Tagged: Miguel Cairo

Creeping Slowly Towards Opening Day…


While we wait for Opening Day to arrive, the Phillies got in some more grapefruit league action today, just barely squeaking out a win against the Blue Jays.  
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Trailing 6-4 going into the 9th inning, they mounted a comeback, scoring 3 runs.  The tension grew thicker in the bottom of the 9th when pitcher Gary Majewski loaded the bases, thanks in part to an error on Miguel Cairo.  But Majewski managed to avoid disaster and pitched out of the jam.

Chan Ho Park started the game and went 4 innings with 4 hits given up, 3 earned runs and 1 walk; he also struck out 7.  Not a great outing, but not bad either.  Yesterday, JA Happ pitched 5 innings against the Yankees and only surrendered 1 earned run on 5 hits, but he also walked 3 batters.  The two pitchers are still very close in the contest for the 5th starters spot, but after today, Happ may have a slight edge. 

For the offense today, Chase Utley and Jayson Werth both went deep; Werth had 2 hits and one RBI on the homer and Utley racked up 3 RBI, including his 2-run blast.  Pedro Feliz went 2 for 5, which is encouraging; he has been slow at the plate since rehabbing from his back surgery.  Looks as if he and Utley are nearly at full speed.

Ryan Howard Tattoo Update

So a few weeks ago I reported that Howard got a new tattoo in early March; sorry this took a while, but my friend who was with Howard when he got the tattoo had her computer blow-up. 

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She is back on-line and yesterday morning, she sent me the following information:  The tattoo is based on his nickname; it is a hooded Samurai warrior with swords and in the background, there is a large Japanese Dojo and a sunset.  Also interesting to note, a day or so after he got the tattoo, he was nailed with a ball in the arm, right where the new and still healing tattoo is!  The ball caused the tattoo to scar up, but apparently Ryan liked the effect and left it as is.  So, there you have it; a scarred up Samurai.

Battle of the Backstops

It was said at the beginning of Spring that the back-up catcher’s job was Chris Coste’s to lose.  So far, Ronny Paulino has done nothing to take the job away from Coste.  Paulino is batting only .185 in 12 games played with 3 hits in 27 at-bats.  Although Coste is off to a slow start after a hamstring injury, the Phillies know what Coste is capable of both at and behind the plate.  So, unless a miracle occurs for Paulino, it is likely that Coste keeps the job.

P2242901 Marson.jpgAs for the 22-year old catcher, Lou Marson, he has been sent to triple A.  Marson was happy about the assignment for several reasons; last year, except for a brief September call-up, Marson spent the year in double A, so this represents a promotion for him.  Also, as a back-up in the majors, Marson would not get a lot of playing time, thus limiting his opportunities to learn and develop as a player.  Marson told beat-writer, Todd Zolecki, “I’m moving up a level; I know I got called up in September, but I was in Double-A the whole year.  I’m moving up a level.  That’s all I can ask for.  There are a lot of guys that would like to be in my situation, playing every day.  I can’t complain at all.  I’m happy about it.”  This kid is so darn cute, you just want to pinch his cheeks. :O)  Great player, great attitude and he is really grounded for his age.  Let’s hope the Phillies keep him around.

(All Photos by Jenn)

 

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And The Winner Is…

Shot Of The Day Award:  The Phillies beat the Cardinals in the bottom of the 9th today on a Jason Ellison walk-off hit that scored Miguel Cairo from 2nd base.  Ellison, a 7-year major league veteran who played for the Rangers, Mariners, Reds and Giants, is trying to make a new home in Philly.  Ellison is now batting .222 this spring and the hit today gave him his first RBI.  Cairo, on the other hand, has been hot this spring, batting .370 with 4 RBI and 2 home runs.  After 13 seasons bouncing around the majors, Cairo signed a minor league deal with the Phillies for 2009.

The Pitching Prowess Award goes to Chan Ho Park, who got the start for the Phils today and managed 4 2/3 solid innings of no-run ball, giving up only 3 hits.  It is looking like Park will make a real run at the 5th starters job, with his biggest competition so far, being JA Happ.  Park seems determined to win the job, even consulting with Jamie Moyer after his outing to get more advice from the ageless  wonder.  During an in-game interview, Park joked that he wished he would be able to pitch at Moyer’s age.  Park displayed some real personality in that interview and is actually a pretty loose and funny guy.  Seems he will fit in well here in Philly, whether that be as a starter or in the pen.


Jayson Werth, Greg Dobbs
and Cairo each had 2 hits in the game today; Werth does not appear to be bothered by any of the recently reported injuries, which included a hamstring and shoulder soreness.  His first inning home run flew straight out of the stadium, over the Tiki Pavillion in left field.

