…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.