The Phillies played two games today in split squad action. Kyle Kendrick started against the Rays in Clearwater and Vance Worley took the mound against the Pirates in Bradenton.
Worley did well and allowed just one run over 3.1 innings on two hits and two walks while striking out five batters.
Kendrick, on the other hand, looked good for two innings but was then slammed with three homers from lefties in his final two innings. The five runs Kendrick surrendered contributed to a 6-2 Phillies loss.
While it is only spring training, the question of whether or not Kendrick can get left-handed batters out still remains. In four seasons with the Phillies, Kendrick has been consistently inconsistent. The issues with lefties, a sinker ball that does not always sink and Kendrick’s tendency to become frustrated on the mound are concerning.
With all the experience he had gained over the years, the time for Kendrick to get it together into one complete package may be now or never.
Worley, 23, is younger and has less experience. But in the long run, he may turn out to be the better pitcher between the two. In 13 innings with the big club last year, Worley posted a 1.38 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP. His minor league lifetime WHIP is 1.280.
In addition, Worley has a variety of pitches including both a two-seam and four-seam fastball, slider, curve and cut fastball.
It is possible that Worley will have outpitched Kendrick by the end of spring. If so, do the Phillies go with Worley or stick with experience in Kendrick?
There is a different possibility as well. If another bullpen pitcher bombs, like Danys Baez for example, there could be room for both players. This also gives the Phillies additional options in the case that a starting pitcher gets injured. Although, having two long-men in the bullpen seems unlikely as Worley could easily be recalled from the minors if needed.
With only a few weeks left this spring, both pitchers will need to bring their A-games.
Amaro’s Contract Extension
Earlier today, Ruben Amaro Jr. signed a four-year contract extension with the Phillies. Amaro has been with the Phillies organization for a very long time and it appears that will not end anytime soon.
Amaro played for the Phillies from 1992 to 1993 and again from 1996 to 1998. Right after that, he moved to the Phillies front office, serving as Assistant GM until being promoted to GM at the end of the 2008 season. Amaro grew up in Philadelphia and his father, Ruben Amaro Sr., also played for the Phillies for six seasons.
Chase Utley’s Knee
The Phillies have issued a statement that Chase Utley has made “a small improvement” in his rehab after suffering patellar tendinitis, chondromalacia and bone inflammation this spring.
The news is underwhelming.
However, a newspaper cartoonist had another take on the subject:
It seems he feels like Utley is comparable to Humpty Dumpty. Quick, get the Super Glue!
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Cartoon from The Dover Post
Earlier today, the Phillies finally got the deal done with manager Charlie Manuel. The two-year extension will take him through the 2013 season.
In a press conference, Manuel expressed his desire to stay with the Phillies until he leaves baseball. Manuel discussed other teams he has worked with and then stated, “I’m a Phillie. If I cut my arm it’s going to be red blood, not blue.”
Well, unless Charlie is a horseshoe crab or an octopus, I am pretty sure he bleeds red. But seriously, it is great to have a guarantee for Charlie before the season starts.
During Manuel’s time in Philly, the team has the best record in the National League. Manuel has won 544 games with the Phillies plus four division titles, one league title and , of course, the 2008 World Series Championship.
Spring Training Update
The Phillies are plugging along through spring training despite losing both Chase Utley and Domonic Brown to injuries. Utley is still out indefinitely. Brown had successfully surgery to remove the hamate bone in his hand and is expected to play again in four to six weeks.
Today, Roy Halladay pitched six scoreless innings against the Yankees, allowing only four hits. Halladay was sharp and used his curve ball more than usual in preparation for the season.
While winning by a score of 7-0, the Phillies saw contributions from several lesser-known players. One of those players, Josh Barfield, went 2 for 3, including a triple today. He is hitting .538 in 13 at-bats so far this spring. Barfield is a second baseman who spent parts of four seasons in the majors with the Indians and Padres. He hit .294 with 36 RBI last year in the Indians AAA club.
