Ken Giles exits Grapefruit League game with back pain


Jim Salisbury of shares the news

DUNEDIN, Fla. – Six days before the opener, the Phillies may have lost one of their top talents, at least for the start of the season.

Hard-throwing reliever Ken Giles left Tuesday’s game with tightness in his back.

Giles faced two Toronto Blue Jays hitters in the eighth inning before a team athletic trainer visited him at the mound and he was removed from the game.

Giles told reporters that he is “not really concerned about it” and expects to be fine for Opening Day, but the clock is obviously ticking loudly at this point in the spring. The 24-year-old right-hander posted an exceptional 1.18 ERA and 64/11 K/BB ratio in 45 2/3 innings last season as a rookie and could take over at closer at some point in 2015 if the rebuilding Phillies can find a taker for veteran ninth-inning man Jonathan Papelbon.