January 5, 2015 |
The easiest items to remove in the Phillies' offseason garage sale are gone. Jimmy Rollins' wheels may be old, but the engine still runs pretty well, and there was lots of value in the glove department. The $11 million price tag was minuscule for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team with the highest payroll in baseball. Marlon Byrd, meanwhile, has gotten better with age, and once the Phillies decided to eat $4 million, the Cincinnati Reds were willing to give up an upper-level prospect (pitcher Ben Lively)
September 23, 2014 |
After he was done managing, after baseball was through torturing him, Gene Mauch lived in a California desert community. Separated from the game that was his life, he golfed daily, played cards, devoured box scores, and watched baseball on TV. By filling his days so pleasantly, he could sometimes forget how unpleasantly they began and ended. His first waking thought, the longtime Phillies manager once said, was always about the epic collapse of his 1986 California Angels. Then, before he could sleep at night, the equally harsh fate of his 1964 Phillies confronted him. "If it's true that you learn from adversity," he once told a sportswriter, "I must be the toughest SOB in the world.
September 22, 2014 |
OAKLAND, Calif. - For five days, Ken Giles waited. The suspension last week of crotch-grabbing closer Jonathan Papelbon made Giles the de facto man for the ninth inning. But there were no save opportunities for five games. Then Giles inherited one Saturday, on his 24th birthday, against an A's team desperate for a victory. He threw 10 pitches, nine of which were strikes, and never wavered in closing out a 3-0 win over Oakland. "It's awesome," Giles said. "I'm going to remember it forever.
September 4, 2014 |
ATLANTA - Maikel Franco's first day in a Phillies uniform probably felt as quick as his rapid ascension from Class A ball to the big leagues in the last 16 months. Franco was called up on Monday. Yesterday, the 22-year-old was penciled into the lineup of his major league game, becoming the youngest position player to start a game for the Phillies since a 21-year-old Jimmy Rollins took his spot as shortstop at Veterans Stadium 14 years ago this month. Franco grounded out in each of his first three plate appearances against Atlanta lefthander Mike Minor.
June 16, 2014 |
READING - A former top-five draft pick was playing winter ball in Venezuela when he started to sense he would have difficulty landing a job this spring. So Adam Loewen reverted to an old custom. He began to long toss. More than 5 years had elapsed since Loewen, once a ballyhooed Orioles' pitching prospect, last toed the rubber. Arm injuries had sent the touted 6-6 southpaw into a second career as a hitter. But nearing 30 and after 3 years of stints manning the outfield in Buffalo, Port St. Lucie and New Hampshire, he opted to again gauge the status of his once-prized left arm. "I felt like I left a lot out there, a lot of potential that was untapped, really," he said.
June 13, 2014 |
HE GALLOPED in from the bullpen on a chariot made of solid gold, lightning bolts shooting from his eyes, flames streaming from his arms, thunder booming from the heavens as all in attendance threw themselves at his mercy. Eh, not quite. "I thought I was going to fall down," Kenny Giles said. "My legs were a little jellied. " Giles, a 23-year-old righthander whose ability to throw a fastball 100 miles per hour had made him a bit of a cause celebre amongst a fan base fatigued by some of the performances it had seen from the Phillies' bullpen, made his much-anticipated major league debut yesterday.
June 6, 2014 |
ALLENTOWN - Tyson Gillies was just 4 years old when his parents noticed something different about him. They thought he was not focusing, and ignoring them when they spoke to him. He was tested, and it was learned that he has 50 percent hearing in one ear, and just 30 percent in the other. "I was reading lips when I was 2 and 3 and speaking perfectly, so nobody knew," Gillies said. "There was something different. I found myself getting lost in different situations. Finally, when they brought me in for my third or fourth hearing test, they closed the blinds and I couldn't read lips anymore.
June 5, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Minutes after Ryne Sandberg held a brief team meeting to emphasize the magnitude of the next week, a Phillies public relations employee handed the manager a cellphone. Sandberg scrolled down the screen. Then he marched to the visitors dugout at Nationals Park to face reporters. He looked irritated. "I'm fired up," Sandberg said. "Ready for another ball game to get ready to move in another direction. There was a lot to be learned from the series we had. " Larry Bowa, Sandberg's bench coach and confidant, agreed.
April 29, 2014 |
PHOENIX - Although the slick-fielding infielder was hitless in his last 17 at-bats, Ryne Sandberg inserted Freddy Galvis into his starting lineup against the Diamondbacks on Saturday night. He wanted strong defense behind Cliff Lee and he obviously wanted to give Galvis a chance to get going offensively. Galvis went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts. He's hitless in his last 22 at-bats and hitting .033 (1-30) since returning from the disabled list more than 2 weeks ago. "He's struggling," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said of Galvis, who was out of yesterday's starting lineup.
April 25, 2014 |
ALLENTOWN - The Phillies believe they have a long-term solution at third base, a revolving-door position filled mostly by players from outside their farm system since Scott Rolen ascended to baseball heaven - that's St. Louis, in case you've forgotten - in the middle of the 2002 season. What the Phillies don't know and won't know for a while is the name attached to that solution. Maybe it's Cody Asche. It's his job to lose, and some would argue he's doing a pretty good job of losing it. To be fair, he has a history of being a slow starter, and he deserves a lot more than three weeks to prove himself.