April 2, 2001 |
The first clue that you have arrived at Eddie Oropesa's house is a pair of helium-filled balloons tied to the mailbox. One of them is emblazoned "Congratulations. " The other looks like a baseball, stitches and all. The next clue that you have reached the home of the newest Phillie is the bumper sticker on the car in the driveway. It reads: "No Castro, No Problem. " At the front door, you are certain you have reached the right place. There's a happy little boy wearing a red Phillies cap and waiting to go outside and play catch with his father, a pitcher who had been away at work for six weeks.
December 21, 2000 |
The Phillies yesterday invited 15 non-roster major- and minor-league players to spring training in Clearwater, Fla. Among them are second baseman Chase Utley, who was the Phillies' first-round pick in the 2000 draft. He batted .307 with two home runs and 22 RBIs in 40 games with single-A Batavia. Also invited were: Lefthander Ed Vosberg, who has pitched for 18 seasons with the Phillies, San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, Texas, Arizona and Florida. First baseman Brian Hunter, who had all but two of his at-bats for the Phillies last season after being claimed off waivers from Atlanta.
October 13, 2001 |
The Phillies reached into their farm system yesterday to find a new bench coach. Gary Varsho, the manager at double-A Reading, will replace Greg Gross in that role. Gross moved into the position of hitting instructor Monday after the Phillies fired Richie Hebner. Varsho, 40, earned an outstanding reputation during his three seasons as the manager with Reading. He twice led the Phillies' double-A affiliate into the postseason. This past season, his team was declared co-champion of the Eastern League after the Sept.
March 23, 2001 |
Never heard of Eddie Oropesa? Don't feel bad. You're no different from Larry Bowa. Or Ed Wade. Or Amaury Telemaco. A few days before Bowa was hired as the Phillies' manager, Ruben Amaro Jr., their assistant general manager, walked into Wade's office and told the general manager that he was close to an agreement with Oropesa, a minor-league free agent and Cuban defector with no big-league experience. Here's what Wade said he knew about Oropesa: "Nothing. " In between games of the Phillies' split of an exhibition doubleheader with the Texas Rangers yesterday, Bowa was asked what he had known about Oropesa when he took over as manager.
August 30, 2001 |
Jose Mesa went shopping with his wife Tuesday night. After working out with Phillies teammates before their game against the New York Mets, Mesa showered and returned to the team hotel before checking out a few stores in Manhattan. The Phillies' closer, suspended for the first two games of the series at Shea Stadium, was not oblivious to the baseball proceedings in Queens. "I was listening to the game, and then I was out at a store with my wife," Mesa said before serving the second game of his suspension last night.
February 24, 2001 |
The Phillies have finally set a timetable for lefthander Rheal Cormier to throw off the mound for the first time this spring. No, not when he'll be sufficiently recovered to join the regular program. But they've figured out when they will start to worry if he's still bothered by the back spasms that have limited the free-agent acquisition since he arrived in camp. "I asked [pitching coach] Vern Ruhle when panic time is, and he said March 5," manager Larry Bowa said. "Well, not panic.
June 15, 2001 |
In the midst of their worst tailspin of the season, the Phillies went searching for some veteran help yesterday. They found it at triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the form of 36-year-old outfielder Turner Ward and 39-year-old reliever Ed Vosberg. Ward will replace Eric Valent, whose six-day stint in the big leagues ended after the Phillies completed a 1-5 road trip with a 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Vosberg's ticket back to the big leagues was punched when Eddie Oropesa was placed on the disabled list because of back spasms.
March 7, 2001 |
This probably looked all too familiar to Terry Francona as he sat in the home dugout yesterday at Chain of Lakes Park. The visiting Phillies had taken a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning against Francona's Cleveland Indians. They were three outs from victory, an ominous position far too often during Francona's final season as the Phillies' manager. The more things change . . . Reliever Vicente Padilla couldn't get anybody out in the ninth and the Phillies were left to deal with a fall-from-ahead 4-3 loss that evened their Grapefruit League record at 2-2. Francona, working for the Indians under the title of special assistant to baseball operations, could smile because he was in the winning dugout.
March 31, 2001 |
Eddie Oropesa sat on a bench just outside the Phillies clubhouse, a cell phone at his ear, tears in his eyes. In the waning days of spring training, that usually isn't a good sign. Except his were tears of joy. Perhaps one of the most amazing stories of this spring training, Oropesa, the Cuban defector who spent seven years in the minor leagues, learned yesterday he had made the Phillies' roster. It was the perfect "Rocky" ending to a story that is almost too unbelievable to be true.
May 11, 2002 |
If the thrill wasn't already back in the Phillies' season, it is now. The Phillies stretched their winning streak to seven games last night in a most electrifying manner. Vicente Padilla, the only remaining pitcher - of three - the Phillies acquired in the trade that sent Curt Schilling to the Arizona Diamondbacks two seasons ago, frustrated his former team with a two-hit, complete-game shutout that included seven strikeouts. The Phillies' 4-0 win helped them creep to within three games of .500 (16-19)