By Lesley Van Arsdall

By Lesley Van Arsdall

CLEARWATER, Fla (CBS) — On the same day spring training began for pitchers and catchers, Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick received a new contract, a two-year, $7.5 million deal.

“I’m excited for myself, my family,” said Kendrick. “It’s pretty special and now we can just put it behind us and concentrate on the field.”

GM Ruben Amaro was also happy to get the deal done.

“He’s been extremely durable. He’s won a lot of games for us. He’s played some pretty important roles for us, particularly as a starter,” Amaro said. “He’s also adapted very well to having the opportunity to be in the bullpen.”

Kendrick was quick to credit Roy Halladay for his improvement on the mound.

“He’s been a big help in my success,” said Kendrick. “And he’s been a great guy, not only a teammate, but a friend, and he’s helped me quite a bit. I’ve learned a lot from him.”

Meantime, for pitcher Joe Blanton, there was no offseason. He was working hard after missing most of last season with an elbow injury.

“Last year was frustrating, but it’s over,” Blanton said. “I feel good right now coming into the spring and that’s all I’m worried about, just going out and doing what I’m capable of doing.”

Blanton, now in his fifth year with the Phillies, feels he belongs here — and according to pitching coach Rich Dubee, he is expected to be part of the starting rotation.

“Joe’s (Blanton) been a very good, established, major league pitcher. So, you know, I see him as our fifth starter,” said Dubee. “But his health is going to determine how far we can take him. But we do have Joel Pineiro and (Kyle) Kendrick sitting in the background.”

Blanton is in the final year of his contract with the Phillies. His current deal will pay him $8.5 million this season.

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