PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Mike Stutes is feeling like himself again.
He struck out two in one scoreless inning Friday in a 3-2 loss to the Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. He struck out Yunel Escobar and Kelly Johnson swinging, then got Evan Longoria to ground out to third to end the inning. Since Stutes allowed three runs on three runs and two walks in two innings in his first two spring appearances, he has allowed one hit, one walk and struck out three in two scoreless innings in his last two outings.
"I just hadn't been out there for a while," said Stutes, who missed most of last season because of a right shoulder injury. "I was going out there, trying to be too fine and hit the corners. The last two outings, I've definitely gotten more comfortable out there. I hadn't faced hitters in like 10 months. It just took me a couple times to get back to feeling comfortable and attacking the hitters instead of reacting to what they're doing. I feel like I'm back to where I was before."
Stutes is competing for one of three job openings in the Phillies' bullpen.
Kendrick happy with changeup vs. Rays
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick had his changeup working splendidly for two innings Friday at Charlotte Sports Park.
He struck out three with three groundouts.
"The first two innings were great," he said after allowing five hits, three runs, one walk with three strikeouts in four innings. "The changeup was good early. After that I was kind of burying it too much."
Kendrick's changeup is a big reason why he struck out more batters last season. He averaged a career-high 6.6 strikeouts per nine innings, a considerable jump from his 4.1 strikeouts-per-nine-inning average from 2007-11.
He thinks he can increase that number a bit more in 2013.
"I think can improve in all aspects of my game," he said. "But yeah, I think my changeup is going to get better. My slider is going to get stronger. I don't see why I can't get better."
Kendrick allowed three two-out runs in the third, so the day wasn't a complete success.
"It's something to build off of, that's for sure," he said. "It was nothing great, but I was happy to get my pitch count up and get through four."
Brown's hand stepped on, but he still hits
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Domonic Brown gets his hand stepped on and still hits.
He went 2-for-3 Friday in a 3-2 loss to the Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. He singled sharply to left field in the first inning. But Rays first baseman James Loney stepped on Brown's right hand as he dove back to first base.
It left a mark, but he stayed in the game after getting the hand treated. He singled to left in the fourth.
"It's all good," Brown said.
Brown is hitting .424 this spring. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel once again called Brown the biggest bright spot in Phillies camp.
Strong defender Galvis improving his hitting
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Freddy Galvis put together a good at-bat in the first inning on Friday against the Rays, hitting a leadoff double to left-center field.
He is competing with Kevin Frandsen and Yuniesky Betancourt for one of two utility infielder jobs. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has been vocal about his affection for Galvis, who is a terrific defensive infielder. Manuel said following a 3-2 loss at Charlotte Sports Park he believes he can get Galvis at least 200-250 at-bats in the big leagues this season, which the manager believes would be better for him than 450-500 at-bats with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
"I feel that way," Manuel said.
Galvis went 1-for-4 on Friday and is hitting .258 this spring. Frandsen continues to swing a hot bat. He went 2-for-3 with a home run against Rays ace David Price. He is hitting .385. Betancourt went 0-for-1. He is hitting .381.
"Frandsen right now definitely is the better hitter than those two guys, but both of those guys are good fielders," Manuel said about Galvis and Betancourt. "Freddy is a tremendous player. I'll get to see Betancourt more, too. … [Frandsen] is hitting, man. That's big-time hitting. Big league hitting off a big league pitcher."
Betancourt has a March 24 opt-out clause. The Phillies must tell him by then if he has made the 25-man roster. If he has not, he can request his release.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.