April 9, 2016 |
CINCINNATI - Cedric Hunter was 18 when he walked into an Atlanta area tattoo parlor and ordered them to etch a Major League Baseball logo onto his left arm. He was a high school baseball star with aspirations to reach the majors. "I got a lot of stuff for it," Hunter said. "But it's something that I loved to do since I was 12. " Hunter wore the tattoo when he was a top prospect with San Diego, when he looked like the ink would spend its summers in major-league ballparks. He reached the majors in 2011, but the tattoo's time there was short lived.
April 8, 2016 |
CINCINNATI - Seven weeks ago, Ryan Howard was defiant about a debate that was never a debate. Check the numbers, he said. Remember the track record. A platoon, he said, was not fair. When reality materialized Wednesday, in the season's second game, Howard spoke in a changed tone. The Reds started a lefthander; Darin Ruf played first base and batted fifth. And Howard, a $25 million platoon player, sounded at peace with it all. "I just don't let things bother me anymore," said Howard, in the last season of his five-year deal.
April 8, 2016
Around the Minor Leagues Here is a look at the Phillies' minor-league teams: Triple-A Lehigh Valley It is difficult to recall a triple-A team with the kind of young talent the IronPigs have. Triple A is typically a place for veterans, and there are some on this Lehigh Valley team. But the pitching prospects will draw the majority of attention. Jake Thompson, 22, Zach Eflin, 21, and Mark Appel, 24, are all touted. One or more of them could reach the majors by the end of the season.
April 6, 2016
CINCINNATI - They began trickling into the business district more than three hours before the parade. They were walking across intersections, standing in lines, sitting in cubicles inside offices: jerseys, T-shirts, caps, everybody dressed in all-Reds everything. Turns out Opening Day is a bit of a thing here in the Queen City, and as Joey Votto stepped into the box in the bottom of the eighth inning with the bases loaded, the home crowd finally had somewhere to channel all of that energy.
April 6, 2016 |
CINCINNATI - Manager Pete Mackanin left the dugout Monday afternoon and took just a few steps before throwing his left arm into the air. There was no decision to ponder. David Hernandez's Phillies debut was finished. And the damage was done. The righthander allowed each of the three batters he faced to reach base in the eighth inning of a 6-2 loss to Cincinnati on opening day at Great American Ball Park. The pitcher was asked what went wrong. "Everything," he said. Hernandez threw 16 pitches, 10 of which were balls.
April 5, 2016 |
Paul Owens had just finished his last news conference before the all-star break, but a 20-year-old reporter had one more question for the Phillies manager: "Who is going to be your starting pitcher in the All-Star Game?" Pope laughed at the stranger and kindly said, "I can't tell you that, young fellow. I wish I could, but I can't. " It was a pretty good question from a mostly clueless kid who still had no idea what he was going to do with the rest of his life. I was the kid. The year was 1984.
April 1, 2016 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - A fresh, clean suit hung inside each locker stall Wednesday morning. Spring training's final day had arrived. The Phillies broke their six-week camp with an 8-4 win over the Houston Astros. They packed their belongings in red duffel bags, departed Bright House Field on a bus, and boarded a chartered flight to Philadelphia with a bit of optimism. The Phillies believe they will win more games than they did last season. They may be a bit confident, but it is not a stretch to expect this season's team to be more competitive than the group that lost 99 games a season ago. The starting rotation is deeper, prospects could infuse energy, and manager Pete Mackanin will bring his wisdom and wit for an entire season after taking over last June.
March 29, 2016 |
The news from Clearwater late last week jarred my memory. In five short months, without seeing him manage a single game that counted, Matt Klentak decided he wanted to see more of Pete Mackanin. Klentak, the Phillies' 35-year-old general manager, sat next to Mackanin, the 64-year-old Chicago native who had waited a lifetime for the opportunity to become a big-league manager without an interim label, as the team revealed its biggest news of spring training. The Phillies tore up the contract that did not guarantee Mackanin anything beyond this season and gave him one that takes him through next season with a club option for 2018.
March 26, 2016 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Phillies manager Pete Mackanin is hitting his players in their wallets if they fail to exercise fundamentals or demonstrate hustle. The manager began issuing fines this spring - to the tune of just 50 cents - for players mishaps during spring training. "It allows me to be a real [jerk] about things like that," Mackanin said. "What are you going to complain about 50 cents?" Mackanin reads off the fines each morning during the team's daily meeting. The entire team is fined each time a player breaks one of Mackanin's rules.
March 20, 2016 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - A year ago Sunday, Maikel Franco stuffed a red duffel bag with his baseball belongings. He walked to the Carpenter Complex as a minor-league player, the result of overswinging to impress Phillies officials in spring training. His time, they told him, would come. Franco became Sal Rende's pupil once again. The hitting coach at triple-A Lehigh Valley met with Franco and outlined his goals. Better pitch selection. More patience. Knowing the situation , a word Franco constantly repeats from his established corner of the clubhouse at Bright House Field.