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Carlos Ruiz

SPORTS
August 3, 2014 | By Marc Narducci, Inquirer Staff Writer
WASHINGTON - Early in the season, the Phillies' challenge was finding an outfield that could collectively play at a respectable major-league level. Now the challenge is finding everybody at-bats. While Marlon Byrd has been solid in right field, center and left had previously left the Phillies wanting for more production. The outfield has reversed course lately, and another example was provided during Friday's 2-1 win over the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. The Phillies' first run was scored by leftfielder Grady Sizemore and the second came on a solo home run by Byrd.
SPORTS
July 30, 2014 | BY RYAN LAWRENCE, Daily News Staff Writer rlawrence@phillynews.com
NEW YORK - Five nights earlier, A.J. Burnett stood in the center of the home clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park and was asked if the eight shutout innings he just had thrown were likely his last in a Phillies uniform. Burnett politely declined to entertain such questions. He fancies himself as a team-first player and plays the part well, too. The fact is Burnett, like many a Phillies veteran players, has a contract that makes him difficult to trade. A little more than a month after his 37th birthday, Burnett signed a somewhat complicated contract that guaranteed him $22.5 million, but included the option to make as much as $12.75 million in 2016, too. Most contending teams prefer to deal for players with controllable or expiring contracts.
SPORTS
July 30, 2014 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
NEW YORK - The slog to 4 p.m. Thursday is unrelenting. With every game, there is another Phillies trade asset who dilutes his trade value. A.J. Burnett, a 37-year-old righthander who is not integral to this franchise's future, flailed through five innings of a 7-1 loss to the Mets and permitted seven runs Monday night. Ruben Amaro Jr. promised changes earlier this month, and now the general manager has less than three days until the deadline to enact said change. Such a movement appears rather difficult; the Phillies player with the best odds of landing elsewhere is lefthanded reliever Antonio Bastardo.
SPORTS
July 25, 2014 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
A father played catch with his son Tuesday afternoon on the Citizens Bank Park grass. This was hours before Ryan Howard struck out with the winning run on third base and one out in the ninth inning; before San Francisco chose to intentionally walk Chase Utley in the 11th to face Howard, who grounded out; before manager Ryne Sandberg benched Howard on Wednesday for Darin Ruf. "Here comes the knuckleball," Howard said. Darian, 13, caught it, and smiled. He tossed the ball back to his father.
SPORTS
July 25, 2014 | BY RYAN LAWRENCE, Daily News Staff Writer rlawrence@phillynews.com
JUST AS the Phillies once made a play for CC Sabathia and ended up with Joe Blanton one summer, and zeroed in on Roy Halladay before trading for Cliff Lee instead the next, major league teams with visions of David Price and Cole Hamels dancing in their heads will likely have to settle for a more gettable starting pitcher before next week's trade deadline. A.J. Burnett fits the description of that kind of very available and very useful starting pitcher. Burnett, 37, has postseason experience - he beat the Phillies in a World Series game 5 years ago. He has a somewhat manageable, short-term contract.
SPORTS
July 21, 2014 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
ATLANTA - There will come a time, as soon as prospect Maikel Franco is deemed ready for the majors, when the Phillies must render a decision on Cody Asche's future. That could be August, September, or next spring, but the likelihood exists that Asche will be replaced at third base. Manager Ryne Sandberg sees Asche as a "steady bat with gap-to-gap power, maybe a 15-to-20 home run type of guy," an endorsement for everyday status. Asche carried a 10-game hitting into Saturday. A position switch - perhaps to left field - is possible.
SPORTS
July 20, 2014 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
ATLANTA - Cliff Lee understands the hazards of an elbow injury, the strain that 33,000 pitches in the majors applies to a 35-year-old ligament. But he threw 76 pain-free pitches in a Florida State League game earlier this week, and his start Monday at Citizens Bank Park will come two months after his last. He does not want to hear about restrictions. "As many as they will let me throw," Lee said, when asked about his plans. "I'm probably not going to want to come out when I come out. I don't know the exact number, but I feel strong and I feel good and I'm ready to try to help the team win. " The Phillies would not mind that, because it would help Lee's trade value, which must be reestablished after a left-elbow strain muddled his status as one of the game's most durable arms.
SPORTS
July 11, 2014 | BY RYAN LAWRENCE, Daily News Staff Writer rlawrence@phillynews.com
MILWAUKEE - A week from tomorrow, the Phillies will return from the All-Star break with a three-game series in Atlanta. The makeup of manager Ryne Sandberg's starting outfield for that series could look a lot different from the current threesome. Former three-time All-Star Grady Sizemore will likely be promoted within the next week, and Darin Ruf is currently finishing off his first week of rehab games from a wrist injury. Marlon Byrd is a candidate to swap uniforms before the trade deadline, joining a contending team in need of a righthanded bat. And then there's Domonic Brown.
SPORTS
July 7, 2014 | By Marc Narducci, Inquirer Staff Writer
PITTSBURGH - Phillies rightfielder Marlon Byrd was dealt Aug. 27 last year by the New York Mets to the Pittsburgh Pirates, and he could be part of another deal this summer. Byrd is among the rumored players on the block by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. He is batting .264 with 17 home runs and 50 RBIs after his solo blast in Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Pirates at PNC Park. Byrd said he wasn't thinking about getting traded this time around. "You think about it a little bit the first time you go through it, but the second time now, you keep playing and are trying to win games for the Phillies," he said.
SPORTS
July 6, 2014 | By Marc Narducci, Inquirer Staff Writer
PITTSBURGH - The Phillies are 23-14 when they score first and dropped to 14-35 when the opponent scores first after Friday's 8-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. The Pirates jumped on starter Roberto Hernandez for four first-inning runs. Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard said afterward that in any game, it's huge to score first. "You need that momentum on your side," Howard said. "It puts the other team on their heels a little bit. " Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg was asked if he thought the energy was sapped out of his team after that first inning in which Hernandez threw 45 pitches.
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