Newly-signed Phillies ace Jake Arrieta threw his first bullpen session in a Philadelphia uniform Wednesday and told reporters that he hopes to make his debut in a Minor League game on Saturday.
Arrieta told media members in Clearwater, Fla., that he expects to throw around 50 pitches in Saturday's start. The Phillies have made clear that Aaron Nola is still their Opening Day starter, but the team is understandably eager to see Arrieta in game conditions after signing him to a three-year, $75 million contract.
The sooner we're able to get him out there, the better chance we have of Jake is ready to start the [regular] season," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said. "At the same time, this is a significant investment for a long stretch of time. We want to make sure we do the right things to keep him healthy. We don't want to rush into this and put him in a tough spot."
Because of days off early in the season, the Phillies won't need a No. 5 starter until April 11.
"That gives us some flexibility to work Jake in whenever he's ready, without needing to rush things," Klentak said. "There's a possibility he could pitch on the first turn through the rotation. There's a possibility he could have some sort of a piggyback start. There's a possibility he could [not pitch] on the first time through the rotation and slot back in on the second time.
"We don't have enough information yet, but our goals are aligned with Jake's, which is to get him out there as soon as we can and start winning ballgames."