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Myriad Hopefuls To Toe Rubber Against Pirates

Today the Phillies take on the Pirates yet again.

JD Durbin makes his first appearance of the spring in the start. He’ll face Ian Snell of the Pirates. After Durbin, it’ll be Shane Youman, Joe Bisenius and JA Happ.

That means it’s money time. “The Real Deal” is trying valiantly to secure the long-man spot in the bullpen; if not, he’s in line to be released, as he’s on his last option. Durbin needs to impress today.

Youman is gunning for the LOOGY spot, and should have the upper hand. Travis Blackley, a LOOGY hopeful, pitched a fine three innings Wednesday, and has gained considerable press for that performance. Fabio Castro, the other major player in the LOOGY race, is yet to pitch.

Bisenius is a dark horse to reach the bullpen, but has a shot nonetheless. He made the team last year out of camp, mainly because of the injury to Freddy Garcia. This time around, he’ll need to do a great job to maybe sneak in as the 25th man.

For Happ, it’s an important Spring. If he performs well, he could be on the 25-man roster. But if he doesn’t, his star could fade for good. Josh Outman’s seesaw performance yesterday improved Happ’s chances at making the club, so he’ll have to throw down the hammer today.

Game time is at 1:05.

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