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.
March 27, 2001 |
Looking for a reason to believe in these 2001 Phillies? You won't find it in the starting pitching over the last three days. Over that span, Robert Person, Bruce Chen and Randy Wolf - three pitchers who are being heavily counted on this season - were tagged for 22 hits and 15 earned runs in 10 2/3 innings, and manager Larry Bowa isn't happy about it. Ah, but it's only spring training. It doesn't matter. Hakuna matata. No worries. It will all be different when the regular season starts.
March 11, 2007 |
On Thursday, I will board a plane for a delightful string of days in balmy Florida. I love the beach, but I won't have a single bathing suit stowed in my suitcase. The purpose of my annual mid-March getaway is twofold - I go to Clearwater to watch baseball games, as many as I can fit into eight days. And I go to hang out with my dad, who taught me everything I know about being a Phillies fan. I tease him for his mercurial feelings about Phils manager Charlie Manuel and the terrible handwriting he uses when pinch-hitting for me at keeping score, as I do every game.
April 11, 2014 |
Nothing in professional sports carries less overall meaning than the outcome of a single regular-season baseball game, or even a short stretch of games. The story of a major-league season is a quilt sewn tediously together bit-by-bit, day-by-day, and even the best teams in the game drop somewhere around 60 stitches before it is over. It is tempting, though, to look through the microscope of one night and think there is something to discover. It's also wrong, but always tempting. All right, that takes care of the qualifiers.
April 12, 2014 |
The Phillies will receive reinforcements in the form of Freddy Galvis and Mike Adams over the coming days. Galvis, who was sidelined at the end of spring training by a MRSA infection, could be activated Friday for the series opener against Miami. Adams will pitch Saturday for triple-A Lehigh Valley. That could set him up for a Monday return. The Phillies crave a reliable righthanded presence in the bullpen. Whether Adams, 35, can be that pitcher after major shoulder surgery is unknown.
April 11, 2014 |
IN THE final days of spring training, David Buchanan was told he wouldn't be on the 25-man Opening Day roster but was given a decent consolation prize. Buchanan was scheduled to throw in the final exhibition game at Citizens Bank Park, where he'd never pitched, and he also had a good chance to jump into the rotation when the Phillies needed a fifth starter in mid-April. But that exhibition game was rained out and Buchanan won't be in South Philly this weekend, either. He's a victim of bad luck and unfortunate timing.
April 6, 2014 |
CHICAGO – Someday we might be able to extract Chase Utley's deepest thoughts and most pleasant memories from a career that still might land him in the Hall of Fame. Like his Hall of Fame manager, however, there's little chance the Phillies second baseman is going to reveal much of anything about himself until his career is over. In his mind, Utley has too much to do, too little time to do it and he'd rather spend his time trying to get it all done instead of talking about it. Ryne Sandberg understands his second baseman because that's exactly what Ryne Sandberg was like when he made a living playing baseball for the Chicago Cubs here in the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.
March 6, 2014 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The infielder was a month removed from Achilles' surgery, going about his daily rehab work and trying to keep a positive outlook. He relies on legs. His future is largely dependent on his legs' ability to recover and become strong again. Ryan Howard walked over to the kid last fall at the Phillies' state-of-the-art indoor training facility in Clearwater with some friendly words of advice. "Baby steps," Howard said. "You've got to keep a positive mindset.
April 13, 2014 |
HELP COULD soon be on the way for the Phillies' beleaguered bullpen. Veteran setup man Mike Adams is targeting a Monday return, contingent upon a successful outing at Triple A Lehigh Valley today. The Phillies' bullpen entered yesterday with a 5.40 ERA, ranked second-worst in the National League. Phillies relievers were averaging only 7.09 strikeouts per nine innings, second-lowest in the NL (Washington and Atlanta rank first and second at 12.71 and 11.86). Adams, 35, was one of baseball's best setup men from 2008-12, prompting the Phillies to sign him to a 2-year, $12 million deal last offseason.