The big news out of Phillies camp this week was Roy Halladay throwing live batting practice to a few of his teammates yesterday. Although they were only tracking pitches, it did give Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez a chance to see Halladay in action. Another player who stood in was outfield prospect Dominic Brown. Brown told the media afterwards that because he was almost traded for Halladay, he felt compelled to take a few hacks off him. He did not have much success, but it may be safe to assume it was a personal victory for the young player.
It appears also that besides Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick, there is one more competitor for the 5th starters spot in the rotation. Ryan Vogelsong, 32, began his big league career with the Giants in 2000 and was then traded to Pittsburgh the following year. In his 6 years floating between the majors and minors, Vogelsong’s record stood at 10-22 with a 5.86 ERA in the majors with 315 innings pitched. After leaving the Pirates in 2006, he travelled to Japan in an attempt to improve and make a few dollars. Vogelsong grew up in the Philadelphia area and played ball at Kutztown University so he is thrilled to put on the Phillies uniform. His chances of making the team are likely slim, but as in baseball and life, anything is possible.
As Spring Training progresses, a sign that games are not far away is the Phillies annual Phan Fest, which will be held tonight at Bright House field in Clearwater. If you are in the Clearwater area, be sure to check out this event. Gates will open at 5:30pm and admission is free. There will be 2 sets of players there to sign autographs. The cost is only $15 per table for three players. The first table will have pitchers Kyle Kendrick, newcomer Danys Baez and the runner-up for Rookie of the Year, JA Happ. The second table has another newcomer, catcher Brian Schneider plus outfielders Ben Francisco and John Mayberry Jr.
Having attended Phan Fest for the last two years, I can tell you it is well worth the trip. Aside from the autograph tables, there is a play area for kids, a photo booth which will be with Darren Daulton this year, a silent auction, opportunities to buy game-used merchandise, the Phanatic and a fireworks display to end the evening. Last year, a few of the players including Ryan Madson, Chad Durbin and Brett Myers, brought their kids to the event and sat on the field to watch the fireworks. Of those three, only Chad was there for the autographs; the others came on their own to spend time with their families which was very touching to watch.
And the countdown continues…
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Photos by Jenn