Nola model of efficiency in impressive effort

Nola model of efficiency in impressive effort

LAKELAND, Fla. -- If Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola is not ready for the season to start, he looks close.

Nola allowed two hits, one run, two walks and struck out three in six innings Monday afternoon in the Phillies' 4-3 victory over the Tigers in a Grapefruit League game at Joker Marchant Stadium. It was his best performance of the spring, which is a good thing considering Opening Day is two weeks away.

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"My body feels a little bit more in tune, my command feels a little bit more in tune," Nola said. "It felt good, other than the third inning when I walked the leadoff batter and he scored. I got myself in trouble that inning."

Nola recorded 10 ground-ball outs, limiting him to 65 pitches. He threw his changeup more frequently later in the game, which proved effective.

"I got some contact on that, some swings and misses on that, which I needed," he said.

Nola has worked on his changeup throughout the spring.

"I definitely feel like I've made a lot of strides with it since last year," he said.

Nola is on schedule to start the second game of the season on April 6 in Cincinnati, which will allow him to start the home opener at Citizens Bank Park on April 11 against the Padres. Jeremy Hellickson is in line to start Opening Day on April 4, although the Phillies have made no official announcement.

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said it could come in the next couple of days.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.