But the real thrill today came when Chase Utley stepped to the plate to lead off the 1st inning for the Phillies.  Fans jumped to their feet and cheered, happy to see Utley in his first official grapefruit league action.  Utley played 4 innings, and although he did not get a hit in his 2 at bats, he looked very comfortable both at the plate and on the field.  Message?  Utley will be ready for Opening Day!  And so, Utley gets my Comeback of the Spring Award :O)

And the Entertainer of the Day Award goes to…Matt Stairs. 
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Stairs gave the crowd a giggle when he stole 2nd base in the 8th inning.  Probably the slowest guy on the team, Stairs kind of resembles a lumberjack more than a professional baseball player.  Known mostly as a power hitter, in his 16 year career, Stairs has hit 254 home runs and stolen only 28 bases….that is 1.75 bases per year, on average.  So, seeing him swipe a base during spring action was very entertaining. ;o)

WBC Highlights

Spanking of the Day Award:  Team Puerto Rico gave a spanking to Team USA yesterday; final score 11-1.  Ouch!  Phillies teammates JC Romero (PR), Jimmy Rollins (USA) and Shane Victorino (USA) were on-hand for the beating, although Romero did not pitch in the game.  Victorino was 0 for 3 and Rollins played the field but did not get an at-bat.  Adam Dunn and Brian McCann each had a pair of hits for Team USA, but the rest of the team pretty much bent over and took the punishment.  Team USA will get a shot at redemption tonight when they take on the Netherlands at 7:30pm tonight.

Next up for the Phillies

Monday at 1:15pm, the Phillies will take on the Yankees at George Steinbrenner field as grapefruit league action continues.

 

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For The Girls…

I hear ya ladies…after I posted a photo of a Hooters girl yesterday at a Spring training game, I received many request from the ladies for some female entertainment.  So, here it is, Phillies-style:

First of all, no Phillie will ever top this photo of former-Phil, Pat Burrell:
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Although, Cole Hamels gave it the college try:

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And Shane Victorino jumped in on the action during the Phillies Cruise in January:

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But the rest of the team seems to be a bit modest.  So, I decided to help them along…meet the Phillie-Dales!  Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins (with a new hair-do), Chad Durbin and Greg Dobbs:

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And the scary part is, they probably all look even hotter than that in real life :O)  *Sigh!*

Ok, back to reality!  The Elder, Jamie Moyer started the game today against the Rays; Moyer went 5 innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk.  Moyer has looked great all spring.  JA Happ took over in the 6th inning and after the first 2 batters were out, he suddenly gave up a solo home run and a single.  But Happ recovered quickly and got out of the inning with a ground ball.  Happ pitched 3 innings of 1 run ball.  To me, this has been the difference between Happ and Kyle Kendrick or Carlos Carrasco; Happ can make a mistake and move on.  The other two seem emotionally unable to cope.  Chan Ho Park is an experienced veteran who also does not seem shaken easily, so keep an eye on Park as well over these next few weeks.

In the poll I posted yesterday on who will be the Phillies 5th starter, Happ ran away with the contest, getting 100% of the votes.  After Kyle Kendrick’s horrible outing yesterday, this picture is becoming clearer.

The most exciting things that happened offensively for the Phillies in the first 6 innings were Jason Donald getting a walk and Miguel Cairo getting the only hit in those six innings.  After that, Ryan Howard came through with a sac fly with the bases loaded to score the Phillies first run.  The only other offense in the game was a 9th inning home run from Andy Tracy, and the Phils went on to lose 3-2.

WBC Highlights

Team USA lost to Team Venezuela yesterday, but the game really did not mean much; both teams will advance to Round 2 of the Classic.  The other teams who made the cut are Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Japan, Korea and the Netherlands.  Round 2 will begin on Saturday; Rollins and Victorino with Team USA take on JC Romero and Team Puerto Rico at 8pm in Miami.

 

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Team Canada Feels The Chill

Another chilly day in Florida today where Team Canada went down in flames against the World Champions; final score, 9-2.  Thumbnail image for P3046122.JPGThis is what happens when you stock your team with guys named…well, see for yourself: 

 
You can’t make this stuff up.  So many jokes…so little time.  What were his parents thinking?  And the Canadian team was also made up of guys like Matt Stairs, Justin Morneau of the Twins and this kid…the littlest Canadian:

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Maybe he is Stubby Jr.?   Well, Stairs and Morneau aside, it is no wonder Team Canada struggled against the Phillies.

