April 14, 2013 |
SHE WAS standing in the darkness of the nocturnal cave at the Philadelphia Zoo, waiting, hoping to connect. He was hanging upside down from a branch above her head, wide-eyed, unsure. She whispered sweet nothings, let him know that he could trust her and that she would never hurt him. She offered him a banana. He flew to her on 30-inch wings. It was love at first bite. Twenty-five years later, he's gone to bat heaven. She's still at the zoo. Their love survives. "I love bats," said Kim Lengel, who spent the late '80s and early '90s cutting her zoological teeth as a keeper of the only mammals that fly. "There are bats that eat fruit, bats that eat fish, bats that eat blood, bats that eat birds, bats that eat other bats," she said.
April 9, 2013 |
It was a typically cold winter day when Greg Turner, a wildlife biologist with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, unlocked the gate at the historic Durham Mine in upper Bucks County and stepped into the darkness. He expected things to be bad. And they were. The long-shuttered iron ore mine - an important site for bats - typically had about 8,000 of the mammals hibernating every winter. But in 2009, biologists discovered that white-nose syndrome, a disease that has killed millions of bats throughout the Northeast, had come to Durham Mine.
April 9, 2013 |
When the Phillies entered the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday trailing the Kansas City Royals, 9-4, the last thing anyone expected was a dramatic ending. But after Jimmy Rollins' three-run shot and Laynce Nix's pinch-hit RBI single cut the lead to 9-8, the game's final at-bat had plenty of pitches and drama. Erik Kratz finally struck out on a 1-2 change-up and the Royals prevailed, but the Phillies catcher battled righthander Kelvin Herrera. The reliever displayed both gas and a nasty change-up.
April 3, 2013 |
ATLANTA - Jimmy Rollins dashed to meet his teammates for stretching at 5 p.m. Monday and almost forgot his red Phillies hat before his 13th straight opening day as the team's shortstop. In 10 of those seasons, Rollins was the first Phillies player to hit. This time, the lineup was different. "Actually," Rollins said, "I haven't even looked" at it. Rollins knew, though. He batted second for the first time in nearly nine years. His leadoff spot belonged to Ben Revere. The move was somewhat surprising.
March 26, 2013 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Yuniesky Betancourt snared a line drive in the ninth inning Sunday and turned it into a double play for his final act as a Phillie. Six minutes after a 7-6 loss to Boston ended, Betancourt slipped on red shorts and walked to Charlie Manuel's office. He emerged a free agent four minutes later, destined for a job elsewhere in the majors. "It was a very difficult decision," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He played great for us. We had some other guys feel great, and we're comfortable with where we are as far as those players are concerned.
March 21, 2013 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Domonic Brown will be in Charlie Manuel's opening-day lineup, this much is for sure. The 25-year-old outfielder with the unfulfilled promise has morphed into this spring's surprise in the span of 71 Grapefruit League plate appearances. That, at least, is the prevailing narrative. He smacked another home run Tuesday, his sixth of the spring. That tied him for the major-league lead in exhibition games. His slugging percentage is an obscene .714, which puts him near the top of baseball.
March 12, 2013 |
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Charlie Manuel has been adamant all spring about his desire to have 23-year-old infielder Freddy Galvis on his roster. While the Phillies have some concerns about getting the switch-hitting defensive star enough work at the plate to continue his development, their manager is convinced of two things: 1) He can get Galvis 250 at-bats over the course of the season; 2) 250 at-bats at the major league level would be more beneficial to Galvis than 450 at-bats in the minors.
March 9, 2013 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Phillies clubhouse was empty when Domonic Brown entered Thursday. He dropped a red bag at his locker, packed his sunglasses into his case, and sat down. He had played eight innings, singled twice, scored another run, and made two outstanding defensive plays in left field. It was March and the results were meaningless. But Brown was living up to the hype. "I'm feeling good, man," he said. No one will say Brown has won a job. With 24 days until the season opener, he is nearing that status.
March 8, 2013 |
A LANDLORD WHO bludgeoned a tenant with a baseball bat after a dispute over rent - then built a coffin for his remains - pleaded guilty Thursday to third-degree murder. Miguel Davilla, 31, immediately was sentenced by Common Pleas Judge Linda Carpenter to the maximum 20 to 40 years in state prison. Davilla's road to prison began Feb. 28, 2009, when he tried to evict Ruben Woodsen, 53, from a Fairmount boardinghouse, on Croskey Street near Eastern State Penitentiary. While Davila was changing the door lock, Woodsen returned, a confrontation ensued, and Davilla struck him 10 times in the head and body with a bat, fracturing his skull.
March 7, 2013 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Here's something you might not know: From 2009-11, Laynce Nix' power production against righthanded pitchers ranked among some of the top lefthanded hitters in the game. Shin-Soo Choo, Brian McCann, Jason Heyward, Jay Bruce - none of them racked up extra-base hits against righties at a greater rate than Nix, who averaged a double, triple or home run every 8.61 at-bats. This little factoid is looking increasingly relevant as Opening Day grows larger on the horizon.