He's probably right. While Valdez had an unexpected season, he still managed only a .667 OPS, which isn't hard to replace. It was Valdez's defense that made him valuable.
He went to his native Dominican Republic as he does every winter to play. In 54 at-bats, Valdez hit .296 with a .630 OPS.
To add to his value, Valdez said he would be more than willing to play some outfield this spring, as Charlie Manuel has suggested he do. Valdez has played just five major-league games in the outfield and had fewer than 30 games of outfield experience in the minors.
But as Manuel said, he likes Valdez's arm, and the infielder was always playing around in the outfield before games.
The Phillies don't have a true backup centerfielder. Jayson Werth filled in at times before; Ben Francisco and John Mayberry Jr. can play there, too. Rule 5 pick Michael Martinez is another possible option. Valdez could be too.
"I think I can help," Valdez said.
Tickets on sale
At 8:30 Thursday morning, single-game tickets will go on sale for 78 home games - all but Opening Day and three Red Sox games in late June.
Tickets may be purchased at the windows on the third-base side of Citizens Bank Park, on the Phillies website, www.phillies.com, or by calling 215-463-1000.
Phillies interested in Maine Ruben Amaro Jr.'s
infatuation with starting pitching could soon bring another well-known name to Philadelphia.
The Phillies were among the teams to recently watch former New York Mets righthander John Maine throw, according to the pitcher's agent, Rex Gary, who said his client could make a decision about where to sign as soon as Thursday. Maine is likely to sign a minor-league deal with an out clause that would allow him to leave for another major-league team if he is not in the big leagues by a certain date.
"The Phillies were one of many teams to have watched John pitch, and they were impressed," Gary said.
Maine, 29, pitched in only nine games last season before undergoing shoulder surgery. Gary said Maine threw a relaxed 88- to 90-m.p.h. fastball during his workout. But it's not definite that he'll be ready when the season starts in April.
"His shoulder feels great, but the one thing we don't want him to do is push himself to the point where he ends up being hurt again," Gary said. "We think he's going to be ready for the start of the season."
Extra bases Ryan Howard
and Shane Victorino
reported to camp Wednesday, meaning every regular has arrived. The only players yet to appear are Robb Quinlan, Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis
, Matt Rizzotti,
and Tagg Bozied.
Position players must report Friday; the first full-squad workout is Saturday. . . . Antonio Bastardo
left camp early in the morning with an illness. Bastardo, who is the only pitcher yet to throw off a mound, was scheduled to do so Thursday. That session is in jeopardy.
Contact staff writer Matt Gelb
at 215-854-2928 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @magelb.