With Painter sidelined, a big day in the Phillies’ fifth starting competition originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
While the Phillies have yet to provide an official update on the condition of Andrew Painter’s right elbow, one thing that’s becoming clear is that he likely won’t have a chance to win the No. 5 starter again. out of camp.
Painter made his first Grapefruit League start last Wednesday against the Twins. He went two innings, threw a 98-99 mph fastball, a new cutter and a slider. Members of both teams came away greatly impressed with the Phils’ top prospect, 19, but just two days later manager Rob Thomson revealed Painter was suffering from “tenderness” in his right elbow.
Teams exercise extreme caution when their pitchers injure their elbows, especially at this time of year and especially when they are so young and crucial to their future. Whether it’s a short-term or long-term injury, the Phillies won’t be rushing Painter this month at Clearwater. And given that he’s already missed about a week, his throwing and stamina-building schedule has already been delayed or reset, in some way. The Phillies have just over three weeks in camp. Even if Painter is cleared by the end of this week, it will have to slowly come back up.
Bailey Falter, who made his second start of the spring on Tuesday afternoon against the Rays, must now be considered the heavy favorite to win the No. 5 starter. Other options include southpaws Michael Plassmeyer and Cristopher Sanchez. Thomson said Nick Nelson, the Phillies’ long right-handed reliever last season, is also pictured, but the only major league games he’s started have been as a flyhalf and he’s yet to been lying in camp, appearing once for one inning in the first spring training game.
Sanchez, who had been slowed in camp by a back problem, made his first appearance of the spring in relief on Tuesday, pitching a scoreless inning. The 26-year-old made five and six inning starts for the Phils last summer.
Falter allowed two runs (one earned) in 2⅓ innings to the Rays in singles play. He took out three. It was a softer touch than he allowed on his first spring start last week against the Red Sox.
Falter, who turns 26 in a month, made 16 starts for the Phillies last season and another in the playoffs. From July 29 to September 13, Falter posted a 2.52 ERA and the Phillies went 6-0 in his starts. He had an even 3.00 ERA over his last 10.