CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jamie Moyer's first Florida Spring Training since 1996 starts with the always fun jaunt along Interstate 4. The 44-year-old veteran is scheduled to make the 90-minute trek to Lakeland, where he'll open the Phillies' Grapefruit League schedule against the defending American League champion Tigers. Brett Myers is expected to start the home opener on Friday, with Adam Eaton and Cole Hamels throwing on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Freddy Garcia and Jon Lieber will each make their first spring appearance on Monday. Garcia will toss a "B" game against the Blue Jays at Bright House Networks Field, while Lieber heads to Sarasota to face the Reds.
Manager Charlie Manuel said nothing should be read into this rotation alignment. It's too early in the process, so disregard the fact Eaton is in line to start Opening Day, assuming each pitcher went every fifth day from here. It won't happen. "About 10 days to two weeks [from now], that's when you start lining it up," Manuel said. "Right now, it doesn't mean anything. After our first cuts or something, or maybe a little before, that's when we'll get an idea." Complicating the process is the fact that Manuel has six starting pitchers to work in, meaning Garcia and Lieber may double up on some days, given this rotation. Monday's "B" game helped, as will a March 10 split-squad vs. Tampa Bay and Houston. "We'll get their work in," Manuel said. "Some days, two of them might pitch in the Minor Leagues or on short rest. We have to get six pitchers ready, but there will come a time when we'll have to set an order." Manuel is notorious for waiting to name his Opening Day starter. Lieber started the previous two, but that won't happen this year. The choice appears to be between newcomer Garcia, a 17-game winner, and ace-in-waiting Myers. Once Manuel makes that call, he'll decide whether to start the other on April 4. Garcia and Myers have similar styles -- they're both right-handed power pitchers -- and Manuel may break that up by inserting the lefty Hamels between them. If Hamels goes second, Moyer might go fourth, allowing for a right-left-right-left-right rotation. "We can give people different looks by splitting up our rotation," Manuel said. "We'll figure it out." No Bobby: Bobby Abreu's return to Bright House Networks Field, scheduled for Sunday, has been cancelled, with a possible appearance on the 17th also questionable. The Yankees right fielder will miss at least two weeks with a strained right oblique (side) muscle, sustained while taking batting practice on Monday.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.