Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Ex-Ray Hellickson pitches perfect inning for Phillies

CLEARWATER — Former Rays RHP Jeremy Hellickson and Aaron Nola each pitched a scoreless inning and catching prospect Andrew Knapp hit a two-run single, leading the Phillies over the University of Tampa 8-3 Sunday.

It was the first spring training game involving a big-league team. The game provided a bit of revenge for the Phillies in the matchup at their Bright House Field. Last year, the Phillies opened their spring schedule with a 6-2 loss to the Spartans.

Philadelphia manager Pete Mackanin playfully let out a deep breath and wiped his brow as he walked off the field to meet with the media.

"A good scout friend of mine texted me (Saturday) night (saying) he wanted to remind me that college teams vs. major-league teams in spring training are 1-23," Mackanin said. "So, we got rid of that."

Hellickson, the 2011 AL rookie of the year with the Rays, pitched a perfect first inning in his first appearance with his new team. Hellickson, acquired in a November trade with the Diamondbacks, is one of the more seasoned pitchers in the Phillies staff despite being just 28.

"It's fun," he said. "I was in that position my first couple of years and I'd ask David (Price), James (Shields) … and those guys all the questions I could and tried to learn all that I could. So I'm trying to take what I learned from those guys and pass it on to these guys."

Yanks: Union support

TAMPA — Twice this spring, Aroldis Chapman has emphatically declared his intent to appeal any suspension handed down by MLB in his domestic violence case.

That decision has been expected any day for the past week, and when it does come down — some seem to think there's a strong chance it will happen today — Chapman will have the full backing of the Players Association in his appeal.

"It's a very sensitive issue to discuss, but our job is very fundamental," said Tony Clark, the executive director of the MLBPA. "We protect, defend and advance the rights of our members. That's what we do."

Commissioner Rob Manfred, as a part of the domestic violence policy agreed upon last year between the players and management, has the right to impose discipline in such cases, whether or not law enforcement brings charges.

Jays: Ex-closer signs

DUNEDIN — Former All-Star closer Rafael Soriano signed a minor-league contract with the Blue Jays.

The AL East champions said the right-hander will be invited to spring training.

Soriano, 36, pitched six games for the Cubs in July after signing as a free agent and posted a 6.35 ERA. His last full season came in 2014 with the Nationals.

An All-Star with the Rays in 2010, when he led the American League with 45 saves, Soriano ranks eighth among active pitchers with 207 career saves. He has also spent time with the Mariners, Braves and Yankees over 14 seasons.

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