March 20, 2015 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - All was quiet on the Florida front yesterday morning. The Phillies enjoyed their last day off until Easter Sunday, the day before they open the 2015 regular season at Citizens Bank Park against the Boston Red Sox. Two weeks from today, the team will break camp and head north. Although spring training officially began a month ago, there are still many unanswered questions as the exhibition season nears its end and the regular season approaches. 1 Where will Cole Hamels be on Opening Day?
March 20, 2015 |
TAMPA, Fla. - After his second start of the spring, Aaron Harang walked alongside a member of the Phillies' training staff in the inner sanctum of George M. Steinbrenner Field last night. Harang, who turns 37 in May, has had to adjust his workouts in the last month. More stretching, more flexibility exercises. Despite having logged just five Grapefruit League innings, and enduring back issues twice in the last month, Harang remains confident he can be slotted into his projected spot after Cole Hamels in the second game of the Phillies season, in 3 weeks at Citizens Bank Park.
March 18, 2015 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - With Cliff Lee out for the foreseeable future after being placed on the 60-day disabled list yesterday afternoon, 3 weeks before Opening Day, the Phillies were in need of some good news on the starting rotation front. They got some earlier in the day. Aaron Harang threw a bullpen session yesterday morning and gave himself the green light to jump back into the spring starting rotation Thursday night in Tampa against the New York Yankees (7:05, ESPN). The righthander has already had two of his spring starts scratched with back issues.
March 10, 2015 |
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Chase Utley was not on the team bus for the 96-mile trip yesterday morning to Charlotte Sports Park, spring home of the Tampa Bay Rays. This wasn't surprising, though, since many veterans are given days off for lengthy spring-training road trips. And, of course, because Utley has yet to play a game in the first week of the exhibition season. Utley entered camp rehabbing from a sprained right ankle, an injury he suffered while fielding ground balls in January.
March 6, 2015 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Last spring, Ken Giles was the kid in the back corner of the clubhouse with the filthiest fastball in the Grapefruit League. Since he had never played above Class A, though, Giles was sent to minor league camp midway through March. But then he would become a cult hero in Baseballtown, striking out 51 percent of the batters he faced during a monthlong stay at Double A Reading. And then he moved along to Allentown, where Triple A hitters were sent into fits with his triple-digit heat.
March 4, 2015 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - In advance of today's Grapefruit League opener, let's take a look at some things that we've learned about this team over the first couple weeks of spring training. 1 Here's a fun game: Take a pencil and a piece of paper and attempt to construct the Phillies' Opening Day batting order. I'll wait. (Waits). Now let's compare answers. Here's the best I could do: 1. Ben Revere CF 2. Carlos Ruiz C 3. Chase Utley 2B 4. Ryan Howard 1B 5. Darin Ruf LF 6. Cody Asche 3B 7. Domonic Brown RF 8. Freddy Galvis SS If you are anything like me, this exercise served to reinforce one of the long-standing quirks of the Phillies' lineup: Man, is it lefthanded.
February 28, 2015 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The two most assumable things when the gates swung open at Citizens Bank Park in April of 2004 were that no elite pitchers would ever want to come to Philadelphia and the Phillies would never finish last in baseball in home runs. In the ballpark's infancy, lots of guys pitched and moaned about the close proximity of the left-field flower beds to home plate. Recently named Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz infamously called the ballpark a "joke" and "the worst decision ever made" because of how easy it was to hit a home run there.
February 25, 2015 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Ryan Howard was the can't-miss at-bat. When the Phillies first baseman stepped to the plate, you had to watch because his power potential was so intoxicating. You never knew when a baseball might crash into the bricks in center field at Citizens Bank Park. Now, he is the guy that nobody wants. You would not have known that Monday at Bright House Field. The television news cameras all focused on the Big Piece's every movement as he reported for work the day before the Phillies' first full-squad workout of spring training.
February 22, 2015 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - After playing catch and running through pitcher's fielding practice on the second day of camp yesterday, Jonathan Papelbon changed into his street clothes and asked a media relations representative a question. "Can I wear this?" the veteran closer said, pulling a T-shirt out from his locker. When Papelbon arrived in the cafeteria-slash-news conference room at Bright House Field a few minutes later, when he talked to reporters for the first time in 2015, the closer wore his trademark smirk.