CLEARWATER, Fla. - To some degree, how well Kyle Dra-bek might have pitched in college can be answered Wednesday night.

He will start the Phillies' exhibition game against Florida State at Bright House Networks Field. The Phillies' first-round pick from last year is only 19. He would be a college freshman somewhere if he hadn't signed.

"People were joking with him, 'Now we'll get to see how you would've pitched in college,' " said his father, Doug, a Cy Young Award winner with the Pirates in 1990.

This appears to be the Phillies' annual psychological gambit with a young prospect. Brett Myers, Cole Hamels and Gavin Floyd each has had his moment in the spotlight during spring training.

Drabek likely will start the season at Class A Lakewood and might not get another chance to pitch with the major league club, so Wednesday could be his prime-time moment.

The Phillies will not use any major league starters in the game, said pitching coach Rich Dubee. Besides, he said, Drabek is "fresh."

Expect his father to be less so.

Doug is shepherding older son Justin through a series of tryout camps in Florida. Justin is a 20-year-old second baseman playing independent ball.

"I don't know whether I should be there, driving him around, or here with Kyle," Doug said.

Sweet independence

The Phils bolstered their minor league stables with four new arms after a 2-day invitational tryout camp for independent-league players.

They acquired lefthanders Jake Ociesa, who showed a 93-mph fastball; and Cory Willey, who displayed a good cut fastball; as well as righthander Jason Wylie, a 25-year-old former Red who took a year off baseball, returned last season and showed up at the camp at 6-5, 245 pounds with a 92-mph fastball; and righthander Michael McTamney, 24, of Toms River, N.J.

It was the first tryout camp of its kind run by the Phillies.


Charlie Manuel, on the possibility of bench player Karim Garcia getting into a fight such as his famous bullpen brawl as a Yankee in the Red Sox bullpen at the 2003 ALCS: "Hopefully, he can get into another fight, at the same time of year."


Manuel said he will play his regulars for the first few innings against Florida State, even though the Phillies open their Grapefruit League season the next day with a tedious bus trip to Lakeland . . . Ryan Howard has less than 2 years of service, so he shouldn't expect special kid-gloves treatment afforded decorated players during spring training. Then again, Manuel pointed out, Howard traveled to almost every road trip last season: "He didn't get many days off and he was the MVP" . . . Mike Schmidt begins his annual instructional visit to Clearwater today. *