February 2011

Report from the first spring training game…

In the Phils’ 8-0 victory over the FSU Seminoles, Ryan Howard started off the Phils’ scoring in the first with a two-run double to left-center field, knocking in both Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez, who have both got on base with singles. Carlos Ruiz and Pete Orr knocked in the Phil’s other two first inning runs.

The Phils’ pitchers, to go along with their giving up only four hits, gave up only three walks, while striking out a total of eleven Seminoles.

The winning pitcher, Drew Naylor, pitched two shut out innings.

The Phils’ next game, which will be their official Grapefruit League opener, will be this coming Saturday, against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. Game time is 1:05 pm Eastern.

As Adam Wainwright goes down…

The St. Louis Cardinals have suffered a major blow as they lose their ace, Adam Wainwright, as he will likely face Tommy John Surgery to replace the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. This, of course, means that the redbirds will be looking for someone to take Wainwright’s spot in their rotation.

Because of this, Joe Blanton’s name have been linked in talks about the possibilities of a trade between the two teams. Thing is, Ruben Amaro Jr. have said that the Phils plan to keep Blanton and intend to use him as their fifth starter. And, even if they were to trade him, the Phils would most likely be looking for, in return, a right handed bat who is major league ready, or just about, who the Cardinals will be willing to give up. I’m not sure if the Cards will do that at this point, if it happens at all.

Me, I think Blanton is going to be here for opening day and beyond.

The first game of spring training is done…

And the Phils have defeated the Florida State Seminoles by the score of 8-0, after adding a pair of two runs in both the sixth and the seventh innings, after taking a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first. FSU had a total of four hits and no errors, as they scored no runs, while the Phils scored eight runs on eleven hits, with no home runs, while committing two errors, which the Seminoles were obviously unable to capitalize on.

The Phils winning pitcher is Drew Naylor, who’s spring training record is presently 1-0 with an 0.00 ERA, while the Seminoles losing pitcher is Tyler Everett, who’s record is now 0-0 with a 36.00 ERA.

And, spring training games have finally begun…

As the Phils play their first official spring training game, an exhibition game with Florida State, which started at around 1:05 pm ET. According to MLB.com, the Phils have taken a 4-0 lead against FSU, scoring all of their runs in the first inning, as they bat in the bottom of the six.

And, spring training games have finally  begun…

As the Phils play their first official spring training game, an exhibition game with Florida State, which started at around 1:05 pm ET. According to MLB.com, the Phils have taken a 4-0 lead against FSU, scoring all of their runs in the first inning, as they bat in the bottom of the six.

Lee’s health…or, someone please call out the adults.

It would seems that last month, while Cliff Lee was home playing catch he felt something wrong along the left side of his body, around the armpit, so, while he was planning to come to the city anyway, he had the Phils’ team physician Michael Ciccotti exam him, after having first called the team’s athletic trainer Scott Sheridan. The result of the exam was that the MRI discovered a minor strain along the left latissimus dorsi.

The Phils suggested that he do nothing for eight days, which Lee did, and when he pitched from the mound last Tuesday, his session was shorter than the rest, to make sure that there was nothing wrong with him. Other than that, he has been working out with the rest of the pitching staff, waiting for his opportunity to pitch in his first spring training game.

Okay, now I see nothing wrong with the Phils being careful with Lee, especially after spring training of last year when he was a member of the Mariners, in which he got injuried, and missed the start of the 2010 season. But, if the man himself says that he is right now feeling fine, let take his word for it, unless something else proves otherwise. I’m going to give Lee, and the Phils, the benefit of the doubt until his left side, or some other part of his anatomy, really start giving him problems. Until then, I’m not going to listen to the talk about his ‘injury’ since he is not injured. All that will do is waste too much of my time with needless worry.

Hail, hail..

…the team’s all here.

All of the position players have decided to come to Clearwater earlier than the official Saturday date when they are suppose to report. To me, that means that they are all eager to get started, which brings a big smile to my face.

The news that has come out of camp, so far, is that the Phils plan to have Wilson Valdez work out some in centerfield, so that they can use him there during the season, as well as at second, third and short. Sounds like a good idea to me, since they are obviously planning to optimize the use of their bench players so that they can insert them anywhere on the field in the late innings, if they aren’t using them as pinch hitters, or intend to give their starters a few days off to rest.

Raul Ibanez has come to camp in good shape, having worked out during the off-season, showing himself prepared to play a full season without injury, thereby helping the ballclub both with the bat, and in the field.

Dom Brown is prepared to get the right fielder job while admitting that he had played poorly in the Domnican Winter League, and that he has no excuse for that. In fact, he hopes that it’ll help motivate him in his fight for the right field position. He has also mentioned that while he was in Clearwater earlier this year, that batting coach Greg Gross has helped him to correct his swing, to get rid of the kinks that had developed while he was on the bench during the last month or so of the 2010 regular season, figuring it’ll help him out.

