July 16, 2014 |
MINNEAPOLIS- Benjamin Utley, according to his dad, can do it all. Hit, field, throw, run. The hitting for power will come, surely. "He's an active little guy," the elder Utley said of his 2 ½-year-old son. "He likes to throw everything - not just baseballs. Everything. " As the subject matter changed during a recent conversation, from his own health to his son's baseball activities, Utley couldn't help but break out into a smile. "He's doing everything," Utley said. "Well, it's not like I have him doing drills or anything.
June 16, 2014 |
READING - A former top-five draft pick was playing winter ball in Venezuela when he started to sense he would have difficulty landing a job this spring. So Adam Loewen reverted to an old custom. He began to long toss. More than 5 years had elapsed since Loewen, once a ballyhooed Orioles' pitching prospect, last toed the rubber. Arm injuries had sent the touted 6-6 southpaw into a second career as a hitter. But nearing 30 and after 3 years of stints manning the outfield in Buffalo, Port St. Lucie and New Hampshire, he opted to again gauge the status of his once-prized left arm. "I felt like I left a lot out there, a lot of potential that was untapped, really," he said.
June 4, 2014 |
SOME GUYS like the bull's-eye. Some guys feel every sling and arrow fired once they don it, or once it is draped upon them. In January 2007, Jimmy Rollins spiced up our baseball offseason by proclaiming that the Phillies were "the team to beat" in the National League East. This was after their third consecutive second-place finish in 2006, 12 games behind the Mets, and their fourth runner-up run in the decade. Serious questions had surfaced about the team's mettle and mentality.
June 1, 2014 |
Lefthander Cliff Lee, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 20 with a left-elbow strain, has yet to start throwing, but he remains optimistic. "It is slowly getting better . . . there is still a little bit [of discomfort], but I'm progressing," Lee said before the Phillies took on the Mets Friday night at Citizens Bank Park. "Every day I am getting closer to throwing. " Lee is 4-4 with a 3.18 ERA in 10 starts this season. Needing a day off? Counting Friday, Jimmy Rollins had started 21 consecutive games for the Phillies, and he has hit a slump.
May 25, 2014 |
THE COMPOSITION of the Phillies bench took a wild turn in the last week of spring training, when Darin Ruf suffered a severe rib-cage injury, Freddy Galvis contracted a MRSA infection and Kevin Frandsen elected for free agency after being removed from the 40-man roster. It's continued to be an ever-changing piece of the roster, from Jayson Nix coming and going, Reid Brignac arriving, Galvis being activated, sent down and then injured, Hernandez coming and going and Ruf entering the picture this week.
May 18, 2014 |
The Phillies position players have remained relatively healthy, but the offense has been inconsistent through a 17-21 start entering Friday's game at Citizens Bank Park against the Cincinnati Reds. The Phillies entered the weekend with a minus-34 run differential, the third worst in Major League Baseball. They were 29th in runners left in scoring position per game (4.11) and 26th in runners left on base per game (7.63). Before Friday's game, manager Ryne Sandberg was candid when asked if he was surprised at the offense's inconsistency, especially without many health issues in the first 38 games.
May 16, 2014 |
The pain in Chase Utley's knees was most visible when bat met ball in 2011. The sound was not the same, either. Just 12.7 percent of Utley's batted balls were line drives, according to Baseball Info Solutions data. His power stroke disappeared. That is what makes Utley's .571 slugging percentage over the first six weeks of 2014 so remarkable. He doubled two more times Wednesday in a 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. He leads the National League with 17 doubles and three triples.
May 15, 2014 |
The Phillies infielders converged at the mound in the seventh inning of a 4-3 loss Tuesday night, and Cody Asche was the loneliest man in Citizens Bank Park. Mike Trout, the superstar an entire South Jersey town came to ogle, had just chopped a grounder at Asche. The 23-year-old third baseman backpedaled and lunged for the ball, which trickled past him. Now, Asche stood on the slope of the mound, a few steps from his teammates. Phillies pitching coach Bob McClure motivated Cliff Lee, who was pushed to the brink because of Asche's sloppy fielding.
May 1, 2014 |
CODY ASCHE'S absence from the lineup last night wasn't as notable as Ryne Sandberg's choice to replace him. With a lefty starter on the mound, Sandberg elected to go with Jayson Nix instead of Freddy Galvis as his righthanded hitting third baseman. While it might not have been a major story line, it was a good indication of the improvement that Galvis needs to show at the plate if he ever hopes to make the transition from utility whiz to Gold Glove regular. Nix, a journeyman who is playing for his sixth team in 7 years, entered last night hitting .179 with a home run and a .493 OPS. Yet Sandberg had some reason to think Nix offered the best chance of success against Mets lefty Jon Niese.
April 21, 2014 |
This is the second installment of The Inquirer's Phillies Top 25 prospects. Some are long-range prospects, with six of the final 15 being 20 years old or younger. 11. Deivy Grullon, C, 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, age 18 Extended spring training He hit .273 with a home run and 14 RBIs in 41 games last season with the Gulf Coast League Phillies. Considered to have the best arm in the Phillies' minor-league system, Grullon is also expected to be a solid hitter. 12. Aaron Altherr, OF, 6-5, 220, age 23 Clearwater He recently returned to action after being sidelined with a fracture in his wrist and eventually should be playing at Reading.