Anyway, before the game, John Mayberry Sr., former Kansas City Royal, and father of new Phillie, John Mayberry Jr., wandered over to say hello to Charlie Manuel and the gang.  He was a proud papa today, watching his son move closer to making the 25-man roster.  Mayberry Jr. smacked another home run and went 2 for 3 with 2 RBI on the homer.  If Mayberry keeps this pace up, it will be difficult to send him to the minors come April.

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Cole Hamels made his first start of spring training today and pitched 2 innings, giving up 2 hits and a walk.  He started off looking a bit shaky, but settled in and did not allow any runs.  Scott Eyre also pitched an inning and was much sharper than his last outing.  Eyre sent them down in order, striking out 2 batters.  Below, you will see Hamels, Eyre and Greg Dobbs sliding into 2nd; Dobbs, who went 1 for 4, also made an amazing solo double play during the game; he made a diving grab, threw himself at 1st base, sliding forward to tag the bag with his glove before the runner could get back.  Nicely done :O)

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Rookie Jason Donald had a rough day, and has been having a less than spectacular spring at the plate overall.  Today he went 0 for 3.  Donald is getting a lot of playing time to see if he can handle 3rd base should they need him to step in for Pedro Feliz, who is still recovering from back surgery.  But Donald seems to be pressing at the plate and is not producing so far.  Andy Tracy tried to cheer him up after he exited the game today…you will also see Lou Marson fouling off a pitch and Miguel Cairo sliding into home:

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As for the competition for the back-up catchers position, Chris Coste has only made one start so far due to a hamstring injury, which is giving Ronny Paulino an opportunity to snag the job.  Paulino has not been too impressive, which is good news for Coste, but he’ll need to get back on the field if he is going to keep the job.  Coste did take batting practice today and looked solid, so it looks like he should be up and running soon. 

And now for the Photo of the Day – Chase Utley warming up for batting practice; take a look at the reflection in his sunglasses:P3045954.JPG

The Phillies will take on Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Team USA tomorrow at 12:05pm!

 

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Phillies Power Past The Jays

The Phillies powered past the Blue Jays in Dunedin today by a score of 12-7.  Ryan Howard provided some pop with a 2 run homer in the 6th inning and rookie Jeremy Slayden added a home run of his own while going 2 for 5 with 2 RBI.  Raul Ibanez and Eric Bruntlett also collected 2 RBI a piece.  Photos:  Charlie Manuel slaps hands with the fans; Bruntlett makes a running grab;  Ibanez gets a hit:

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The Pitching Duel

Carlos Carrasco and JA Happ continued the battle for the 5th starter position today; advantage: Happ.  Happ went 3 innings with 3 hits and 2 runs surrendered.  Carrasco, on the other hand, struggled in the 5th inning, ultimately giving up 5 runs on 3 hits, 2 of which were homers.  Only 3 of the runs were earned due to an error on a dropped fly ball by Bruntlett.  Overall, Happ had better control and poise on the mound, where Carrasco’s inexperience showed a bit.  Still, Happ needs to work on keeping the ball down.  Also pitching today, former Cincinnati Red, Gary Majewski who made it through 2 scoreless innings.

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More Highlights

Ibanez and Howard celebrate after Howard’s 2-run shot; Miguel Cairo makes an amazing play on a short grounder; Ibanez demonstrates his lack of grace while sliding into home:

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Wildlife Meets Baseball:

Left:  This sunbather clearly did not get the memo about the 55 degree temperatures in Western Florida today.  Bottom Left:  This behind belongs to a man who proposed to his girlfriend during the game.  He did not own a pair of non-holey jeans for this special occasion?  Right:  Baseball lights put to good use: Birds make a home in Dunedin Stadium.030209c.jpg

And that brings us to the Photo of the Day:  I did mention the Phillies won by a score of 12-7, right?  The Blue Jays staff, apparently, thought wishing makes it so; check out the run total column.  Is that 2 runs for the Phils, or possibly 12?  Hmmmmm…

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The Phillies are OFF tomorrow!  Next game, Wednesday, 1:05pm against Team Canada at Bright House field.  Cole Hamels is scheduled to start.  See you there!

 

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Phillies Win World Series Reunion

Well, don’t get too excited…it is only Spring Training.  But the Phillies did finally get over the Grapefruit League hump and won their first game today against World Series opponent, the Tampa Bay Rays by a score of 12-5.  Ryan Howard also got over his homer hump and slammed his first of 2009 in the 1st inning.  John Mayberry followed with one of his own and 2 batters later, 12-year MLB veteran Miguel Cairo joined the home run parade.  After a 5 run first inning, the Phils looked pretty relaxed.

