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Joe Girardi not ready to commit to Aaron Nola starting on opening day

Joe Girardi didn’t say “not so fast my friends,” but in a way he sounded like the great Lee Corso in his meeting with the media Monday afternoon.

Shortly after Phillies ace Aaron Nola said he expected to be ready for opening day, Girardi pumped the breaks a bit. While the first-year Phillies manager said he was impressed with Nola’s bullpen session Monday and doesn’t doubt that he could be ready to pitch the first game of the season, he didn’t want to commit to it just yet. Nola will be the Phillies opening day starter if he’s ready, it’s just a matter of whether he’ll be able to ramp up in time.

Will Aaron Nola be ready for opening day? (Cheryl Pursell)

Nola said Monday that while he had been exposed to someone that had tested positive for COVID-19, he hadn’t personally failed a test. The 27-year-old added that while he hasn’t personally considered opting out of the 2020 season, he understands that those with families have considerations that he doesn’t currently.

MLB will announce the full 2020 schedule this evening at 6 p.m. ET, but Craig Mish of SportsGrid reported over the weekend that the Phillies are expected to open the season at Citizens Bank Park against the Miami Marlins on July 24.

Nola has started for the Phillies on opening day in each of the past two seasons. If he isn’t deemed ready to pitch in the team’s first contest, it’s unclear who will. It could be offseason pick-up Zack Wheeler, though as his wife nears her due date, his status is far from certain. It’s possible that Jake Arrieta could start for the Phillies on opening day.


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