Bryce Harper needed just one swing to make it seem that he’s ready for the season.

Harper’s homer Friday in the first inning of a 3-0 win over Pittsburgh came on his first swing of spring training. The Phillies held Harper out of their first five Grapefruit League games as they ease him into action while monitoring the back injury that troubled him last season.

» READ MORE: Phillies’ CF competition could become a case of strength in numbers | Bob Brookover

His home run, which came off Chad Kuhl’s hanging sinker, soared 362 feet and cleared the tiki bar in left field at BayCare Ballpark.

“I like seeing a lot of pitches, today I didn’t really see that many because I got a couple over the plate that I could handle,” Harper said. “My thing is I want to see pitches. I want to see curveballs. I want to see change-ups. I want to see it all and as many as I can so when I do get into the season I feel ready. I don’t really look into hitting homers or hitting doubles and say ‘Oh yeah, I’m ready.’ I feel like I still need at-bats and to get my timing down.”

Harper was the designated hitter for five innings Friday and went 2 for 2. The real test for his back will come when he plays the field. Harper said his back bothered him enough last September that he was unable to throw a baseball. The Phillies have him on a throwing program in Clearwater and he’s making progress.

» READ MORE: Mickey Moniak powers his way into the Phillies’ crowded center-field competition | Bob Brookover

Harper is on track to be ready for the season opener. And his bat already looks fit.

“It feels great. Everyone loves the homer,” Harper said. “Like Charlie Manuel says he’s never seen a homer he doesn’t like.”

One up

The competition for the final two spots in the starting rotation continued to be stiff on Friday.

Chase Anderson needed just 18 pitches to complete two perfect innings. He struck out three batters and threw his fastball at the top of the zone with great execution. Spencer Howard pitched just one inning but was electric. He retired all three batters he faced, struck out two, and topped his fastball at 96.7 MPH. It was just one inning, but Howard looked like the top prospect the Phillies watched in the minors.

Two up

Joe Girardi’s new-look bullpen impressed as Jose Alvarado, Archie Bradley, Hector Neris, Connor Brogdon, Sam Coonrod, and JoJo Romero all threw scoreless innings in their spring debuts. Alvarado threw four sinkers 99 MPH or higher and retired the three batters he faced. The lefthander has an inside track on a bullpen job. Coonrod, another hard thrower added this winter, topped out at 98.8 MPH.

Three up

Andrew McCutchen homered and continues to look fine both playing the field and running the bases. It’s early, but McCutchen is in a much better place than he was a year ago when he was spending most of his time rehabbing his ACL injury.

Up next

The Phillies will travel Saturday to neighboring Dunedin to play the Blue Jays. The game, which starts at 1:07 p.m., will not be broadcast. Adonis Medina is scheduled to pitch.