Spencer Howard showed a few reasons why he's the Phillies' top pitching prospect, flashing primo stuff Thursday night in three innings of an intrasquad game.

Howard's fastball, curveball and changeup all looked like plus pitches in his first two innings in a game that obviously didn't count. He was able to throw the high heater past hitters, and both the curveball and changeup buckled knees on occasion. He threw one curve that made Rhys Hoskins nearly swing out of his shoes. 

Howard allowed a run in his final inning, which included a walk, a hit batsman and a double from Kyle Garlick.

"Thought he fatigued a little bit at the end but I think we saw some electric stuff the first couple of innings," manager Joe Girardi said after the game.

More here on Howard's immediate future.

The starting pitchers were Nick Pivetta, who pitched four hitless, scoreless innings ahead of Howard, and Jake Arrieta. 

Whether this was a changeup or a two-seamer from Arrieta, it was nasty.

Pivetta is keeping the pressure on Vince Velasquez for the fifth starter's job, but both may end up in the rotation with Zach Eflin's status uncertain.

Notes from the game

• Phil Gosselin, vying for a spot on the Phillies' bench, went 5 for 5.


• Catcher Henri Lartigue had the swing of the night.

• Victor Arano, vying for a spot in the Phillies' bullpen after a season lost to a right elbow injury, was hit around in relief.

• Diego Ettedgui, the Phillies' Spanish language interpreter, made impressive running catches in right-center and left-center in the eighth inning. Sign him up.

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