As Spring Training nears its end, the Phillies have a number of decisions to make. Some will be made a little easier with injuries and illnesses playing a role. Darren Ruf is out 4-6 weeks with a strained oblique and utility infielder Freddy Galvis is sidelined indefinitely with a nasty MRSA infection. MRSA is a drug-resistant staph infection that is very difficult to treat. Hopefully, Galvis will pull through soon.
With just those two injuries, it looked like there would be room after all for both outfielders Tony Gwynn Jr. and Bobby Abreu. But then Abreu sat out yesterday with shoulder soreness. There is no word on how serious it is, but this certainly may affect his chances of making the team. The Phillies have until tomorrow to decide.
They will also have to decide on whether to keep Ronnie Cedeno today as a utlility infielder. With Galvis now out of the picture, his odds are better. But the Phillies also have to consider Cesar Hernandez and Reid Brignac for that spot.
But the real shocker this week so far has been the Phillies decision to outright Kevin Frandsen. He now has to decide whether to go to Triple-A or become a free agent. Frandsen has brought a lot of much needed energy to this team the last several seasons, which were otherwise dull and depressing. He was also the best pinch hitter in the majors last year with 14 pinch hits. It would be a real shame to see him go. But I do not know if many teams are knocking on his door, so free agency may not be a good option for him (or wishful thinking on my part). If he takes the Triple-A option, he could still make the team at some point.
In other news, Cole Hamels says he feels “great.” Is it just me, or have we heard this before? Don’t hold your breath…it will be at least a month before he is ready to go, barring anymore “not great” feelings.
And as an interesting side note, the Phillies have announced new food items for the 2014 season at the ballpark. Hold onto your arteries before you decide to try the new hotdog topped with bacon and melted cheese or the burger with fried egg. My heart aged 10 years just thinking about eating that.
6 days until Opening Day…
UPDATE: Frandsen just opted for free agency. I am sad 😦 He will be sorely missed…best of luck to him!
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Blast from the past Bobby Abreu was asked to Phillies camp this year to compete for a back-up outfield spot. Then again, so was Tony Gwynn Jr., son of the late Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. Gwynn Jr. is 9 years younger than Abreu and has been showing off his skills in Spring Training. He is younger, faster and hitting better than Abreu.
But wouldn’t it be nice to see Abreu back with the team? I have to root for a guy in his 40’s who still thinks he has some left in the tank. I admire his spirit. Plus he does take a lot of pitches and gets on base often.
I cannot imagine the Phillies will have room for both on the roster so it appears there will have to be a decision at some point. Here are a few short comparisons to help us decide:
– Gwynn could reduce the average age of the team; Abreu could be a granddaddy.
– Gwynn is likely to pull the ball; Abreu is likely to pull a muscle.
– Gwynn has a famous father; Abreu has a famous sweet tooth (nickname: El Comaduce, The Candy Man).
– Abreu has nostalgia on his side; Gwynn has a .307 spring batting average on his side.
When I put it like that, although in good fun, I have to admit Gwynn has the edge. But it isn’t over just yet…come on Bobby! I am still rooting for you!
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Photo by USA Today
After a very long vacation from blogging, I’m back. I have just a quick list of excuses for my absence. For starters, I have experienced a complete life “do-over.” After some hair-raising experiences including the deaths of 3 friends/family, I changed jobs, relationships, bought a house and am going back to school to work on my Master’s degree. Change is good. Trust me on this one.
Change for the Phillies thus far this offseason, however, has been minimal. It was less change and more resurrecting history when the Phils signed Marlon Byrd, Bobby Abreu (minor league deal), Larry Bowa (bench coach) and Charlie Manual, rehired as an advisor. Not to mention dumping Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews in favor of Matt Stairs and Jamie Moyer in the broadcasting booth. And don’t forget Mike Schmidt on air for Sunday games. It’s a reunion!
Did you realize there are now no less than 4 Phillies managers back with the 2014 team? The current manager, obviously, is Ryne Sandberg. Former managers on staff also include Manual, Bowa and Dallas Green (front office). That is incredible. If you want to be with a team for life, sign with the Phillies!
With all of these blasts from the past, the season will at the very least be interesting to watch. But my initial impressions so far in watching Spring Training games are not too encouraging. The offense is still in hiding, as it has been for about 3+ years now. Ok, I know it is only Spring Training, but the Braves have no problem putting up 8-9 runs a game right now so why can’t the Phils? Also, many pitchers, like Cole Hamels, are already or still hurt. But hey, the defense looks pretty good J
Of the few moves the Phillies did make this offseason, I actually like the return of Marlon Byrd. He did well with the Pirates last year, he has been open about his previous suspension and above all, he has something to prove. I love his attitude so far and he appears to have at least brought some smiles back to camp.
