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Phillies’ Ben Lively will make his major league debut on Saturday

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Phillies’ right-hander Ben Lively is scheduled for his first big league start on Saturday, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. The club appears to be hurting for rotation depth, contrary to general manager Matt Klentak’s recent comments, with all five starters currently pitching above a 5.00 ERA and Vince Velasquez landing on the 10-day disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow.

The nail in the coffin? Jerad Eickhoff lasted just 2 2/3 innings during Friday’s series opener against the Giants, sinking the Phillies 10-0 and handing Giants’ starter Ty Blach his first career complete game shutout. Klentak chalked up the team’s struggles to the “growing pains” of the rebuilding process, telling reporters he was content to wait another year before reassessing the organization’s pitching depth. In the meantime, there’s no denying that Lively’s presence on the mound on Saturday could bring a much-needed breath of fresh air to the last-place Phillies.

Lively, 25, was initially recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley in April to serve as emergency bullpen depth during Pat Neshek‘s absence, but was not utilized in a game during his brief stay in the majors. He’s pitched to a strong 2.40 ERA through 56 1/3 innings in Triple-A this spring, going 6-1 in nine starts with a 1.1 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9.

Sheldon Ocker named winner of the 2018 J.G. Taylor Spink Award

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The Baseball Writers Association of America has named Sheldon Ocker the winner of the 2018 J.G. Taylor Spink Award. He will be honored with the award that is presented annually to a sportswriter “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing” during Hall of Fame inductions in Cooperstown on July 29.

Ocker began covering the Indians for the Akron Beacon Journal in 1981 and did so until 2013, when he retired. He was national president of the BBWAA in 1985 and served as chair of the Cleveland Chapter 11 times. He named Ohio Sports Writer of the Year in 1997 and 2000 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.