The Orioles signed Phillips to a major league contract Wednesday as insurance for situational lefty Brian Matusz, who will likely open the season on the disabled list with a lower back strain. Phillips was previously in camp with the Chicago White Sox, who designated him for assignment earlier this month.
Phillips entered Friday’s game with one on and no outs after Yankees shortstop Starlin Castro reached on J.J. Hardy’s fielding error. Phillips got some help from third baseman Chase Headley, who hit into a 5-4-3 double play on a 3-0 pitch. Phillips then induced a flyout to center from first baseman Dustin Ackley.
Showalter said that Phillips – who pitched briefly for the Orioles in 2011 and 2012 – should get increased work in the spring’s final week. He made five appearances with the White Sox, pitching five innings, but Friday was his first appearance since March 14.
“We’ve known him for a while,” Showalter said. “Everybody [does]. He had some familiarity here and he’s been throwing a lot. He’s been pitching. It’s not like he’s just walking into spring training for the first time. He’s ready to go and show us what he’s capable of doing. He’ll probably take a day [off] and pitch again. We’ll probably pitch him every other day the rest of the way, maybe even back-to-back.”
Showalter later said pitching Phillips back-to-back wasn’t a must “because he’s been doing it his whole life.”
“He has that capability,” Showalter said. “We’ll see if he has a chance to make the club or not."