Barfield has been impressive, which may be of great importance now that Utley’s future is uncertain. Wilson Valdez is an option as well, but it could not hurt to have an extra infielder right now.
Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
Those already panicking over Chase Utley’s knee problems were given more fuel to add to the fire today. The Phillies announced that not only does Utley have patellar tendinitis, he also has chondromalacia and bone inflammation.
Utley has had both patellar tendinitis and chondromalacia in the past. So the recurrence of these issues plus the fact that the cortisone injection did nothing is very, very bad news. In a fantasybaseball.com article, a former athletic trainer states, “…inflammation of the bone, which generally means that the cartilage has completely worn away in spots and Utley’s knee now has portions where bone is rubbing directly on bone.”
Because both rest and cortisone have not helped, the outlook for recovery is grim. The Phillies plan to exhaust all non-surgical options, but those options may be slim.
And if Utley had these symptoms right at the start of spring training, that raises some questions. Did Utley have the same symptoms during his offseason workouts? And if so, why did he not seek help earlier? He could have had surgery in the offseason and saved months of possible playing time.
And now that the Phillies are trying to avoid surgery, that may just be postponing the inevitable. This is also wasting more time if he does eventually need surgery.
According to multiple medical sites and patient testimonies, the rest time needed for non-surgical recovery from chondromalacia, also known as “runners knee,” is listed as “months,” not weeks. If rest will take months to help, why not just do the surgery and get it over with?
This is obviously a frustrating scenario all around. If Utley is going to be out for an extended period of time, the Phillies need to know as soon as possible. Either they will hand the job to Wilson Valdez or they need to look elsewhere for help.
Either way, it is bad news for the Phillies.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
While hitting a foul ball in Saturday’s spring training game against the Pirates, Domonic Brown fractured the hamate bone in his right hand. Oddly enough, his very next swing after breaking the bone resulted in his only hit in spring action through 16 at-bats.
Several baseball players have had this very same bone removed in the past. Some of those include former Phillie, Jim Thome and Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia. Apparently, the hand is just fine without this bone, although recovery from the surgery could take four to six weeks.
This may be a blessing in disguise for Brown who was struggling badly to adjust his swing and make the Phillies roster before the end of camp. Time off to reflect on his issues may be a good thing.
In the meantime, the job in right almost certainly will go to Ben Francisco, although the Phillies will not dub anyone the winner just yet.
Thus far, the injury bug has bitten twice for the Phillies in spring training; first Chase Utley and his bum knee, then Brown. Utley is still recovering from a cortisone injection and it will be several more days before any more is known about his knee.
On the bright side, the Phillies pitching staff looks fantastic! Cliff Lee appeared to be almost in mid-season form against the Rays today over four innings. And on Saturday Roy Halladay threw three scoreless innings, allowing only one hit.
In the bullpen, JC Romero pitched today and looked very, very sharp. After going 3-0 on the first batter, he came back to strike the guy out and then mowed down the next two batters in order.
Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras also seem to be moving along well. Neither has surrendered a run yet.
Other roster hopefuls are not having much success though. Eddie Bonine has allowed seven runs in four innings of work. J.C. Ramirez has allowed four runs in five innings. However, most of these guys were not expected to make the team anyway.
Spring action continues tomorrow when the Phillies see the Yankees again. Game time is 1:05pm.
Illustration by Wikipedia
About a week ago, an MRI revealed that Chase Utley had patellar tendinitis in his right knee. He was prescribed rest and expected to show improvement quickly.
The usually quiet and reserved Utley normally says very little in regards to his physical condition. But in an interview today with Phillies beat-writer, Todd Zolecki, Utley stated, ” There is a little bit of concern.”
Knowing Utley’s usual demeanor, to hear him utter the words “a little bit of concern,” is akin to a normal person shouting, “Fire! Fire!” and sounding a very loud alarm. This is not good news.
Worse than Utley’s own words is the fact that a cortisone injection was needed. If a week of rest did nothing to alleviate the pain, one could speculate that the condition is more serious than originally diagnosed.
