July 8, 2014 |
PITTSBURGH - A.J. Burnett said it was an emotional experience Sunday when he took the mound at PNC Park for the first time since he left the Pirates and signed with the Phillies as a free agent in February. Burnett spent just two years in Pittsburgh, but he made a favorable impression. He went 10-11 with the Pirates last season as they earned their first postseason berth since 1992. Before he took the mound Sunday in the first inning of a 6-2 loss, there was a video tribute to Burnett and the crowd gave him an extended ovation.
April 28, 2014 |
PHOENIX - The three-year hunt for an effective bullpen continues, and it has uncovered Shawn Camp, a 38-year-old righthander who became the 11th reliever used by the Phillies in less than a month. He has joined Jeff Manship, another nonroster invitee in spring training, to form half of the righthanded relief options for manager Ryne Sandberg. The Phillies entered the weekend with the National League's worst bullpen ERA. They have tried 31 relievers since the start of the 2012 season, and no combination has yielded success.
April 25, 2014 |
GIVEN THE NATURE of his job, and the geography of his habitat, a major league reliever can sometimes feel as if he is on an island. If he is a Phillies reliever, he often can feel as if that island is 3 miles long, on the outskirts of Harrisburg. After the latest Level 7 meltdown, this one in a 5-2 loss to the Dodgers last night, the club's bullpen ranks next-to-last in the majors in ERA, and, quite possibly, last in ability to complete the necessary repair work. When we say the Phillies have no options, we mean it figuratively only in the sense that their minor league rosters do contain human bodies that possess an ability to throw a baseball overhand, and thus are technically eligible for a promotion in accordance with major league rules.
April 3, 2014 |
ARLINGTON, Texas - It felt like April again. Tie game, bottom of the ninth, B.J. Rosenberg on the mound, Jonathan Papelbon waiting in the bullpen for a save situation that will never arrive. For more than half of last night's 3-2 loss to the Rangers, the Phillies looked like a team poised to put together a two-game winning streak to start a season for which expectations have rarely been lower. They followed a 14-10 victory on Opening Day with a couple of grind-'em-out runs off of a tough lefty starter who had no business taking an L next to his name.
March 19, 2014 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Ryne Sandberg gave the obvious answer when asked about his rotation for the Phillies' season-opening series in Texas (Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, Kyle Kendrick, if you really need the help). Here are three more puzzling questions that need to be answered as the Phillies enter their last week of Grapefruit League play: 1) Is Chase Utley's performance a reason for concern, or just a small sample size? While a lot of attention has been paid to things that went wrong for the Phillies last season, second base is one position that exceeded most reasonable expectations.
February 20, 2014 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The three scariest words in sports are probably, "We signed Bynum. " But a close runner-up is "Dr. James Andrews. " At least, that is, among major league baseball players, a group to whom Jeremy Horst still considers himself a member, even if much of the rest of the world has forgotten. When you consider Andrews' reputation, Horst's anonymity this spring makes some sense. The 28-year-old lefty visited the renowned elbow specialist last July after a monthlong stay on the disabled list failed to reduce the pain in his pitching arm. And because Andrews' name has such a close mental association with "12 to 18 months," it might surprise some people to learn that Horst not only threw off a mound Friday afternoon, but looked sharp doing so. "My thoughts right now are just come in, handle the things I can control and pitch well," Horst said.
February 16, 2014 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Phillies have a new pitching coach for the first time in nine years, and Bob McClure is content to delay any judgments on his pupils. The 61-year-old former reliever did not seek this job; Ruben Amaro Jr. called McClure in November after exhausting a dozen other options to replace Rich Dubee. McClure did not work in baseball last season. He cared for his 2-year-old twin sons in Stuart, Fla., and watched baseball on TV. A bitter divorce with the Boston Red Sox in 2012 jaded him. "Really," he said, "I didn't think I was going to miss it. " This winter, another team offered a consulting job he could do from home.
October 14, 2013 |
THAT THE PHILLIES finished second-to-last in the National League in bullpen ERA wasn't for a lack of trying. No team in the majors fiddled with more combinations of relievers in the later innings of games. Fifteen different relievers made at least 15 appearances for the Phillies in 2013, by far the most in the major leagues (the Mets had the second most, with 12). In fact, the Phillies are the only team in baseball history - or, at least, baseball history as recorded by Baseball-Reference.com - to ever use that many relievers.
October 4, 2013
PITCHERS AND catchers will hold their first workout of the 2014 season in Clearwater, Fla., on Thursday, Feb. 13. The Phillies unveiled their spring-training schedule yesterday, which includes 16 Grapefruit League games at Bright House Field in Clearwater. The Phillies' first game of the spring has the Toronto Blue Jays coming to Bright House on Wednesday, Feb. 26. The Phils will play 31 games in Florida before heading home for two exhibition games against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park on March 28-29.
August 29, 2013 |
NEW YORK - The Mets started a lefthander, Jonathon Niese, so Ryne Sandberg deployed his righthanded-hitting Phillies lineup Tuesday night at Citi Field. Erik Kratz, Michael Young, Darin Ruf, Kevin Frandsen, and John Mayberry Jr. batted in succession. It is possible that none of those players will be starters in 2014. "Balance, for me, is important," said Sandberg, the interim manager. "That means righthanded bats. " Those bats were 2 for 15 in a 5-0 loss to New York. Frandsen, playing out of position at first base, committed an error that led to four unearned runs.