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April 5, 2015 | BY SHAMUS CLANCY, Daily News Staff Writer clancys@phillynews.com
In his first appearance at Citizens Bank Park as a Phillie, Aaron Harang's debut got off to a rocky start upon Harang's first pitch at 7:07 p.m. Three batters and 3 minutes later, the Phils were in the hole 2-0 after a double from the Pirates' Gregor Polanco and a single from reigning NL MVP Andrew McCutchen put the Bucs in the lead.  "I definitely had to make some adjustments, getting used to the mound at the end," Harang said. "I really had to work to find my release point and get everything go. " The Phillies ultimately survived and pulled off a 7-5 comeback win, but Harang surrendered four earned runs in 4-2/3 innings, giving the team's offense great incentive to get their bats going.
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April 4, 2015 | By Jake Kaplan, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Phillies will struggle to score runs this season. Not even the general manager, Ruben Amaro Jr., has disputed that fact. Baseball Prospectus projects the team's worst offensive output in four decades. So it made plenty of sense that for his second spring as Phillies manager, Ryne Sandberg preached situational hitting to those in Camp Clearwater. Home runs figure to be scarce, so finding other ways to move runners is necessary. Sandberg seeks more productive at-bats. Expect plenty of bunts, more hit-and-runs, and more movement on the basepaths in general for Year 2 of Sandberg's major-league managerial tenure.
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April 4, 2015 | By Mike Sielski, Inquirer Columnist
Back there, behind a heavy metal door that separated them from the home clubhouse at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla., under a ceiling that blocked the west Florida sun and kept the whole area as cool and comfortable as a McMansion's living room, in front of a blue park bench where Chase Utley sat and gulped down the last mushy bite of a banana, were two batting cages. This has been Utley's sanctuary, maybe his last one. He spends more time in the trainer's room than he ever has before, and no wonder.
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April 4, 2015 | Jake Kaplan, Inquirer Staff Writer
Cole Hamels is used to all the attention - from Phillies fans. But every fifth game this season, continuing likely for the next three-plus months, the Phillies ace will take the mound with eyes on him from all over Major League Baseball. For five of his spring training starts, scouts squeezed into the seventh and eighth rows of Section 111 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla. For the other, they watched at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin. This will be customary in big-league ballparks throughout April, May, June and July, or as long as the rebuilding Phillies hold on to their ace. The Phillies' handling of Hamels, by far their biggest trade chip, should be telling in the progress of the team's rebuilding.
SPORTS
April 4, 2015 | By Matt Breen, Inquirer Staff Writer
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Cody Asche first heard of Mike Schmidt in the summer of 2000, when Mark McGwire passed the former Phillies third baseman on the all-time home run list. Asche was a 10-year-old Cardinals fan, who grew up 30 miles northwest of St. Louis. Schmidt was just another Hall of Fame name on a list full of them. This spring, Asche built a relationship with that name. The team's third baseman worked in Schmidt's hitting group throughout spring training. In a new initiative rolled out by manager Ryne Sandberg, each player was assigned a personal hitting coach.
SPORTS
April 3, 2015
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The sensation in Ken Giles' back was described to Ruben Amaro Jr. as milder than the ailment that slowed third baseman Cody Asche for four days. The Phillies general manager does not anticipate a stint on the disabled list for the team's promising setup man. "We wouldn't risk it if we think it's a risk," Amaro said. Giles exited his outing Tuesday after facing two batters. The 24-year-old downplayed the injury afterward, calling it "just tightness. " Wednesday, Amaro called it a mild mid-back strain.
SPORTS
April 3, 2015 | BY RYAN LAWRENCE, Daily News Staff Writer rlawrence@phillynews.com
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The final week of spring training began with manager Ryne Sandberg using the word "unacceptable" in between two games when the Phillies gave up a combined 28 runs. It came to an end yesterday with Odubel Herrera wearing a customized Hooters sleeveless T-shirt during batting practice, with his name and number scrolled on it in ink, and Jonathan Papelbon taking the mound in the ninth inning wearing a Carlos Ruiz jersey at Bright House Field. Camp Clearwater officially broke after the Phillies 10-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
SPORTS
April 2, 2015 | By Jake Kaplan, Inquirer Staff Writer
CLEARWATER, Fla. - While the Phillies played their final road game of spring training on Tuesday, Domonic Brown walked off the minor-league fields in Clearwater clutching two black bats and a red batting helmet. "Made it through," he quipped with a smile before heading back into an empty Bright House Field clubhouse. Hours earlier, the Phillies informed Brown that the tendinitis in his left Achilles would land him on the 15-day disabled list to start the season. This did not come as a surprise, not even to the optimistic rightfielder, who discussed such a possibility Monday with the team's head athletic trainer, Scott Sheridan.
SPORTS
March 30, 2015 | By Frank Fitzpatrick, Inquirer Columnist
Much of baseball's appeal relies on its unchanging nature. The 2015 game, between the lines at least, is virtually indistinguishable from that of 1965 or even 1915. It's a comfortable continuum that fosters, more than any other sport, generational interaction, comparisons between eras, and historical reverence. But baseball's ancient moat isn't so wide that it can exclude change completely. Right now, for example, in Clearwater, Fla., Phillies players are wrapping up a spring training their distant predecessors would have thought impossible.
SPORTS
March 29, 2015
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Phillies are at the point in spring training when their relievers pitch back-to-back days to build arm strength for the season. Jake Diekman, in this particular case, is especially thankful he pitches again Saturday. "If I could, I'd be pitching right now," he said Friday after allowing seven runs on six hits in just 1/3 of an inning against the New York Yankees. "That was terrible. " A brutal fifth inning of a rain-shortened 10-0 Phillies' loss ballooned Diekman's spring ERA to 12.27.
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