Velasquez, Oberholtzer help pitch Phillies over Pirates 1-0

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Philadelphia's Vincent Velasquez allowed three hits in three innings and the Phillies beat the Pittsburgh Priates 1-0 Monday.

Bidding for the final open rotation spot, the 23-year-old right-hander struck out three and walked one.

Velasquez said he was more at ease than in his first outing this spring training, when he gave up three runs -- two earned -- in two innings against Toronto.

"This time, everything was working," Velasquez said. "I was working down in the bottom of the zone, not elevating my pitches. I'm comfortable with the outcome."

A minor adjustment in the bullpen a few days ago made a difference.

"Just staying back," Velasquez said. "Not trying to be too quick with my pitches. I was trying to be more fluid and just let it happen."

Left-hander Brett Oberholtzer, who is competing with Velasquez, followed and gave up four hits in three innings with one strikeout. The Phillies acquired both pitchers in December as part of the deal that sent Ken Giles to Houston .

Oberholtzer is out of minor league options, so he appears likely make the 25-man roster as a long reliever if he doesn't win the rotation job.

Pirates left-hander Jeff Locke gave up two hits in three scoreless innings and struck out one.

"Everything feels really good," Locke said. "A step in the right direction. The delivery is coming along real well. It's all about getting comfortable with that."

In his first outing this spring training, Locke gave up four runs against Detroit.

"Last time, I couldn't really get in a groove because the first guy got on base," Locke said. "This time, we were really able to pound strike one. We were just where we needed to be. When you have good results, it makes you think your work was better."

Brock Stassi doubled leading off the seventh against A.J. Schugel and scored on Andres Blanco's double.

Starling Marge and Alen Hanson each had two hits for the Pirates.


Phillies: RF Aaron Altherr was sent to Philadelphia to have his left wrist examined by a specialist. He was injured while diving for a ball in a game on Friday. ... Blanco was back in action at third base after missing Sunday's game due to a sore shoulder. Blanco is expected to make the team as a utility infielder.

Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (rib inflammation) threw one inning of batting practice and one inning of a simulated game. He is to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday and might be cleared to make his first exhibition start this weekend. "It was good to get out there," Cole said. "I got after some pitches today." ... SS Cole Tucker (shoulder surgery) has begun making throws across the field during fielding practice. A first-round pick in the 2014 amateur draft, Tucker is expected to begin this season at Class A Bradenton.


Phillies: LHP Adam Morgan is to start Tuesday against the Pirates in Clearwater. Morgan started 15 games for the Phillies last year, but probably will begin this season at Triple-A.

Pirates: LHP Jon Niese is slated to start Tuesday against the Phillies. In his first outing March 3 against Toronto, Niese gave up four runs on five hits in two innings.