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


Phillies’ right-hander Ben Lively is scheduled for his first big league start on Saturday, according to Todd Zolecki of 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.

Jeff Samardzija to undergo MRI on right shoulder

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Giants starter Jeff Samardzija will undergo an MRI on his ailing right shoulder, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. The right-hander struggled in a minor league game on Wednesday, surrendering a pair of home runs and hitting a batter. Overall this spring, Samardzija has given up 15 runs (13 earned) on 17 hits (six homers) and seven walks with seven strikeouts in 11 innings.

This may mean Samardzija won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. Derek Holland would likely replace Samardzija in the rotation. Holland had been competing for the No. 5 spot in the Giants’ rotation.

Samardzija led the National League in losses last season with 15, also posting a 4.42 ERA with a 205/32 K/BB ratio in a league-high 207 2/3 innings. Since becoming a starter, Samardzija has been able to avoid injury, making 32 or 33 starts in each of the last five seasons.