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MLB - US Sports: Girardi expects 'tough' start

The Philadelphia Phillies team manager Joe Girardi thinks it will be a 'battle of attrition' in the opening weeks of the new season.

The Phillies are 25/1 to win the World Series in 2022, something they have not achieved since 2008, and they faded badly late last season, coming off a year in which they finished 82-80, good for second place in the National League East.

Openers looming close

The Phillies open the regular season at home against the Oakland Athletics on 8th April, which is the first of 13 straight games.

Teams are expected to have their rosters expanded from 26 players to 28 in April, thanks to the shortened spring training.

Girardi, speaking to the official Phillies website said: "It's a concern I'm sure for every organisation in the game, and our situation is tough where it's 13 in a row. Just got to find a way through it and keep everybody healthy, that's the important bit.

"The most important thing for this team is, secure the baseball, right? Plays we need to make however you make them too.

"You can fall down and catch pop ups, I don't care. Just catch them, they count."

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Wheeler ready to roll

Zach Wheeler, who went 14-10 with a 2.78 ERA last season threw a live batting session last Saturday and will do it again in the next few days.

He experienced shoulder soreness in December, but appears to be on target to be ready for the first week of regular-season games.

Aaron Nola will start Philadelphia's regular-season opener for the fifth consecutive year.

The Phillies added former New York Mets reliever Jeurys Familia to their bullpen on a one year contract. Also they added outfielder Nick Castellanos to a five-year $100 million contract earlier this week.

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