While nothing official has been announced yet, it looks like the 5th starters spot will go to Jamie Moyer. Against the Yankees on Friday, Moyer solidified his bid for the job by pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed only 1 hit.
His overall ERA for spring is now 2.61, if your count all the “B” games he pitched also. Is it possible that this 47-year old man, coming off 3 surgeries in the off-season, is simply just indestructible? Either he is taking Fountain of Youth pills or secretly, he is Superman with the red, white and blue uniform being perfect camouflage for his super hero suit.
So Kyle Kendrick will probably start the year in the bullpen and just wait around for someone to toss a huge ball of Kryptonite at Moyer. Either way, Kendrick should be content just to make the team after a young but up and down career so far.
Leaving his super hero costume at home, Cole Hamels is still a work in progress. He got beat up on Saturday against the Twins, allowing 5 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks in 6 1/3 innings. While Hamels was pleased that he was able to reach the 90-pitch mark in a game, he still has some big control issues to work out. After the game, Hamels told the press that he is “starting to really feel game-oriented.” With only 8 days left until Opening Day, let us hope that his “game-oriented” compass is pointing towards the strike zone.
Another point of concern this spring is Raul Ibanez, who is barely swinging the bat with a paltry .098 average. That is only 4 hits in 41 at bats. Ibanez struggle the 2nd half of 2009 with a hernia that was operated on this off-season. While he recovered well from the operation, he still has not looked at all like the “RAUUUUUL” of old. To make matters worse, he got hit in the right elbow with a pitch on Friday. It may not be a serious injury, but it may be enough that he does not get much more hitting practice before Opening Day.
When the Phillies signed Ibanez to replace Pat Burrell last year, many people, myself included, questioned why they signed a player who was 4-years older than Burrell to a 3-year contract. Ibanez will turn 38 in June and it does appear that he is not wearing the same Superman cape that Jamie Moyer is using. Moyer is a freak of nature. Ibanez, however, appears to be a mere mortal. While everyone was thrilled with his performance in the first half of 2009, things went downhill from there and show no signs of improving. Cross your fingers; this could get interesting.
The good news is, if one of the outfielders should go down, John Mayberry Jr. is waiting in the wings. Mayberry was sent to minor league camp today, but he had a great spring and would likely be first in line to be brought up if anything goes wrong. Mayberry had 6 RBI, a homer, 3 doubles and hit for an average of .289 in camp.
Two more players were reassigned today also; catcher Dane Sardinha and infielder Ozzie Chavez. This means the bench for the Phillies should consist of catcher Brian Schneider, infielders Juan Castro and Greg Dobbs and outfielder Ross Gload. With the 12 pitchers and other regulars, that should complete the 25-man roster.
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Moyer head shot by Jenn