- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 21, 2009

CLEARWATER, FLA. (AP) - Kyle Kendrick kept himself in the race for the final spot in Philadelphia’s rotation.

The 24-year-old right-hander pitched his best game of spring training Saturday in the Phillies’ 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins. Kendrick allowed two runs and five hits in five innings.

He called his latest outing “a step forward.” Kendrick is competing with veteran Chan Ho Park, rookie J.A. Happ and top prospect Carlos Carrasco for the role of fifth starter.

The Phillies also received encouraging news about their ace. Left-hander Cole Hamels threw off a mound for the first time since leaving camp Tuesday with elbow tightness.

Hamels, who had an anti-inflammatory shot Tuesday, said he didn’t feel any pain following a bullpen session that simulated a two-inning stint.

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