Beyond that, not much stands out. Ryan Howard has proclaimed his perfect health. That is nice, but we will have to wait to see if results follow. Howard will be under even more pressure this year now that he and the team are adamant that he is 100%. If he falters early, I shudder to think of the reaction from the press and the fans. They will tear the Big Piece into little pieces. I do not envy his position.
I have begun counting the days until the first real pitch of the season to see what this team really has to offer. Is the winning team back or just a rerun of last year? More thoughts on Spring Training to come…stay tuned.
Before I get to the game action, check out this video of Jimmy Rollins; it is a commercial for Dick’s Sporting Goods running on ESPN right now and it is hysterical! I love the end when Jimmy, looking like Mr. Tough Guy, sighs, “Yeah.” FUNNY!
More about Rollins later…
So the Phillies went down against the Braves in Grapefruit League action yesterday, 7-2. The almost 22-year old top prospect Carlos Carrasco got roughed up for 6 hits, 3 earned runs and 5 runs total in 2 innings of work. 2 errors in the inning added to the pain, but Carrasco is still showing his young age and inexperience.
Joe Blanton started the game and pitched 4 innings of 1-run ball. Blanton looks to be on track for a good season and seems very confident and comfortable in his role. Not looking so hot thus far has been Ryan Madson; the “Bridge to Lidge” is sporting a 4.50 ERA so far this spring; Madson gave up 1 run in one inning in the Braves game, but more concerning is the 4 hits allowed. Hoping he is just off to a slow start…
, in his push towards the Majors, had a great day; Donald hit 2 for3 with 1 RBI, 1 run scored and a walk. Donald may be able to fill in for Chase Utley or Pedro Feliz should either of them not be ready to go in April. Brought up as a shortstop, the Phillies have been trying Donald out at 2nd and 3rd as well to see if he can field those positions. So far, so good.
John Mayberry Jr., who has been doing very well in his quest to get to the Majors, had a rough day against the Braves pitching, striking out 3 times and going 0 for 4 in the game. We will see how he stands up as the pitching he faces begins to get tougher. One fun note one Mayberry; the Phillies have him listed as being 6’6″ tall. One day last week, I stood right next to him and he looked more like 7 feet tall; curious though as to what he might say, I asked how tall he was; Mayberry laughed and then told me he was 6’5″. I informed him that the Phillies had given him an extra inch, to which he smiled, shrugged his shoulders and said he wasn’t sure what they had listed. Anyway, nice guy….I wish him luck! :O)
The good news about Carlos Ruiz is that he appears to be fine after a reported neck injury; he played in yesterday’s game against the Dominican Republic, going 1 for 3. The bad news is that Panama was knocked out the classic, losing the game 9-0. Ruiz should be returning to the Phillies shortly.
Team USA clinched a spot in the next, beating ex-Phillie Bobby Abreu and the Venezuelan team, 15-6. Jimmy Rollins was sharp at the plate, going 2 for 3, but got picked off at 2nd after a lead-off double to start the game. Dustin Pedroia was supposed to lay down a bunt, which drew Rollins further off the plate, but Pedroia missed the bunt and Rollins got nailed. Pedroia also managed to hit into a double play the next time Rollins got on base. Guessing there may be no love lost between the two men today.
But Rollins, it seems, has finally gotten his due. Spending years being overlooked and underrated by media, last night, the ESPN announcers spent nearly half the game talking up Rollins; from how great a fielder he was, to his stolen base record and even noting that Rollins is “officially” the best dancer in the league. Yes, bust out the disco ball and bellbottoms; Rollins has been crowned the Disco King by ESPN. Bigger breaking news, there has never been.
Ok, so besides the 10 minutes they spent talking about dance moves, one announcer even went so far as to say he thought it was a mistake to remove Rollins from the game in favor of Derek Jeter, with how hot Rollins’ bat was. Whoa! Hold the presses! A media person chose Rollins over Jeter! I think hell is about to freeze over. Well, really this is rational; when you have 2 equally matched players, you go with the hot bat. But just the mere fact that someone from the media put Rollins and Jeter on the same pedestal was amazing. And really, it is about time. How do you spell “respect?” Apparently, it goes something like, “World Champions!”
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