Phillies Notes: Mike Schmidt, at Phillies camp, talks steroids, Ryan Howard, and Michael Young

Mike Schmidt watches batting practice with manager Charlie Manuel (left). Schmidt had praise for new Phillie Michael Young, as well as Ryan Howard. YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Mike Schmidt watches batting practice with manager Charlie Manuel (left). Schmidt had praise for new Phillie Michael Young, as well as Ryan Howard. YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Posted: February 23, 2013

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Mike Schmidt always comes to spring training armed with strong opinions, but the Hall of Fame third baseman did not want to get overly involved in talk about baseball's steroid era.

Steroids took center stage last month when the Baseball Writers Association of America did not vote to induct any of the players on the Hall of Fame ballot.

"I sort of ride the fence on that whole steroid era issue," Schmidt said. "I don't have a definite opinion like some of my fellow Hall of Famers. Some of the guys were very, very adamant about a person being associated with steroids: 'They'll never be in the Hall of Fame. If they are, I'll never come back.' I've heard that from some of my fellow members, and I think that's absolutely ridiculous."

Schmidt, in camp until March 20 as a special instructor, said he is concerned about players such as Mike Piazza and Craig Biggio being "lumped in with guys who have a stronger relationship with the PED issue."

"If a guy played and had great numbers in his generation, ask yourself if he was involved," Schmidt said. "It's just too bad. I think time will cure that. I really do think Biggio and Piazza will eventually become Hall of Famers.

"The guys who failed tests or the facts show or they admitted they were involved with PED use, that's one thing. But to assume a guy did because his teammate did or he has a big neck or a big head or there was a spike in his numbers, to assume that is not right."

Schmidt also had some interesting opinions about new third baseman Michael Young, and some early conversations he had with first baseman Ryan Howard.

On Young: "Michael Young could retire tomorrow, and he would be a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame. He's probably two Michael Young years away from being a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I don't know what his career hitting numbers are, but he's a little like Derek Jeter. Is he not? If he played in New York, imagine what people would be saying about Michael Young's career. Somebody would have mentioned the Hall of Fame a long time ago."

On Howard: "We've chatted over the years about hitting. I've always been a Ryan Howard fan, but he's picking my brain a little bit more. He looks good. He's doing some of the things we talk about. I'm only in my second day here, and I'm really excited. I feel like I've made more strides in my temporary coaching role than I ever had to this point."

On how he's trying to help Howard, who batted .173 against lefties last season: "A little more contact. He's still going to strike out. I'm in the top 10 all-time in strikeouts, so I'm pretty comfortable with striking out. But I think he needs to [make more contact], and we were talking about ways where we might get him to be a little less strikeout-prone . . . when you get that nasty lefthander to get him out."

Extra bases. The Phillies will play a five-inning intrasquad game Friday before opening their Grapefruit League schedule against the Houston Astros Saturday at Bright House Field. Cole Hamels will start for the Phillies, and former Phillies minor-leaguer Jarred Cosart is expected to be among the pitchers for Houston. . . . Outfielder Laynce Nix has a bone spur in his right foot, but he is not expected to miss any time because of it.


 

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|