Notes: Durbin eyes rotation spot
Well-traveled righty hopes to make Phils as No. 5 starter
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Last season, J.D. Durbin pulled duty with four different teams in a 17-day span. In 2008, his goal is to have a bit more stability.
Durbin's fighting an uphill battle while in competition with four other pitchers for the fifth spot in Philadelphia's rotation, but even after a less-than-spectacular showing in a Grapefruit League contest on Friday, he's not yet concerned.
"Not so much this early," Durbin said. "Today, I was just getting mechanics and everything ironed out to where I feel comfortable."
The right-hander was charged with two earned runs on five hits during the Phillies' 5-4 win over the Pirates. He scattered five hits, walked one and fanned none, and looked shaky out of the gate. Durbin served up a long ball to the second hitter he faced, and followed that up with back-to-back singles before settling down to retire the side.
The second RBI came in the second inning on a single from shortstop Jack Wilson, the same hitter who took Durbin deep in the first inning.
"I know what he's got and I know how good he was for us at times last year, and of course that helps," said manager Charlie Manuel of Durbin. "But at the same time, we're still looking for guys to be consistent and pitch. We want to have the best staff we can possibly have."
What the future holds for Durbin remains to be seen. Adam Eaton may be the front-runner for the No. 5 spot, but Durbin also has to contend with Chad Durbin, Kris Benson and Travis Blackley.
J.D. Durbin admitted his heart is in a starter's role, but also knows he's not in a position to be too picky.
"I did it all last year," Durbin recalled. "Whatever's called upon, just give me the ball and I'll be out there for you. ... It really doesn't matter to me, as long as I've got a big league uniform on and I'm playing in front of 34,000 people, that's all I care to do."
Crashing onto the scene: Casey Smith signed with the Phillies because he said they "seemed like a good fit." On Friday afternoon, he gave Philadelphia a reason to think he was a good fit as well.
The 28-year-old free agent went 3-for-4 with two doubles. His final at-bat put the definitive stamp on a dominant day, and came in the form of a towering game-winning home run in the ninth that landed on the roof of a building beyond the left-field wall.
"Any time you can come out and have a pretty good game, you make the best of it," Smith said. "You just want to get a chance to get called up during the year and get a little taste of it. You never know what's going to happen, you just have to be ready when you get the chance."
Smith also drove in two runs in a performance Manuel lauded.
"I told Casey if he hit a home run today, people would start liking him more," Manuel said. "I know his manager does."
Honor roll: Shane Victorino tripled to the right-field wall in the fifth inning. It appeared the speedy leadoff hitter had a decent chance of beating the throw home, judging by the chorus of boos from the fans. He scored to tie the game on the next play, thanks to a wild pitch from righty Jonah Bayliss, and finished 2-for-3.
Earlier in the day: Philadelphia defeated the Pittsburgh, 4-3, in a seven-inning "B" game at Pirate City on Friday morning. Opening Day starter Brett Myers earned the win. The right-hander scattered six hits over three innings, fanned three and allowed an earned run. Myers threw 39 pitches, 29 of them for strikes.
Leadoff hitter Brandon Watson walked to start the game, and scored Philly's first run on a Jason Donald double to the gap in right-center field a moment later. The Phillies struck twice in the second inning, once on a Greg Golson single and again when Golson scampered home on a passed ball.
Golson homered to left-center field off Mike Thompson in the seventh inning for the final tally.
Southpaw J.C. Romero allowed one hit and faced just batter one over the minimum in his two innings of work.
Diamond gems: Watson earned applause during the second inning with a spectacular sliding catch in left field to rob Jose Macias of a hit. ... Third baseman Michael Cervenak made a diving gloveside stop to take away a base hit from Andrew McCutchen in the third inning of the "B" game. ... Catcher Jason Jaramillo mowed down Doug Mientkiewicz on the basepaths with a laser throw to second base that ended the Pirates' threat in the fourth inning of the "A" game.
Quick hits: Reliever Gary Knotts was drilled in the leg by a Neil Walker comebacker in the eighth inning, but shook it off and stayed in the game. ... Shane Youman pitched the fifth inning of the afternoon game and faced his former team for the first time since he was claimed off waivers by the Phillies in November. The southpaw allowed just one hit but issued four walks, two with the bases loaded, to put the Phillies in a 4-2 hole. ... The Spring Training opener at McKechnie Field marked the beginning of the 40th season of Pirates baseball there.
Coming up: The Phillies return to Bright House Networks Field on Saturday to face off against the Yankees. Right-hander Adam Eaton will toe the slab for Philadelphia, while righty Chien-Ming Wang will start for New York. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. ET.
Dawn Klemish is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.