CLEARWATER, Fla. — Ramon Rosso and Zach Warren will likely start the season in the minor leagues, but the two pitching prospects made an impression Monday on Phillies manager Joe Girardi when they made their Grapefruit League debuts.
Rosso pitched two scoreless innings and Warren struck out the three batters he faced in the ninth inning of an 8-7 win over the Orioles. Rosso was a starter last season in double A and triple A but could eventually transition to a relief role, which would move him quicker to the majors.
“Really good,” Girardi said of Rosso, who struck out two batters and allowed one hit. “Ramon threw the ball really well. Command of a couple different pitches. Very efficient. Down in the zone. I think he had a strikeout up in the zone. Yeah, he threw the ball really, really well.”
The Phillies will spend much time this spring determining the eight relievers who will make up their opening-day bullpen. But they’ll also get looks at a cast of prospects — including Rosso and Warren — who can help during the season. Warren, a 23-year-old from South Jersey’s St. Augustine Prep, spent last season in high-A Clearwater’s bullpen before being selected to pitch in the Arizona Fall League.
“His ball kind of explodes,” Girardi said. “It has sink. He had a really good curveball.”
Mikie Mahtook, Luke Williams, Logan Forstyhe and Nick Maton homered for the Phillies. Mahtook, competing for a bench job, hit a three-run homer in the fourth for the team’s first homer of spring. Forsythe, also vying for a bench role, went 2-for-3.
The Phillies are short on catching depth, which caused them to call up prospect Rafael Marchan from minor-league camp. Marchan, 20, caught the final four innings. Deivi Grullon is out until Friday with an infected tooth, Andrew Knapp continues to be hindered by a sore rib cage, and Christian Bethancourt suffered a head injury on Sunday.
“My favorite part of the game was Marchan,” Girardi said. “He’s the block master. The master. That might have been the best exhibition of blocking I have ever seen in one game.”
Bryce Harper will play three innings on Tuesday in Clearwater against Toronto in his spring-training debut. Jake Arrieta will start the split-squad game. Girardi will travel to Bradenton for the other split-squad game against the Pirates. In that game, Scott Kingery will play second base and Jean Segura will play third as the Phillies continue to see how Segura handles the move from shortstop. Ranger Suarez will pitch.