March 29, 2011
CLEARWATER, Fla. - In the third inning, fat, cold drops of rain pelted down on the Piggy Bank, Bright House Field. There went the meteorological no-hitter, broken up in the Phillies' final exhibition of a Florida phase where the weather was all-time spectacular and the daily news bulletins could not have been worse. We were introduced to the dark side of Chase Utley's benign-sounding patellar tendinitis, a tongue-twisting condition called chondromalacia. Simplified description: cartilage on the underside of the kneecap that has been eroded by wear and tear over time - think Housemaid's knee - and is now close to bone-on-bone.
February 19, 2012 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Phillies know this is different. They know that when you go from four aces to three, the buzz isn't going to be quite the same. They know that the sooner you get eliminated from the postseason the less attention you're going to receive in spring training. Greg Casterioto, the team's director of baseball communications, said he flirted with the idea of setting up a news conference with the Phillies' four new bench players - Jim Thome, Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix and Juan Pierre.
February 17, 2012 |
SPRING TRAINING is a difficult time to judge the overall strength of a baseball team. But here are five burning questions the Phillies face as they hold their first official workout of the spring on Sunday. 1. How healthy are they? The big question mark is the Big Piece. For the first time since Ryan Howard ruptured his Achilles' tendon while making the final out of the 2011 season, we will get a chance to see the star slugger's rehabilitation in action. Last we heard, general manger Ruben Amaro Jr. was saying that he would be happy if Howard returned sometime in May. The reality is, nobody knows when his body will allow him to endure the rigors of regular-season baseball.
February 16, 2012 |
Two springs ago, Phillippe Aumont took the longest walk of shame a professional pitcher can take. Of the seven college kids he faced, three walked, one singled, and another bashed a three-run home run. This was an exhibition game against Florida State University, and because of that, Aumont's debut as a Phillie was never officially recorded. That hardly made the walk down the left-field line from the dugout to the Phillies clubhouse at Bright House Field any less embarrassing.
May 31, 2012 |
NEW YORK - When the news broke Tuesday that Phillies righthander Roy Halladay is expected to miss six to eight weeks with a shoulder injury, one National League scout who has seen him pitch in spring training and the regular season was not surprised. Halladay was placed on the disabled list retroactive to Monday with a strain of the latissimus dorsi in his right shoulder and back. Halladay received a second opinion Wednesday after a visit with David Altchek, the New York Mets' team doctor.
March 8, 1988 |
It has long been suspected by many of you out there that nobody really needs spring training. Except maybe the Florida Council on Tourism and Trinket Sales. And just last year, along came conclusive proof that some people don't. Such as Tim Raines. Raines played for the Montreal Expos last season. Well, not for all of last season. He left out February. And March. And April. That was because he was a big- name free agent at the time and they weren't exactly in vogue during those particular months.
January 28, 2000 |
When the end of January rolls around, baseball players begin taking inventory of their body parts, making sure everything is ready for spring training. Rico Brogna began this process recently, and the answers he got back from his right knee weren't what he was hoping to hear. So Brogna, the Phillies' starting first baseman, will have arthroscopic surgery on the chronically sore knee this morning. Team physician Michael Ciccotti will perform the operation in Philadelphia. Brogna sounded confident that the surgery won't interfere with his preparation for the season.
February 6, 1995 |
Jim Coates, baseball fan and out-of-work auto mechanic, sat on a stool in a near-empty Johnny Be Good's diner and sports bar. Slowly draining a bottle of beer, he switched his attention from a televised basketball game to the muddled state of his favorite sport - and the havoc it might wreak on his hometown. "For a lot of people down here," Coates said, "spring training is the big deal. It's the only time we get to see real baseball. Take that away. . . . " Take that away and sleepy Port Charlotte and the 19 other Florida communities that host big-league teams every February and March might be in big, big trouble.
March 16, 2012
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Another day of spring training passed Thursday without an appearance from second baseman Chase Utley. The Phillies have played 15 Grapefruit League games and an exhibition against Florida State University without their five-time all-star second baseman, a player whose presence in the middle of the lineup will be more important than ever because of first baseman Ryan Howard's anticipated prolonged absence. You may be of the opinion that the only way to get ready to play the game of baseball is by playing the game of baseball, but at least in Utley's case, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. does not agree.
January 19, 1993 |
The weather outside was frightful. The forecast was even worse. Lenny Dykstra, as fidgety in his spacious Main Line home one recent day as he is working a pitcher on an endless summer night, couldn't wait. Couldn't wait for the flight that since has transported him to the sunshine of Clearwater, Fla. 34617. Couldn't wait to bury the ghosts of the past two seasons, a tempestuous time littered with injuries and controversies. Couldn't wait, like a little kid on Christmas morning, to tear into the 1993 season and discover what wonders might be in store.