CLEARWATER, Fla. — Zack Wheeler will make his spring debut for the Phillies on Saturday afternoon against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin.
Wheeler is expected to go two innings or 35 pitches.
The right-hander signed a five-year, $118 million deal with the Phillies in December.
“He’s ready to go and I’m anxious to watch him pitch,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I’ve never sat this close to him before.”
Wheeler is the last of the Phillies’ starters to debut this spring. Nick Pivetta and Aaron Nola have already made two starts.
“It’s just the way we just set up his program,” Girardi said of Wheeler’s schedule. “He threw batting practice and stuff, simulated stuff. It’s just where he’s at.”
Girardi has not announced his opening day starter, but Nola, who pitched Friday, is presumed to be the guy. Wheeler appears to slot in second followed by Jake Arrieta and Zach Eflin, though this is all subject to change.
The fifth starter’s spot is up for grabs between Pivetta, Vince Velasquez and Ranger Suarez.
Suarez gets the start in Sunday’s Grapefruit League game against Baltimore in Clearwater. Arrieta and Seranthony Dominguez will get work in an intrasquad game at the minor-league complex.
Eflin is slated to pitch Monday night against Atlanta.
Nola pitched two-plus innings and threw 45 pitches in a 6-5 win over the Braves on Friday. He gave up six hits and two runs. He walked none and struck out six.