A-Rod on Nola: "Phillies should be very excited"
Like Cole Hamels a decade before him, Phillies top pick Aaron Nola got to make a big league spring cameo against Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees. Nola struck out the three-time MVP on Friday.
Alex Rodriguez was asked for a scouting report, but it was clear he had already done his homework.
"LSU, first-round pick," the 39-year-old Yankees slugger said.
In his Phillies debut, making a cameo in big league camp for a day, 21-year-old Aaron Nola was summoned in to pitch three innings against the New York Yankees on Friday in Clearwater. He surrendered five hits, but didn't allow a run. He didn't walk a batter.
And Nola, who was enrolled in college classes this time last year, struck out 4 of the last 7 batters he faced, including Carlos Beltran and Rodriguez.
"I grew up watching that guy," Nola said smiling afterward.
After inducing Brian McCann into a ground out to first base to begin his work on Friday, Nola stared into the batters' box and saw A-Rod. He got behind in the count and A-Rod deposited a 3-1 pitch into center field for a single.
But when the lineup came back around two innings later, Nola looked more comfortable and confident. Nola, who reached 94 MPH on a strikeout of Chase Headley an inning earlier, fooled Rodriguez with a changeup twice in the second meeting of the two players.
Rodriguez flailed at the second, becoming Nola's third strikeout victim.
"The one I almost choked on?" Rodriguez said of the pitch afterward. "Yeah, that was a pretty good changeup."
What else did A-Rod think?
"Good arm," he said. "Power slider. Power changeup. I think he has a bright future. ... The Phillies should be very excited about him."