Pivetta's shot at a rotation spot could take a hit with a shortened schedule, as that could lead to the Phillies promoting Spencer Howard for the start of the season, Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Pivetta was already seemingly an underdog in a battle with Vince Velasquez and Ranger Suarez for the Phillies' final rotation spot. His 8.22 ERA and 1.83 WHIP in 7.2 spring innings didn't exactly help his case. If Howard is indeed given the job from the start of the campaign, all three of those pitchers would be consigned to a bullpen role (if they even start the campaign in the majors). Pivetta would need at least one and possibly multiple injuries ahead of him if he's to end up in a fantasy-relevant role.
Pivetta is hoping to feature a changeup this season, Matt Gelb of The Athletic reports. Pivetta is hardly the only pitcher looking to improve his changeup this spring, and there's no guarantee he'll be successful, but for those looking for a reason to buy back in on last year's popular sleeper pick, this is potentially something to latch onto. Pivetta threw just 15 changeups in 93.2 innings last season while struggling to a 5.38 ERA. The new pitch didn't lead to much success in his first outing of the spring against the Tigers on Saturday, as he allowed three runs on five hits in 1.2 innings of work.
Pivetta will start the Phillies' Grapefruit League opener Saturday against the Tigers, Matt Breen of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. A popular sleeper pick this time last season due to some promising peripherals, Pivetta had a disaster of a 2019 campaign, experiencing demotions both to the minors and to the bullpen while struggling to a 5.38 ERA. The Phillies didn't make any additions to their shaky rotation over the offseason, so Pivetta enters camp as a starter again and appears to be competing with Vince Velasquez for the final spot in the rotation. Highly rated prospect Spencer Howard (knee) looms to take that spot at some point, however, and he could enter the conversation fairly early in the year.
Pivetta was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday, Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Pivetta was optioned to Triple-A on Aug. 24, but he'll be eligible to return to the majors after spending the last 10 days with the IronPigs. The right-hander owns a 5.38 ERA and 1.52 WHIP with an 83:35 K:BB over 88.2 innings this season with the Phillies.
Pivetta was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Saturday. The Phillies had hoped Pivetta would serve as a high-leverage reliever when they shifted him to the bullpen earlier this season. However, he allowed at least one earned run in four of his last five appearances, causing the Phillies to turn in another direction. Pivetta will look to get back on track in Triple-A, though it is still unclear whether he will be used as a starter or reliever.
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