Lastly, Chase Utley, when asked if he would take the opportunity to speak with Hall of Famer Ryan Sandberg, the Phils’ new manager for their Triple-A team (Lehigh Valley), said that he planned to pick his brains. In fact, the pair had already spoken with each other, and Sandberg has said that he is impressed with Utley’s work ethic. I hope that the pair’s talking will help Utley bounce back from what happened last season.

Spring Training has started…

And the Phils’ pitchers and catchers have started working out to get in shape for the season. The major buzz in camp on Monday was the media conference that was held with the team’s five starters (Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamel and Blanton), in which the five downplayed the fact that they are suppose to be the best rotation in the major, while also reminding folks about Blanton, especially after one reporter had forgotten that two of the five (Hamels and Blanton) and not one of them presently have World Championship rings, and that, according to Lee, they are not accepting any of the nicknames that have been created about them by the fans, since none of them are taking into account all five members. (I love this, being humble, and showing their support for Blanton. Sounds like they all have their heads together.)  Now they just need to show that they’re all ready to go start throwing goose eggs at the opposition.

While the pitchers and catchers are getting ready, there are at the moment two regulars also at camp, Chase Utley (Man, does he know what the word relaxing mean? Obviously not if he’s there now) and Jimmy Rollins. With Rollins, this is a surprise, but should be an indication that he wants to put the last three seasons (2008-2010) behind him, and help to prove that he deserves an extension on his contract, which is suppose to end this season. If he can stay healthy and have a comeback season, he should get his extension. Good luck, James, we’re all hoping for the best for you this year. And, since he is suppose to be the sparkplug for the offense, this should help the team a lot, especially through leading by example for the younger members (Dom Brown) of the team.

Ahh, finally…

…the day has arrived when pitchers and catchers are suppose to arrive. And for the Phils, it means that one of the best starting rotations in the major leagues will have arrived in Clearwater, along with what should be one of the most rested bullpens during the regular season because their first four starters (Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels) should, on most days, be able to reach at least the seventh inning before Uncle Charlie would need to call on the relief corps. Of course, that will depend on the Phil’s offense, since several players (Utley, Rollins, Howard, etc.) are expected to have comeback years after the down year that the team’s offense had last season, while the Phils will be trying to break in rookie Dom Brown, as they plan to use him in a platoon situation with Ben Francisco in right field.

A lot of my fellow Phillies fans are already predicting the Phils to have a large number of wins this season because of our Fantastic Foursome on the mound. Me, I’ll be happy if they break the team’s record of 101 wins, while spanking the Giants during the two times that the two clubs will meet this year.

I’d just looked at the Latest Leaders list for January…

And boy was I shocked by what I saw. Why? Because I’d discovered that I am among the top 50 fan blogs, at #35 no less. What is that a shock? Because I did not upload too many posts during the past month, and therefore did not expect to be even close to making the list. To say that there was almost no peep out of me last month is an understatement. And that was mainly because my home team, the Phils, did almost nothing newsworthy during the past month. Boy, I guess not saying too much might actually be a good thing. Since the time that pitchers and catchers are to report to Clearwater is just around the corner, I won’t be as quiet as a church mouse too much longer. Soon it’ll be time for me to start earning my keep.

Anyway, here’s the Fans #50 list:

1. Sarge’s Phillies Phantasy Camp Diary
2. Rockpile Rant
3. Rays Renegade
4. Red State Blue State
5. Unfinished Business
6. Hands off my Pirates Booty
7. The Three Bs
8. The Future Blog of the Red Sox
9. Yankee Yapping
10. Phillies Phollowers
11. Pinstripe Birthdays
12. Julia’s Rants
13. The Pittsburgh Peas
14. I’m Not A Headline Guy…
15. Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend
16. Strictly Cubs Baseball
17. Cook & Son Bats’ Blog
18. Dodgerfilms
19. White Elephant Parade
20. The Closer
21. 2011 Red Sox Fantasy Camp
22. Counting Baseballs
23. The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived
24. Yankees Chick
25. Crzblue’s Dodger Blue World
26. FutureAngels.com
27. Blogging ‘Bout Baseball
28. Pessimistic Cub Fan
29. Prose and Ivy
30. The Cub Den
31. The Phanatic Addict
32. Art of the Pale Hose
33. San Jose A’s Fan
34. SPANdemonium
35. Phillies Red Pinstripes
36. Sports Propaganda
37. Minoring In Baseball
38. Purple Pride
39. King of Cali
40. This is a very simple game…
41. Thomas’ Trolley
42. Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts
43. Live, Eat, and Breathe Yankees
44. DYNASTY League Baseball from designer of Pursue the Pennant
45. Baseball Addict
46. Bjarkman’s Latino and Cuban League Baseball History Page
47. There’s Always Next Year
48. Cardinal Girl
49. Smitty’s Sandlot Smatterings : Lumber, Leather and Life
50. All Things Pirates: Breaking down the Buccos

As can be seen, there appears to be five Phils related blog on the list this time, although one, Sarge’s Phillies Phantasy Camp Diary is a new one. Anyway, give all of the blogs on the list a look see, folks. I’m sure that we’ll all appreciate it.