July 10, 2014 |
MILWAUKEE - Marlon Byrd plopped down on a black leather couch in the visitors clubhouse at Miller Park, and Ryan Howard had a question. Howard positioned his hands near his head, pretending to hold a bat, and wondered how soon he should lower his setup before the pitcher throws. This is an experiment for Howard, inspired by Byrd and encouraged by Ryne Sandberg. It is not the first time Howard has adjusted his swing mechanics; former manager Charlie Manuel often implored Howard to stand closer to the plate, a switch that never stuck because Howard felt uncomfortable.
June 14, 2014 |
It was a great day for clouds at Citizens Bank Park. In fact, the sun never made an appearance Thursday during the 3 hours and 5 minutes it took the Phillies to finish off a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres with a 7-3 victory that included another game-winning hit from Reid Brignac and a three-run homer by John Mayberry Jr. "It was a game with a lot of rain out there," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "I don't think I've ever seen that much rain in three hours of a game, but the guys hung in there and played a good game.
May 31, 2014 |
Fingers are pointed when franchises begin to fail. Not my fault. Look at that guy over there. He's the one. He's the reason it's all going bad. Charlie Manuel was the first victim of the Phillies' great fall in August, and with the team continuing to stumble through the first two months of 2014, the call for more front-office carnage has been loud and clear. Fire Ruben Amaro Jr. is the reprise. Customer dissatisfaction has come in many forms, but sagging attendance is the one most likely to get the attention of team president David Montgomery and the ownership partners.
April 15, 2014 |
The Phillies' weekend sweep of the Miami Marlins had a lot of sponsors, with the old double-play combination of Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley contributing late-game, long-ball donations to the final two victories. It was enough to make you flash back to the glory days at Citizens Bank Park when it was filled to the brim and the runs and wins just kept on coming. What a lot of people forget about the greatest of those days is how big of a role the bullpen played when the franchise won its second World Series.
April 14, 2014 |
Ryan Howard attempted to explain the sensation, the one that manifested itself months after surgery. His soreness was eliminated. His strength was improved. Still, subconscious trauma festered. "So," Howard said, "there were times mentally where you feel one little twinge. 'Aww, is it about to happen again?' You have to compensate. " Saturday marked 28 months since Howard underwent extensive surgery to repair a ruptured left Achilles tendon. A few weeks ago, Howard agreed to speak about it because that was the past.
April 7, 2014 |
CHICAGO - Every Phillies position player can say he has started a game this season after backup catcher Wil Nieves appeared Saturday in Ryne Sandberg's fifth different lineup in five games. It is clear, less than a week into Sandberg's first full season as manager, that his approach will greatly differ from the previous regime's. Carlos Ruiz had reached base seven times in his previous 10 plate appearances but sat in favor of Nieves. Third baseman Cody Asche scored four runs on opening day, then was relegated to the bench in the second game.
April 5, 2014 |
CHICAGO - There are only 30 big-league managing jobs, and everybody agrees that Ryne Sandberg paid his dues and then some to get one. Right around the time he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a tribute to his playing career with the Chicago Cubs, Sandberg decided he wanted back in as a big-league manager, and he was more than willing to take all the long bus rides and climb through each rung of the minor leagues to do it. ...
March 29, 2014 |
It was probably when the little blue squares of spray paint appeared on the inside corners of the bases at the Carpenter Complex that the Phillies fully realized Ryne Sandberg wasn't going to just talk about stressing the fundamentals of baseball. This guy was going to actually do it, if you can imagine that. Sandberg played in the major leagues long enough to know how some players at that level would react to being schooled on the proper way to run the bases. And he knew how much they would enjoy the tedium of the situational drills and full infield drills that were regular features of his first spring training camp as manager.
March 22, 2014 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Jonathan Papelbon's uneven performance last season as closer with the Phillies came down to one simple fact - he is not a very good loser. While Papelbon pitched last season with a hip injury that no doubt didn't help his cause, a second straight season of non-contention wrecked his psyche more than anything else. When he reported for his third Phillies spring training, he vowed to be a more positive influence, and so far he has been, although none of the games has been for keeps.
March 21, 2014 |
DUNEDIN, Fla. - Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins was calm, cool, and composed. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. couldn't have been more livid. Both were responding to an ESPN.com report claiming that some Phillies officials want Rollins to be a better leader through his work habits. Some in the organization want to trade him if he does not improve, the website said. After morning batting practice before Wednesday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Rollins said he had heard about the report.