April 29, 2013 |
When Devin Smeltzer finds himself in a tough spot on the pitching mound, the Bishop Eustace Prep School junior reaches back for some more velocity for his fastball. Or he'll put some extra edge on his curveball. Or he'll summon the knuckleball that he throws only in special situations. But Smeltzer, 17, who is one of the state's best high school baseball players for one of the state's best teams, has a unique perspective on his most challenging moments in the competitive arena.
April 24, 2013 |
Nearly 30 years ago, a 6-foot-4 righthanded pitcher got a call to the big leagues from the Minnesota Twins. Johnny Podres, the Twins' pitching coach, offered some simple advice. "I thought he might pull me aside and tell me how to work a certain hitter," Jay Pettibone said as he recalled the details of his big-league debut. "But, no, he just encouraged me to have a good time and enjoy the moment. He said, 'You worked hard to get here, so go out and have fun.' " It turned out to be great advice.
May 13, 2011
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Put one Phillies All-Star player in a Florida rehab game, it's a note on the end of a game story. Put two All-Star-level players in a Florida rehab game and ballwriters are detoured during a Phillies road trip and dispatched to the scene. Put three All-Star-caliber players in the same rehab game, including the starting battery, and it's a Comcast SportsNet telecast. They fly banners in Tampa International Airport: "Welcome Rehabbing Phillies. " While it was cool to be at Bright House Field for that great Thursday-night institution - two-beers-for-the-price-of-one night - this was about the chance to see the progress made toward a return to action by long-term DL inhabitant Chase Utley and his short-term DL brethren Carlos Ruiz and Four Aces righthander Roy Oswalt.
March 11, 2007 |
Freddy Garcia and Ryan Madson have something in common. Both are searching. Garcia is trying to rediscover his fastball. Madson is trying to find a consistent third pitch. Both pitchers worked in a 6-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays yesterday. The results were mixed. Madson, who has scrapped his curveball in favor of a slider, had his best day yet with the pitch. He threw a half-dozen of them and got three quick outs in the sixth inning. Garcia, however, didn't wow scouts with his fastball as he went three innings and did not strike out a batter in his first official Grapefruit League start.
April 28, 2008 |
Poof. The fastball that made Brett Myers a first-round draft pick in 1999 is nowhere to be found. The pitch that hit 95 m.p.h. suddenly cannot break 88 m.p.h. That is a concern for Myers and the Phillies, who finished 5-2 on their seven-game road trip after Myers lasted just five innings in a 5-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday at PNC Park. "He's supposed to be one of our aces," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I'm lost," Myers said. "I'm lost throwing 88 m.p.h.
June 1, 1997 |
The verdict is in: Tyler Green is not ready to join the Phillies rotation just yet. "Nobody's trying to rip Tyler Green off," general manager Lee Thomas said yesterday. "But we just don't feel he's ready. He's a 92-93 [m.p.h.] guy, and he just doesn't have that velocity yet. I know we need another starter, but we're not going to risk bringing him back too early. I won't do that to anyone, not Tyler Green, not Mike Grace. We have to look out for these guys. " With Thomas in attendance, Green pitched his second straight complete game Friday night, beating Pawtucket, 8-1. He scattered seven hits, walked two and struck out two. His fastball was clocked at only 86-87 m.p.h.
June 5, 1990 |
When Pat Combs was mired in his three-game losing streak, he continued his diligent conditioning program - stretching, light lifting, running - for hours each day. He, along with some other Phillies - Terry Mulholland and Don Carman in particular - is manic about it. "Why don't you shut that stuff down, man?" outfielder John Kruk said to Combs at one point during the winless spell (which ended Sunday when he allowed just three hits in 7 1/3 innings). "It ain't doin' you no good.
August 14, 1997 |
Hideki Irabu did not overwhelm the Kansas City Royals in his return to Yankee Stadium. But he showed he was a better pitcher than the one who was sent down to the minors to clear his head and find his fastball, striking out five and surrending three runs in five innings as the New York Yankees downed the Royals, 9-3, last night. "He needed to come back," said a seemingly relieved manager Joe Torre. "He was curious, also, about coming back and seeing what he could do. I thought today was good, considering he had to wait around [through a 90-minute rain delay]
April 3, 1995 |
It was one of those losses that West Chester East's Jason Beckman couldn't get out of his mind. It kept eating at him. On March 25, in the finals of the Phoenixville Tournament, Beckman was on the mound when Downingtown completed a stunning comeback to beat the Vikings by 9-8 - after the Whippets had fallen behind by 8-0. "I wanted to show my teammates that they could have confidence in me," Beckman said of his next pitching assignment, a...
March 22, 1993 |
He is wild, erratic and maddeningly frustrating. Still, Mitch Williams remains one of the indispensable Phillies. Without him, this club with preseason pretensions is without a closer. Which is why his spring struggles are a matter of private concern among Phils officials. Hoping that Williams' fastball will return with more work, Phils manager Jim Fregosi dispatched his closer to the minor-league complex yesterday for some work. "We wanted him to get some innings in. He threw all right," said the manager - "all right" being a couple of notches down in Fregosi-speak from the ultimate pitching compliment, "extremely well.