By Pat Gallen

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It doesn’t feel like it outside but today is the sports equivalent to the first day of spring. Phillies pitchers and catchers had their first workout in Clearwater, Florida, on Wednesday.

Manager Joe Girardi said the COVID issue obviously lingers during spring training.

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“I think everyone is excited to be back because it’s what we love to do and the good thing is, we went through all this in spring training 2.0 and we’re pretty familiar with what we have to do,” the second-year Phillies manager said.

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Girardi’s pitching staff will be under close watch this spring. The 7.06 ERA posted by the bullpen last year was the second worst in MLB history.

Girardi says new reliever Archie Bradley is looking forward to making a difference.

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“Archie was extremely excited to show us everything he had, excited about his curveball,” Girardi said. “He reiterated to me that, ‘I’ll do whatever, I just want to pitch in tough situations.'”

That means a lot will rest on the shoulders of the starters, like ace Aaron Nola, to get the Phillies back to the playoffs. Nola says the way last year ended still sits with them.

“It does sting a little bit. We carry that into this year and we learn from what we did,” Nola said. “It kind of lets you know that even through 162 games, every game counts.”

Meanwhile, after being away from the team last year following a domestic assault incident back in 2019, Odubel Herrera will join the team as a non-roster invitee.

Girardi mentioned that Herrera will have to regain the trust of the team but said, “None of us are perfect and that we’ve all fallen short.”

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The Phillies’ full squad will begin practicing on Monday.