Grapefruiting

De Fratus and Mathieson Talk Spring Opener

PhilliesNation readers saw this quick wrap up by Pat Gallen on yesterday’s exhibition opener in which the reigning NL East division champion Phillies convincingly handled the Florida State mens’ baseball team by a score of 8-0.

In the contest, righty hurlers Justin De Fratus and Scott Mathieson looked confident and delivered solid results, each tossing a scoreless inning at their opposition.

Following the win and retiring all three batters he faced, De Fratus was excited. The 23-year-old California native, who is enjoying his first full big league spring camp, stated, “It was good to get my feet wet in a nice, laid back environment today and get the first outing jitters out of the way, before I face the Yankees on Sunday.”

Mathieson, who struck out two and walked one of the five batters he faced, felt like this game was more than just a relaxed tune up against a college team. For a guy like Mathieson, who is trying to make his way back to the Majors after three elbow surgeries, each of these outings is extremely important.

“Every game for me this spring is a chance to try to prove to the brass and the people making decisions that I’m good enough and I can compete and I can help the team out this year,” Mathieson stated.

Mathieson, who turns 27-years-old before month’s end, utilized his new split-finger fastball, that he learned from Bruce Sutter, to his own satisfaction, mixing it in 7 or 8 times during his inning of work.  Mathieson will pitch again on Monday against the Blue Jays.

After taking strides to improve his pitch repertoire, which also includes a change up and a slider that may be phased out depending on the success of the splitter, Mathieson feels the augmentation to his arsenal of weapons will be key for him to make an impact with the big club this season.

“I just want to get the opportunity to pitch and, for me, it’s a chance to show that my off-speed stuff, which has always been a question, is good enough to pitch at the Major League level. That’s my goal to do that all throughout camp and I feel that if I can do that, I’ll hopefully land a spot on the team.”

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Jay Floyd is PhilliesNation’s minor league insider.  You can read more from Jay by visiting his site, PhoulBallz.com.

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