CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Vance Worley was not concerned about the two runs he gave up in his spring debut. He was busy tinkering with his new pitch.
Worley and the Philadelphia Phillies were roughed up by Jordan Schafer and the Houston Astros on Wednesday, 10-3.
“I tried to work on the split-fingered change a little bit and my location was not all that great and the results didn’t exactly come with it,” Worley said.
Worley, who finished third in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2011, allowed singles to the first two hitters of the game and gave up a run in each of his two innings.
Jordan Schafer and J.D. Martinez led the Astros. Schafer started the game with a single and scored and went 3 for 4. Martinez had two hits and three RBIs.
Houston right-hander Bud Norris threw three scoreless innings in his first start.
“Spring is all about getting your body in shape and taking care of yourself and getting out of here healthy,” Norris said. “I’m happy with the results and still have some things to work on.”
In his second full season, Norris led the Astros with 176 strikeouts in a career-high 186 innings in 2011. He had no strikeouts Wednesday, but he also didn’t allow a hit in three innings.
“He had the one walk and that one walk was 0-2 back to a four-pitch walk to Thome, but other than that, he really did a good job of getting himself into counts, making some pitches and getting out of there,” Houston manager Brad Mills said.
The Phillies didn’t get their first hit of the game until Shane Victorino hit a one-out single in the fourth inning. Their runs didn’t come until late: Lou Montanez hit a two-run double in the eighth inning and Hector Luna hit his second home run of the exhibition season to lead off the ninth.
The 24-year-old Worley worked mostly off his sinker to go 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA in 25 games (21 starts) in his first full big league season last summer. The Phillies won 14 consecutive starts he made from June 18 to Sept. 6.
But in an effort to avoid a sophomore slump, Worley has been experimenting with adding the changeup to his regular pitch lineup. Two-time Cy Young Award winner and Phillies ace Roy Halladay showed Worley the changeup grip before camp opened last month.
“It’s Doc’s grip,” Worley said. “He showed it to me, said just mess with it. I threw a few of them and said, That’s a good pitch.’ I did throw one today that was good.”
Former Rookie of the Year and All-Star Dontrelle Willis scuffled in his latest bid to win a spot in the Phillies bullpen. Willis, who is in camp on a non-guaranteed contract, was pulled in the middle of the sixth inning.
The 30-year-old Willis allowed four runs on three hits and two walks in 2-3 of an inning. Afterward, Willis complained of arm fatigue and soreness.
“I was just throwing nothing up there, you can’t go out there like that, that does nobody good,” Willis said. “But at the same token, I always want to compete. Even if I don’t feel 100 percent I’m going to try to go out there.”
NOTES: Philadelphia infield prospect Harold Garcia will be out for four to six months after undergoing microfracture surgery on his right knee Monday. Garcia was limited to 12 games in with an ACL tear of the same knee. Garcia, 25, hit .305 in 101 games between Double-A Reading and Class A Clearwater in 2010. . Phillies reliever Justin De Fratus took a day off Wednesday after restarting his throwing program Monday and Tuesday. De Fratus, 24, was sidelined for the first two weeks of camp with elbow soreness. . Phillies outfielder Laynce Nix made his first start in the field in Wednesday’s game against the Astros. Nix had been battling hamstring soreness. . Houston infielder Jimmy Paredes might make his first appearance of the spring on Thursday. Paredes has been battling a left wrist injury. . Astros catcher Humberto Quintero will be examined by the team medical staff. Quintero is dealing with nerve inflammation in his back. . Houston right-hander Livan Hernandez will make his second start of the spring Thursday in Viera, Fla., against the Washington Nationals. Hernandez, who is entering his 17th big league season, pitched for Washington in each of the last three seasons.
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