CLEARWATER, Fla. — Newly signed Phillies ace Jake Arrieta pitched two innings against the Detroit Tigers in his spring debut with the club Thursday. He gave up three hits and two runs and exited after 31 pitches, 22 of which were strikes.
Wearing No. 49, Arrieta took the mound in his shirtsleeves on a breezy 61-degree day. He struck out the first batter he faced, JaCoby Jones, on three pitches. He also struck out the second hitter, Jeimer Candelario. The next batter, two-time American League MVP Miguel Cabrera, took Arrieta deep when he lined a 2-1 fastball over the right-field wall. The line drive got a little help from the wind.
Arrieta allowed a single, a double and a run in the second inning. He also threw a wild pitch.
One positive to emerge from the outing: Arrieta's fastball touched 95 mph on the stadium radar gun. He also threw several fastballs the registered 94. Arrieta's fastball velocity had been a concern as it dropped from 94.9 mph in his Cy Young season of 2015 to 92.6 mph last season, according to PITCHf/x data.
Arrieta figures to make at least one more start in Florida, either in a major-league or minor-league game (see story). The Phillies have not announced when he will step into the regular-season rotation. The pitcher believes he can be ready for the first week of the season.
Pat Neshek followed Arrieta and pitched the third inning.