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Spring Training

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April 6, 2014 | By Bob Brookover, Inquirer Columnist
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.
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April 4, 2014 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas - Cole Hamels will start his official rehab assignment Sunday with single-A Clearwater, and a return later this month looks increasingly probable. Hamels, who is recovering from biceps tendinitis and a fatigued arm, said at the end of spring training that he expected to need six starts before being major-league ready. (He has made two in scrimmages.) Hamels will attempt to simulate a typical spring training one month later than everyone else. If Hamels pitches every fifth day and does not suffer any setbacks, it could put the lefthander back in the Phillies rotation around April 26. But the Phillies could cushion a few of those outings with extra days and have Hamels pitch the opener of a homestand against New York on April 29. That scenario makes sense because it would come on the regular turn for the fifth spot in the rotation.
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April 3, 2014 | BY RYAN LAWRENCE, Daily News Staff Writer rlawrence@phillynews.com
ARLINGTON, Texas - Before last night, the last time Ryan Howard started a game and didn't hit cleanup, the Phillies were in the midst of a 27-year World Series drought. On June 29, 2008, Greg Dobbs was the designated hitter and Jayson Werth hit eighth. Marlon Byrd was in the other dugout, playing for a Rangers team that started Vicente Padilla a night earlier. Last night, during the Phillies' first trip to Arlington since that midsummer interleague series in 2008, Howard was out of the cleanup spot.
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April 2, 2014 | BY RYAN LAWRENCE, Daily News Staff Writer rlawrence@phillynews.com
ARLINGTON, Texas - During the dog days of spring training, after another day in what felt like a month's worth of games when his lineup was dormant, a hopeful Ryne Sandberg was more interested in looking ahead. The first-year manager said he liked the construction of the lineup, even if it wasn't producing results in exhibition contests. Sandberg used the word "potential" three times in a 30-second span. The balanced lineup Sandberg saw in his head but not on the field in Clearwater, Fla., showed up at an opportune time, on Opening Day in Texas.
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April 2, 2014 | By David Murphy, Daily News Staff Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas - Jimmy Rollins strode into the Metroplex around 11 p.m. Sunday. He was wearing Jordans and a gray track suit and walking with his usual swagger. First pitch was about 14 hours away, and for those looking to push a preordained narrative, this could have been a "Thing. " But Rollins never has cared much about these kinds of things. At times - like, for example, yesterday afternoon, surrounded by a pack of media, discussing a 14-10 win sparked by his second-inning grand slam - he offers the not-so-subtle impression that he is amused by it all. The glint in his eye, the gap-toothed grin.
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April 1, 2014 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
The Phillies did not break camp in Clearwater last week - which brings to mind a crisp departure like a football team clapping in unison as it exits the huddle - as much as they escaped it. Their six weeks in Florida were attended by the requisite rituals of spring, although not by nearly as many fans as in the past, and from the outside it was just another normal slow buildup to the grind of the regular season. But any camp that includes an outbreak of a potentially life-threatening staph infection in the clubhouse is not one that will be remembered fondly.
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April 1, 2014 | By Marc Narducci, Inquirer Staff Writer
Chase Utley's statistics were not good this spring, but the Phillies second baseman shrugged off the numbers and talked more about the process. Utley said he wasn't bothered in the least that he had to go 3 for 3 in his final exhibition game during Friday's 3-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park just to raise his final spring average to .217. Utley entered the game with one extra-base hit all spring and departed with two hard-hit doubles. "The whole goal going into the season is trying to feel as comfortable as possible," he said before the team departed for Arlington, Texas, and Monday's season opener against the Rangers.
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March 31, 2014 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Spring training, manager Ryne Sandberg said, was a time to preach fundamentals. The relentless Phillies coaching staff fired grounders at the infielders. Pregame drills were performed at game speed, and players noted the difference in intensity. Still, there was one principle they forgot, and the four-word reminder was tacked to corkboards at the clubhouse's entrances in mid-March. "Please Wash Your Hands," it said. More than a dozen Phillies were sick with flu symptoms.
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March 29, 2014 | STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
Miguel Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers have agreed to a 12-year deal worth up to a record $352 million, CBSSports.com reported Thursday. The deal is said to be for $248 million guaranteed over eight years, making it a record $292 million, 10-year commitment including the two years he had to go on his previous deal, according to the report. There are also $30 million vesting options based on achievements and awards for years 11 and 12, which, if reached, would earn the slugger $352 million.
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March 28, 2014 | By Marc Narducci, Inquirer Staff Writer
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Lefthander Cliff Lee completed a dominant performance in spring training Wednesday in his last start before his opening-day assignment. Lee allowed one run on six hits in five innings during a 1-0 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Bright House Field. "I have felt good the whole time, and spring training for me is over now and it is on to the real games," Lee said. "I am looking forward to it. " Lee will pitch Monday against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas. Although it's dangerous to get too caught up in spring-training statistics, Lee had a 2.55 ERA in 242/3 innings.
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