In yesterday’s spring training game against the Astros, pitcher Cole Hamels had words with second baseman Bill Hall. Hamels threw a pitch up and in which did not even come that close to Hall, but he apparently took offense.
Hamels blew off the incident saying Hall was a “good guy.” Hall reacted a bit differently. According to the veteran infielder, “He’s (Hamels) definitely a marked man for me now. So when I do some damage off him I’m going to let him know I did some damage off him. I guarantee that. I’m not going to let him disrespect me. If you disrespect me I’m going to do my best to disrespect you back.”
In nine years in the majors, Hall is a lifetime .250 hitter. I am not sure what “damage” Hall is referring to and I am guessing we will not find out anytime in this decade. For a 31-year old, below-average player, these are certainly very immature remarks. Hall is not worthy to lick Cole’s muddy cleats.
The grocery list of Phillies player injuries has just grown a bit longer. It began with Chase Utley’s bum knee, moved on to a broken hand bone for Domonic Brown, a sore neck for Ben Francisco and now, Brad Lidge has joined the party.
According to Phillies sources, Lidge has bicep tendinitis. Pitching coach Rich Dubee said, “He generally has it in the spring,” indicating that this is business as usual for Lidge. The Phillies insist it is not serious. Then again, we have heard that one before.
There are also reports that Lidge’s fastball is not up to speed. Combined with his injury history and the fact that he has yet to get through an entire spring training with the Phillies healthy, there may be reason for concern.
Speaking of Lidge’s history, did you know that Lidge missed parts of his first four professional seasons, from 2002 to 2005, with a variety of injuries? These included a torn rotator cuff, right shoulder tendinitis and a broken forearm that almost ended his career.
Here is a closer look at some of Lidge’s injury history:
– 2002, a strained intercostal muscle near the rib cage.
– December 2003, arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
– June – July 2005, shut down with elbow issues.
– May 2007, bone bruise on his right femur near his knee.
– June – July 2007, left oblique strain.
– October 2007, surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee.
– February 2008, tore the meniscus in the same knee he just had surgery on during his first pitch off a mound in spring training.
– June 2009, sprained right knee and a sore elbow, specifically the flexor pronator tendon.
– January 2010, surgery on both the elbow and the right knee again.
– March 2010, the elbow is still an issue and Lidge gets a cortisone injection.
– March 2011, bicep tendinitis.
While history does not always predict the future, the long list of injuries is a bit scary. The amount of time Lidge has missed is an issue as well.
Of the top ten closers in baseball who remained basically healthy in 2010, the average number of innings pitched for each closer was about 68.2 innings per year. Lidge pitched only 45.2 last year and 58.2 in 2009.
The current injury for Lidge may indeed be nothing to worry about. Phillies fans certainly hope that is the case. But at the rate Phillies players are dropping, any injury is scary.
Adding to the Phillies woes, Placido Polanco left a spring game early today after hyperextending the same elbow he had surgery on this offseason. Just like Lidge, the Phillies say he is not expected to miss much time.
For both Lidge and Polanco, many are hoping that history will not repeat itself.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Fenway Park in Boston is endearingly referred to as the Green Monster. The Phillies went to Boston today and shortly thereafter, pitcher Jamie Moyer was served up on a silver platter for appetizer, entrée and dessert as a human sacrifice to the Green Monster. The Phillies lost 12-2 to the Red Sox; it was a complete and utter annihilation.
Moyer gave up 5 runs in the first inning and followed that with 4 more in the 2nd without recording an out. Moyer was pulled and left the game with an official record of 1 inning pitched, 9 runs and 9 hits. That calculates to an ERA of 81.00 for the game. Luckily, when it is rolled into the rest of his stats for the year, it is a slightly less frightening 5.03 ERA.
The offense, again, did themselves no favors. They scored only 2 runs and the usual problems, like grounding into double plays with the bases loaded, prevailed again. By the 4th inning, the Phils basically threw in the towel and sat stars Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino in favor of bench players, giving them some playing time.
The other big loser in the game besides the Phillies was Bill Hall of the Red Sox. While the rest of his team pounded Phillies pitching mercilessly, poor Hall was the only starter who went hitless. I actually felt bad for the guy. Maybe he is secretly a Phillies fan? Nah….
Still looking for that elusive silver lining? Ok, well the recently super-bad Jayson Werth finally started hitting again. He went 3 for 4 at the plate, although he still managed to leave 3 men on base. But a good day for Werth will hopefully get him back on track.
As for the rest of the team, I personally think they all need either a butt-kicking or a group hug. The fact that I cannot decide which would be more helpful is a testament to the complete horror of the past month in Phillies baseball. Ok, let us count today as the butt-kicking then, just to be more upbeat about it.
However, the Phillies are in big, big trouble. Fans are all familiar with the Phillies Interleague play follies of years past and this year has begun no differently. If they continue on this path, they may dig a hole too deep to climb out of. Start praying that tomorrow will be a better day. Joe Blanton will pitch and game time is 4:10pm.
Moyer photo by Jenn Zambri Photography