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Former Phillies pitching prospect makes debut as No. 2

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About a year and a half ago, December 2009 to be exact, the Phillies pulled the trigger on a major move that helped push the organization into the upper elite of Major League Baseball.

The Phillies lost right-handed pitcher Kyle Drabek, catcher Travis d’Arnaud and outfielder Michael Taylor, while receiving Roy Halladay and six million in cash. The Phillies also sent Cliff Lee to Seattle in exchange for right-handed pitchers Phillippe Aumont and Juan Ramierez and outfielder Tyson Gillies, although we all know that Lee was not gone for long.

The first player that the Phillies parted with in that deal is now making their mark on the big leagues. In just minutes, Drabek will take the mound as the Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher, assuming the number two spot in their rotation.

Drabek is slated to face off against Francisco Liriano and the Minnesota Twins at 1:07 p.m. in Toronto.

The right hander has only appeared in three major league games, all last year with the Blue Jays, posting a record of 0-3 with a 4.76 ERA. Not even close to out-of-this-world numbers, but the Blue Jays have high expectations for the rookie after completing an impressive spring training.

Toronto’s manager John Farrell was one of those who were impressed, noting that one of the things he was, “seeing is that even when he’s not as sharp with his overall command, he’s still been efficient.” Farrell was referring to Drabek’s final spring training start against the Red Sox, in which he gave up just one run over five innings while allowing five hits and striking out five. He also threw 37 of his 61 pitches for strikes.

Drabek finished his four spring starts 2-0, striking out 14 over 16 innings, with a 2.63 ERA.

The Blue Jays return on this deal will never match what Philadelphia was able to get, especially since Lee signed with the Phillies through free agency over this past offseason. However, if Drabek is able to build off of his spring and become a solid front of the rotation man, and d’Arnaud moves up the ranks, the deal could easily turn respectable for Toronto.

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