January 29, 2013 |
The banquet season is almost over for Charlie Manuel, who yearns for something other than hefty dinners and handshakes. He wistfully spoke Monday about new batting cages installed in Clearwater, then said there are many "ifs" on his roster from the lineup to the defense and the pitching. "I'm excited about our bullpen," Manuel said before the 109th Philadelphia Sports Writers Association's banquet at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill. So there is that, with two weeks until Phillies spring training opens.
January 21, 2013
The Phillies won't have to deal with any arbitration hearings when spring training gets underway next month. The team reached a deal with its only arbitration-eligible player on Friday. Antonio Bastardo and the Phillies avoided arbitration by coming to an agreement on a 1-year, $1.4 million deal for the 2013 team, the team announced Friday. Bastardo's new deal was among a flurry of new contracts announced early Friday, which was the day teams and players were scheduled to exchange arbitration salary figures if they could not come to an agreement.
January 16, 2013 |
The Washington Nationals were already the team to beat in the National League East. Tuesday they made it even more unlikely that somebody will beat them. According to Yahoo Sports, the Nationals have teamed up with their favorite agent, Scott Boras, and struck a two-year, $28 million deal for arguably the premier reliever on this year's free-agent market. Rafael Soriano, 33, spent the last two seasons with the New York Yankees and posted a 2.94 ERA in 111 games. He served as Mariano Rivera's setup man in 2011, but when the future Hall of Fame closer went down early last season, Soriano stepped in as New York's closer.
October 15, 2012 |
Every day, Jonathan Papelbon made the solitary walk from the dugout around the sixth inning. The bullpen door opened and a $50 million reliever presided over an ever-changing cast. It was a group that caused consternation and, ultimately, some hope. "For me, next year if we're not the top bullpen in Major League Baseball, we'll definitely be the top in the National League," Papelbon said after Game 162 in Washington. "That's just the way I look at it. " Why, because of those young arms?
October 11, 2012 |
WHEN THE PHILLIES report to spring training in 4 months, they'll be confident and borderline-cocky that they can return to the top of the National League East simply because they have the following three names on their roster: Cole Hamels. Roy Halladay. Cliff Lee. When they signed Hamels to a 6-year, $144 million deal in July, the Phils ensured they'd have a trio of aces atop a rotation that's been heavy on Cy Young candidates in each of the last two seasons. Starting pitching has been a strength, and should remain a strength, especially if Halladay is healthy and anywhere close to his normal self.
August 27, 2012 |
WHEN ADAM LaRoche uncoiled his bat and the ball sailed toward the rightfield seats in the seventh inning, Cliff Lee was sure it was gone. He was ready to motion to plate umpire Lance Barksdale that he'd need another ball. But then the ball that wasn't a home run was suddenly back in the infield. And instead of going out, it became an out, when Jayson Werth was stuck at third base and LaRoche was caught in a rundown between second and third. "I really didn't know what was going on," Lee said.
August 23, 2012 |
WHEN TALKING about his unexpected and remarkable run as the everyday third baseman playing in place of the injured Placido Polanco, Kevin Frandsen described himself with the following: "You're not going to fall in love with me one day; it's going to be something you appreciate over time. " Frandsen said that 12 days ago, when he was in the midst of a stretch that saw him start 20 straight games at third base. Nearly 2 weeks later, he pretty much proved his words invalid. With the bases loaded and no one out in the sixth inning of Tuesday night's game - and Cliff Lee and the Phillies clinging to a one-run lead - the Reds' Ryan Ludwick ripped a rocket of a ground ball to the hole between third base and short.
August 21, 2012 |
MILWAUKEE - The final weeks of this season have been hailed as a time for tryouts, especially for a Phillies bullpen littered with unknown quantities. Antonio Bastardo is part of that group, yet he has not pitched in 11 days. "He's all right," manager Charlie Manuel said. That does not account for his inactivity. Bastardo, 26, entered 2012 as the team's top lefthanded reliever and held the role of setup man for a large chunk of the year. His fall from last season's career year has been cataclysmic.
August 8, 2012 |
As the Phillies shuffled arms in and out of a depleted bullpen, Jeremy Horst waited. Just be patient, he said, and things will work out. Growing up in North Dakota, Horst usually could not play outside until mid-April because the all-dirt infields were mud thanks to piles of snow. Sometimes patience wasn't enough. "If there were puddles, you rake in some gasoline, and light it on fire," Horst said. "It's actually a great technique. " The lefthander chuckled at the absurdity.
August 1, 2012
When Joey Votto had knee surgery, the Cincinnati Reds were facing a turning point in their season. An offense that had been so-so was going to have to get along without its best hitter for about a month. How have the Reds responded? With one of the best surges in franchise history. The Reds won 10 in a row before losing, 11-5, to the San Diego Padres on Monday night at Great American Ball Park. It's only the eighth time in club history that they had won 10 straight. The team record is 12 straight wins in 1939 and 1957.