The rookies tried to make good impressions; Mayberry and Jason Donald both played the entire game with Mayberry going 2 for 5 with 2 RBI, including the home run.  Donald went 1 for 4 with 1 RBI and made a spectacular over-the-wall grab on a foul ball.  He fell clear into the stands, disappearing from view, and still caught the ball.  Here is a photo of Donald being helped up by the fans; also shown:  Cairo sliding into home; Jimmy Rollins tags out a runner attempting to steal; rookie Ozzie Chavez gets a hit:

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Kyle Kendrick pitched the first 2 2/3 innings, allowing 4 hits, including 1 home run.  He pitched fairly well, but did pale in comparison to what we have seen from JA Happ and Carlos Carrasco thus far.  And so that battle continues…  Former Mariner Jake Woods continues to struggle, giving up 2 runs in his one inning of work; rookie Drew Naylor had a one run 2 1/3 innings; Mike Koplove looked great again, pitching a scoreless inning; and our only lefty in the pen so far, Scott Eyre, gave up one run in what looked like a bit of a shaky inning for him.  Eyre, having personal and financial issues right now, really needs to keep his head on straight.  It was reported earlier this week that, due to a bank fraud issue, his assets have been frozen and he is unable to pay bills.  It appears to have affected many people invested in this particular bank and may take a while before the issue is resolved, so let’s hope he can handle the stress.  The advance the Phillies gave him on his salary should help.  Read the article HERE.

The other story of the day was the return of Pat Burrell.  Burrell got a very warm reception from the Phillies fans, who cheered him when he came up to bat, and even before the game during batting practice.  It seems like we are not the only ones who are missing Pat; Greg Dobbs and Ryan Howard had a nice reunion with him before the game:

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Burrell later told beat writer Todd Zolecki, “The response I got was very special,” Burrell said. “It’s something I won’t forget.”  And some thing we all won’t forget?  The Burrell Butt; oh, how we’ll miss it!

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Phillies take on the Braves tomorrow at 1:05pm.

 

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This Week In Phillies Land…

Injury Updates

Although Pedro Feliz insists he will be ready to go for Opening Day after undergoing back surgery, it seems his manager is less certain.  Charlie Manuel has divulged that Feliz has suffered a slight setback and may not be ready to go.  However, the Phils have plenty of back-up with Eric Bruntlett, Greg Dobbs, and possibly, Chris Coste.  If Manuel decides to keep Coste, which he should, Coste can play a variety of positions, including 3rd base.

More concerning will be the progress of Chase Utley after hip surgery as his recovery time was expected to be longer than Feliz.  However, all reports indicate that Utley is in great shape and even ahead of schedule.  He has taken ground balls, done some light running and taken some dry swings.  If there is a delay in Utley’s return, back-up should not be a problem here either, especially with the recent signing of utility man, Miguel Cairo.  Cairo will likely serve as an insurance policy if all else fails.

Big Losers

A couple of the Phillies players have begun camp this year as big losers; Ryan Howard and Brett Myers
Brett Myers.jpgboth lost a considerable amount of weight in the off-season while preparing for Spring Training.  While most never imagine Howard being light on his feet, 30 fewer pounds may give him a bit more speed and flexibility.  Myers, admitting that his body is starting to feel older, decided the move to lose was necessary in order to keep healthy.   Kudos to them both!

Moyer Speaks About A-Rod


Jamie Moyer.jpgJamie Moyer, former teammate of Alex Rodriguez, expressed his disappointment today with A-Rod’s use of steroids.  Moyer recounted on Comcast Sportsnet how their son’s used to play together and now that the children are teens, he worries about how this news has affected them.  Here is Moyer’s stance on the issue: “It’s about respecting the game,” Moyer said. “I’d be disappointed in anybody in that situation. When people have had an impact on your life, you want to feel for them. But how can I feel for him? To me, if you’re doing it, you know it’s illegal. I commend him for coming out and saying it, but why didn’t he say it seven years ago?”

Mo’ Money

And with a World Championship comes mo’ money…  This year’s season ticket sales for the Phillies have increased by more than 4,000 tickets last year.  The club has already sold 24,000 season tickets in a ballpark with a capacity of 45,000.  John Weber, vice president for ticket sales and operations, say that sales of season tickets will be capped at around 27,000 to 28,000, giving the Phillies the potential to sell-out season tickets. 

As a result of the boom in sales, individual game tickets will be much harder to come by.  This is great news for the team as a whole, as they can sign more players and keep those around who are of higher quality.  More games will sell out, adding to the excitement and atmosphere.  But it is bad news for the average fan, who will be slowly priced out of the live game experience, opting to stay home and avoid the expense.

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