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Phillies Notes: Phils' Kendrick turns in strong outing

CLEARWATER, Fla. - This is why Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee is impressed with Kyle Kendrick's spring: What used to derail the pitcher doesn't affect him any longer.

CLEARWATER, Fla. - This is why Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee is impressed with Kyle Kendrick's spring: What used to derail the pitcher doesn't affect him any longer.

Yesterday was another example. Kendrick allowed five hits and two walks over the first three innings of his fourth Grapefruit League start, an 8-7 victory over the Houston Astros.

Then the 25-year-old righty retired eight of the next nine batters he faced - the only exception reaching base on an error by shortstop Juan Castro.

"Last year, he would have panicked and had no chance of surviving five innings," Dubee said. "This year, he found a way to get through it."

Kendrick pitched 52/3 innings and allowed two runs, one earned. His spring ERA sits at 1.37, and he appears to be a lock to make the opening-day squad. His role is still undecided, manager Charlie Manuel said.

"Our fifth spot is still open," Manuel said. "Actually, we haven't talked about it."

Is there a timetable for the decision?

"Not really," Manuel said.

Jamie Moyer will make his second Grapefruit League start tonight against the New York Yankees.

Kendrick said he hasn't been given any indication on when a decision will be made. But he was optimistic about making the team in some sort of role.

"I would like to obviously hear something, but it's going to come down to the wire," Kendrick said. "They don't have to make a decision now. Like I've said before, it's out of my hands. So I'll try not to worry about it and get my work done."

Feliz also returns

Lost in the Brett Myers shuffle, another former member of the consecutive National League champion teams returned to face his old club yesterday.

Pedro Feliz signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract with Houston in the off-season after the Phillies decided not to re-sign him.

He is one of the most consistent fielders in the game. Yet Feliz wasn't taken aback when the Phillies signed Placido Polanco to play third base instead.

"Baseball doesn't surprise me at all," Feliz said. "Anything in baseball can happen. So you're just ready for anything."

Feliz said he misses his former teammates in Philadelphia. He spent at least 10 minutes before batting practice chatting with old friends.

"I don't have to see them to have the memories," Feliz said.

Halladay goes to minors

Roy Halladay wanted to extend himself one more time before spring training ended. He did just that in a minor-league game against the Yankees, throwing 98 pitches over seven innings. He allowed two runs and struck out seven.

"To get one real good one before I go in fresh is always important," Halladay said. "It went well."

Halladay will make his next start Wednesday on six days rest. He will throw about 65 pitches. And it's fitting that his final spring start will come against his former team, Toronto.

Extra bases

The Phillies won on Greg Dobbs' pinch-hit single in the ninth. . . . Raul Ibanez was 0 for 3 to drop his spring batting average to .100. . . . Lefty Antonio Bastardo gave up a three-run homer to Chris Shelton in the eighth inning. . . . Dubee said he doesn't expect closer Brad Lidge (elbow, knee) to pitch in a Grapefruit League game before the team breaks camp Thursday. Lidge will pitch in another minor-league game tomorrow.

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