April 3, 2013 |
ATLANTA - It was more than two hours before game time, and the first player to emerge in the visitors dugout at Turner Field was Chase Utley. The Phillies' five-time all-star second baseman was not going to miss this opening day. Not after missing the last two. Not after starting his preparation for this season almost immediately after the end of last season. There was a look in Utley's eyes Monday as he leaned on the dugout railing and awaited the team's stretch exercises in preparation for his first opening day since 2010.
December 15, 2012 |
Ben Revere was escorted into the Phillies clubhouse Thursday afternoon by two team officials. Inside, the lights were dimmed to accentuate the Christmas decorations, complete with a village of mechanical caroler figurines in the center of the room. Their new present, a speedy, defensive-minded centerfielder, was unwrapped on a day of seismic shifts in the baseball world. The Phillies, for now, are relegated to watching. "I know they'll make moves," Revere said. The options are dwindling.
August 31, 2012
Ten years later and they're talking about Chase Utley playing third base again. A decade ago, Utley was being groomed at triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to replace the departed Scott Rolen at the position. Utley, in his second full minor-league season with the Phillies, moved from second base to third in 2002 and skipped a stop at double-A Reading because he was such an advanced offensive player. Then, as now, Utley was willing to do whatever was best for the team. Unlike then, Utley now has enough organizational clout to make suggestions that resonate with the general manager.
July 31, 2012
ATLANTA - What does it mean when the games don't mean anything anymore? A decade has passed since the Phillies have had so little to play for so early in a season. Manager Larry Bowa's 2002 team, the last Phillies squad that failed to post a winning record, was also out of contention by this point in the summer. Former general manager Ed Wade conducted his primary order of business that year exactly 10 years ago Sunday by sending a disgruntled Scott Rolen to the St. Louis Cardinals for Placido Polanco, Mike Timlin, and Bud Smith.
July 27, 2012
DAVE MONTGOMERY traced it back to 2002, and that is still true. Free agents David Bell and Jim Thome began the sea change that Cole Hamels rode like a Black's Beach wave Wednesday, signing on to be a Phillie through the 2018 season for a mere $144 million. But the guy whose locker sits to the left of Hamels had something to do with it as well, something that should never be overlooked as Roy Halladay approaches the final guaranteed season of the 3-year, $60 million contract extension he signed before the 2010 season.
May 19, 2012
ON A TRIPLE A baseball diamond somewhere in Louisville, Ky., Mike Costanzo stood among a throng of kids and felt his stomach churn as a lifetime's worth of jubilation and disappointment flashed through his head. An hour earlier, the 28-year-old third baseman had phoned home to Delaware County for his usual pregame chat with his father. "I'm batting cleanup," Costanzo told Mike Sr., who knew that his son had been waiting for such a promotion. The conversation ended, but not for long.
October 5, 2011 |
ST. LOUIS - Three-run homers hide a lot of blemishes, although it must be noted that they never had much luck disguising the hole in David Bell's swing. But the one Phillies pinch-hitter Ben Francisco belted into his club's Busch Stadium bullpen to decide Game 3 did exactly that. Francisco hit the third, but by far most important, three-run homer in this NL division series that, thanks to his career's most magical moment, the Phillies now lead, two games to one. As a result, no one in the victors' quietly confident clubhouse or among their relieved fans in Philadelphia was complaining about the Phillies' schizophrenic offense, the one that generated 15 runs in the series' first 12 innings and none - on just four hits - in the 12 that preceded Francisco's Matt Stairs-like moment.
July 31, 2011 |
Reprinted from Saturday's editions The Phillies offense Friday night was nothing like the one that had generated so much trade speculation. Then the Phils made the trade they hope will produce more slugfests to match Friday's 10-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. Coveted Houston all-star outfielder Hunter Pence was dealt to the Phillies for first baseman Jonathan Singleton, righthanders Jarred Cosart and Josh Zeid, and a player to be named. The Phils also received cash.