Patellar tendinitis can lead to small tears in the tendons over time and weakening or tears of the knee cartilage. If that occurs, surgery may be needed. The minimum recovery time of such a surgery is usually at least six months.
And while that may be jumping ahead a just a tad, the reality is that a cortisone injection to the knee is very bad news. Any swelling that cannot be reduced by rest indicates a real problem.
Should the Phillies sound the alarm and start looking for help at second base? It may be too early for that, however, it also could not hurt to have a back-up plan.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Over the last two days, both Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee saw their first spring training action on the mound. Halladay went two scoreless against his old team, the Blue Jays. And Lee gave up two runs in two innings today against the Tigers. Both Phillies aces are in the beginning stages of working out the kinks before the regular season.
But while some are easing their way into baseball shape, others need to play well now. Ben Francisco has taken the proverbial bull by the horns right from the start, as he is competing for the job in right field. Francisco is batting .400 with four hits and five RBI in ten at-bats.
As for his competition, Domonic Brown has yet to get a hit. He is 0 for 12. John Mayberry Jr. has not done too much either, hitting just .250. It looks like the job may be Francisco’s if the young guys do not step it up, fast.
Chase Utley is still resting after being diagnosed with right knee tendonitis. He is able to hit, but not doing any running. The issue has been downplayed by Utley and team management, but this may be something to keep a close eye on.
I had a few thoughts about how to keep Chase Utley healthy. Here are a few ideas:
Clone him. Use a different Utley clone each day to keep him fresh!
The Bionic Man: Replace bum body parts with super-powerful bionic parts:
Iron Man armor:
Store Utley in a protective bubble:
Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
Also, if you are looking for some cool Phillies tees, check out The Phightins for some unique designs.
Yesterday I posed a question about Chase Utley and his health. Today, the Phillies finally spilled the beans and admitted that Utley has tendinitis in his right knee. An MRI revealed the issue which requires rest in order to heal.
While Utley has agreed to take things slow, the injury is still worrisome. According to the Mayo Clinic, knee tendinitis can involve a grocery list of complications including weakened leg muscles due to overcompensation, tendon tears and chronic pain. The recovery time is anywhere from weeks to months.
In my own personal experience, tendinitis can be chronic and linger for years. Utley has already stated that this is a condition he has dealt with in the past, so it appears to be an ongoing issue. How much it will hamper his future performance remains to be seen. But for now, it is not good news.
On to another sore subject, Jayson Werth made a very bad error in judgment this week when he trash-talked his former team. The Washington Post reported that Werth stated, “I hate the Phillies, too,” during a conversation with his new GM, Mike Rizzo.
I wonder which parts he hated. Could it be his 2008 World Series ring? Or maybe it was all the attention from fans who routinely professed their admiration of him? No, I’ll bet it was that the Phillies signed him when every other team in baseball assumed he was a washed-up, injury prone discard.
Then again, Werth is a National now. And I suppose all Nationals hate Philly for winning four straight division titles while they have done nothing but suck since moving to DC in 2005. Sounds like sour grapes from an underperforming club that has to beg fans of opponents to come to their ballpark just to sell tickets.
In another interview about Phillies fans outnumbering Nats fans in DC, Werth also said, “The reason why those people come over here is they don’t have a chance to watch their team in Philadelphia and as soon as we fill the seats with Nats fans those people are going to go away and we are going to regain homefield advantage and I am looking forward to that day too.”
News flash Werth – We see our team in Philly all the time. The reason most of us go to DC is because Nats tickets are super easy to get. And we do not mind the drive because we love and support our team, unlike most Nats fans who cannot be bothered to show up.
I will be honest; Werth has never been a favorite of mine. I have seen him treat fans badly and even watched him make rude, ignorant comments to small children who were politely asking for an autograph during a previous spring training. So frankly, the “hate” comment does not shock me.
But if Werth thinks his $126 million paycheck is going to fill seats in DC, he is in for a rude awakening. And if he is expecting a Pat Burrell-like greeting upon his return to Philadelphia, I am not sure that “rude awakening” would even begin to cover what Philly has in store for him.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography