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Mendoza, Chen react to fifth starter decision

The Phillies have enjoyed playing against John Lannan for years. Now they'll see what it's like to play with him.

The veteran left-hander will make his Phillies debut on Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park in the second of a three-game series against the Royals. Philadelphia dropped its home opener on Friday, 13-4, as the Royals topped their 2012 season high for runs in a game.

Lannan signed a one-year deal with the Phillies in December, following six years with the Nationals. During that time, he posted a 5.53 ERA against Philadelphia -- including 6.49 in eight starts at Citizens Bank Park -- compared with his career mark of 4.01.

Despite a solid 2011 season, Lannan was squeezed out of Washington's rotation last year. He spent most of his time at Triple-A Syracuse, but went 4-1 with a 4.13 ERA in six big league outings.

"They just thought they had better guys than me," he said. "That's what it came down to. I've always had a chip on my shoulder, but to be told you're not good enough, it's kind of hard to take. It definitely changed me."

With a spot in the Phillies' rotation secure, Lannan was having a good spring until his Grapefruit League outing against the Blue Jays on March 25. He allowed 12 runs on 14 hits, including two homers.

"I made some good pitches, but most of the day I was up in the zone and they took advantage," he said. "I got my butt kicked, and I've got to move on."

Lannan did that in his final spring outing on March 30, when he held Toronto to one run in three innings, with five strikeouts.

The Royals will counter with right-hander Luis Mendoza, who has had a successful last few months. First, the 29-year-old was named the Most Valuable Player of the Caribbean Series after throwing 13 1/3 scoreless innings. Then his strong spring allowed him to beat out Bruce Chen for the fifth spot in the Royals' rotation.

"You go back into the track records, and there's no denying Bruce has won 35 games in the last three years," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Mendy is a guy that has good natural sink on his fastball. His breaking pitches have evolved. And he's gotten better and more consistent. He had a great winter, he's had a great spring. We'll give him the first crack at it."

Mendoza went 8-10 with a 4.23 ERA in 30 games, including 25 starts, for the Royals last season.

Royals: Missing the DH
Playing in a National League park, the Royals can't go with their usual lineup, which includes Billy Butler at designated hitter. Yost either has to sit Butler -- last year's team leader in batting average, home runs and RBIs -- or use him at first base while sitting Eric Hosmer or Jeff Francoeur.

Butler began Friday's game on the bench, although he walked and scored as a pinch-hitter.

Yost said he wanted Francoeur in the lineup, considering his past success against Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick. That figures to be the case again on Saturday, since Francoeur is 13-for-28 (.520) with four doubles and a home run against Lannan.

Hosmer, on the other hand, is a career .228 hitter against lefties, with a .589 OPS.

Phillies: Brown making most of opportunity
• Domonic Brown won the starting left-field job by hitting .356 with seven home runs this spring, and after making his first Opening Day roster, the 25-year-old has carried that success into the regular season.

Brown went 1-for-4 with his first home run of the season on Friday. He has at least one hit in each of the Phillies' first four games and is off to a 5-for-15 start.

• The Phillies have not received much help from their bullpen thus far. The team's relievers allowed six runs on six hits and five walks in 8 2/3 innings during the opening series against the Braves.

On Friday, Jeremy Horst entered with the bases loaded in the sixth inning and gave up a go-ahead three-run triple to Alex Gordon. The bullpen finished the game having allowed eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings.

Worth noting
• Mendoza will be pitching at Citizens Bank Park for the first time, while Lannan will be making his first appearance against the Royals.

• The Royals hadn't produced a bases-loaded triple since 2009 before Gordon and Chris Getz hit them in consecutive innings on Friday. Comments