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SPORTS
March 4, 2016
Making a long-term commitment to Kolten Wong as their second baseman, the St. Louis Cardinals agreed Wednesday to a $25.5 million, five-year contract with the 25-year-old. Wong gets $1.25 million this year, $2.5 million in 2017, $4 million in 2018, $6.5 million in 2019 and $10.25 million in 2020. St. Louis has a $12.5 million option for 2021 with a $1 million buyout. He would have been eligible for salary arbitration next winter and for free agency after the 2019 World Series. "Now that I kind of have some kind of security, I understand that I can go out there and do different things and not worry about basically trying to play a good game every single game of spring training," Wong said.
SPORTS
March 1, 2016 | By Matt Breen, Staff Writer
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The University of Tampa baserunner never had a chance as he began his slide into second base and the ball was waiting to meet him. The right arm of Jorge Alfaro - the Phillies' top catching prospect - claimed another victim. Alfaro was acquired in July from Texas, but he missed the rest of the minor-league season with an ankle injury. An 8-3 exhibition win on Sunday helped unravel some of his mystery. Alfaro threw out Tampa's Matt Piatt by a few feet in the fourth inning.
SPORTS
February 28, 2016 | By Matt Breen, Staff Writer
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Greg Burke said he was just a typical righthander who threw 90 mph After one season in the big leagues, he returned to the minors. Burke needed something, he said, to set himself apart from "all of the guys throwing 100 miles per hour. " During spring training with Baltimore in 2012, Burke found a way to be different. The South Jersey native started throwing sidearm and returned to the majors a season later with the Mets. Burke, who is competing for a spot in the wide-open Phillies bullpen, is one of two pitchers in camp who uses a sidearm delivery.
SPORTS
February 28, 2016 | By Matt Breen, STAFF WRITER
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Greg Burke said he was just a typical righthander who threw 90 m.p.h. After one season in the big leagues, he returned to the minors. Burke needed something, he said, to set himself apart from "all of the guys throwing 100 miles per hour. " During spring training with Baltimore in 2012, Burke found a way to be different. The South Jersey native started throwing sidearm and returned to the majors a season later with the Mets. Burke, who is competing for a spot in the wide-open Phillies bullpen, is one of two pitchers in camp who uses a sidearm delivery.
SPORTS
February 26, 2016
Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton will start the season on the disabled list because of an injured left knee. Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said the five-time all-star, bothered by swelling in the knee, received a stem cell and platelet-rich plasma injection Monday, when he was examined by orthopedist James Andrews. Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP, will be on crutches for seven to 10 days and is projected to need eight weeks of recovery time. Levine said Hamilton likely would start a minor-league rehabilitation assignment in late April and the Rangers hope he will return to their lineup in early May. Hamilton will be making his 11th trip to the disabled list.
SPORTS
February 25, 2016 | By Matt Breen, STAFF WRITER
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Phillies gathered Tuesday morning inside a back building of the Carpenter Complex before the first full-squad workout of spring training. General manager Matt Klentak and manager Pete Mackanin addressed the team. The manager introduced his coaching staff and one key player. "Last but not least, Maikel Franco, our third baseman," Mackanin said. The room erupted into laughter as the manager made light of Franco's being the last player to arrive in camp. "Oh, man, I knew he was going to do it," Franco said.
SPORTS
February 25, 2016 | By Bob Brookover, Inquirer Columnist
CLEARWATER, Fla. - They are always the last to know, and it is entirely understandable. If you spent all of your life doing something so many others would love to do and you did it better than almost everyone, you would never want it to end. As a result, you would become blind to your own shortcomings and refuse to surrender to or even acknowledge the inevitable decay caused by time, wear and tear. Ryan Howard has arrived at that place so many other superstars have been before, and the only way his view of reality is going to match what is actually happening is if he can be the first to build a working time machine.
SPORTS
February 24, 2016 | By Matt Gelb, STAFF WRITER
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Frank Herrmann, wielding a black bat, stared down four of his fellow Phillies pitchers. They stood in a semicircle about 20 feet away. Herrmann, a 31-year-old righthander with one career professional at-bat, swung and hit another dribbler at the grass near his feet. The pitchers laughed. "This is borderline embarrassing!" one yelled at Herrmann. Around them, nine other groups of five played a forgotten drill banned from ballparks across the country. Pepper is alive and well in Phillies camp.
SPORTS
February 23, 2016 | By Matt Gelb and Matt Breen, STAFF WRITERS
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The first step in the process of finding a Phillies closer this spring involved discussions between the coaching staff and at least six potential candidates. A heavy emphasis will be placed on performances over the next six weeks. First, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin wanted to check his pitchers' mind-sets. "Without naming names, one guy said he would probably be more comfortable as a seventh- or eighth-inning guy," Mackanin said. "So that tells you right there that might eliminate him. " Cross him off, then.
SPORTS
February 22, 2016 | By Bob Brookover, Inquirer Columnist
CLEARWATER, Fla. - It was an interesting revelation from a passionate man with little patience for ballplayers who do not work diligently at their craft. Unsolicited this offseason, Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa referred to Odubel Herrera as the hardest working man on the team last season. "He was the kind of kid that gave everything he had, and his attitude was the same every game," Bowa said. "I've seen guys play a year or two, and they never make any adjustments. But to me this kid made adjustments last year.
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