March 25, 2016 |
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The subject of who will close for the Phillies arose again this week, and Pete Mackanin stressed patience. He listed three names - Andrew Bailey, David Hernandez, and Cuban righthander Dalier Hinojosa, who has all of 23 innings in the majors. "He's in the mix," Mackanin said. "They're all in the mix. It's a big mix. " With a week until the Phillies break camp, the projected bullpen is no clearer. Just about every option is in play. Mackanin expects decisions to be made at the last possible moment.
March 23, 2016 |
CLEARWATER , Fla. - "Bwooosh," Cameron Rupp said, skimming the palm of one hand just over the top of his head. "When I got drafted they had another kid ahead of me that I had to play in front of. And then when they traded Hunter Pence, they brought Tommy Joseph over . . . " These days, there are two Phillies catchers of the future, neither named Cameron. Andrew Knapp, their 2013 second-round pick, will start the season in Triple A. Jorge Alfaro, one of the prospects received in the Cole Hamels trade, will begin at Double A. Both, Rupp reads over and over again, are expected to be with the Phillies real soon.
March 14, 2016 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The wind blew out to left field Saturday afternoon, and the majors' highest-scoring offense brought its regulars to Bright House Field. When Vince Velasquez could not located his trusted fastball against the Blue Jays, the latest test in his bid to become the Phillies' fifth starter became even more daunting. "It kind of hit me a little bit," Velasquez said after an 8-5 Phillies win. "A lineup like that is not easy. But when I faced them for the second time, I composed myself a little bit. I made a pitch.
March 1, 2016 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Seven years ago, Panama's president called Carlos Ruiz to ask why he would not play for his country. It was 2009, and Ruiz thought it best to stay in Phillies camp. The catcher later reconsidered. Now, at age 37, Ruiz will savor the chance in March to help Panama qualify for the 2017 World Baseball Classic. His career in its twilight, Ruiz needed no presidential convincing this time. "It gives me a chance to represent my country," Ruiz said. "Bring them back to the World Baseball Classic.
February 29, 2016 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Seven years ago, Panama's president called Carlos Ruiz to ask why he would not play for his country. It was 2009, and Ruiz thought it best to stay in Phillies camp. The catcher later reconsidered. Now, at age 37, Ruiz will savor the chance in March to help Panama qualify for the 2017 World Baseball Classic. His career in its twilight, Ruiz needed no presidential persuasion this time. "It gives me a chance to represent my country," Ruiz said. "Bring them back to the World Baseball Classic.
February 26, 2016
CLEARWATER, Fla. - On Sunday, the Phillies seek revenge. They will play the University of Tampa, a Division II school, in baseball's first exhibition game of the spring. And this time, the Phillies hope to win. They will start veteran Jeremy Hellickson - not a young pitcher - against the college kids. Tampa beat the Phillies, 6-2, last March. "We think he can handle the pressure," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin deadpanned. "We have to beat them. " All joking aside, it would not be a great look to lose to amateurs in two straight springs.
February 22, 2016 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - When the new-look Phillies debut in six weeks at Cincinnati's Great American Ballpark, it is possible that two players in the starting lineup will make $33.5 million while the other seven account for a total of $6.5 million. The team's payroll could dip below $100 million for the first time since 2006. That is by design. "Sometimes where we spend our money is pretty public, in the case of a major-league player contract," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said.
February 20, 2016 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Two weeks ago, when Carlos Ruiz arrived early for what could be his 17th and final spring with the Phillies, a 22-year-old Colombian catcher approached the veteran from Panama. Jorge Alfaro, one of the prized prospects who will command attention in spring training, introduced himself at the Carpenter Complex. "I'm here for whatever you need," Ruiz, 37, told him. "Let me know, and I will help you. " Call this what you want - a proud catcher's last stand or an overdue farewell tour - but do not doubt that Ruiz will enjoy it. Before he stepped on the field Thursday as the oldest player at the Phillies' first workout, he wore a gold chain under a black shirt with the sleeves cut to show his bulging arms, two reminders for the kids savoring their first camp of how much work it requires to survive.
February 19, 2016 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Phillies opened the doors to their spring training clubhouse Wednesday, and the immediate surveillance of the expansive room created a peculiar feeling. Look across and to the left at the lockers where the aces used to reside, and the new nameplates read Hernandez, Rupp, Mariot, Oberholzer, and Bailey . No empty lockers for extra space that is typically provided for established stars such as Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels. Too many players overall - 65 in total - and too many of the nondescript variety for that kind of luxury.
February 19, 2016 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - He had just returned from running sprints. You could see his chest rising up and down beneath his black cutoff T-shirt, the one with a disembodied Phillies catchers mask hovering in the center. He wore a gold chain with tiny diamonds pressed into the links. He leaned on a bat, his red gloves unfastened. That is to say, Carlos Ruiz looked a lot like he has in each of the 11 years that he has reported to Clearwater in the middle of February. His face is a little more weathered.