBIs.

What's Next:

  • Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018: vs. Baltimore Orioles (split-squad), 1:05 p.m.
    • Spectrum Field, Clearwater, Fla.
    • RHP Dylan Bundy (2017: 13-9, 4.24 ERA) vs. RHP Zach Eflin (2017: 1-5, 6.16 ERA)
    • TV: NBCSP; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP


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