Many baseballs left the ballpark today, as well as many players. Marcus Giles, who batted only .167 this spring, was given his release today. This was the best option for Giles who would not see a lot of action in the minors; this way, he has a chance to move on to another team. John Mayberry Jr. and Carlos Carrasco were both optioned back to the minors. Mayberry started off hot in camp this year, but struggled as the pitching became more difficult. He needs some more work to be big league ready, as does Carrasco. Three other players were told officially they would not make the team’s 25-man roster, but they will stay with the Phils until Saturday to give Charlie Manuel a few more options during the On Deck Series. The three players are Philadelphia native, Mike Koplove, RHP; 2nd baseman Pablo Ozuna; and outfielder Jason Ellison.
This leaves Miguel Cairo as the only extra right-handed bat, unless a trade is pulled off in the next few weeks. Cairo has not hit as well as Ozuna this spring, but he can play multiple positions and has a great deal of experience. Also, the Phillies are required to release Cairo if he does not make the 25-man roster, which may play into the decision. Rumor has it also that Matt Stairs and Geoff Jenkins are up for grabs; however, the Phillies are going to have a hard time getting rid of either as Stairs is nearing retirement and Jenkins is well over-paid.
Also still up in the air is the 5th starter’s spot. Chan Ho Park has made this a very difficult decision; today he pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up 6 hits, 1 walk and only 1 earned run. Park also struck out 7 and now has an ERA of 2.53 in 21 1/3 innings. Lefty JA Happ currently stands at 20 innings with a 3.15 ERA. Things being fairly even, Happ is still the best choice to start as Park has a proven track record as a reliever and Happ is not so comfortable in that role. Plus with the addition of lefty Jack Taschner, there is less need for Happ, also a lefty, in the pen. Park would be horribly disappointed in the decision if it goes that way, especially since he gave up pitching in the WBC this year, so does his mental status play into this as well? That remains to be seen…
The Phillies bats are heating up in preparation for Opening Night as evidenced by four home runs today from Jimmy Rollins, Eric Bruntlett, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz.
7 of the Phillies 13 runs in the 13-3 victory over the Astros came off the long ball. And Bruntlett in particular had a fun day against his former team, going 3 for 4 with 4 RBI. With all this power unleashed, it makes you wish these guys would save a bit for the real thing. Only 6 days left!
Brett Myers, now scheduled to start on opening day, will pitch tomorrow against the Blue Jays at 7:05pm. Cole Hamels got into a minor league game today and said he felt no discomfort. Hamels is tentatively scheduled to start with the Phillies on April 10th against the Rockies.
(All Photos by Jenn)
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