March 20, 2015 |
TAMPA, Fla. - If there are any hitters who shouldn't have trouble fine-tuning their swings in the spring, it's the players playing regularly in the winter. But only two players, Freddy Galvis and Odubel Herrera, collected more at-bats than Maikel Franco in their respective winter ball leagues. Franco hit .272 (40-for-147) with an .805 OPS in 38 games in the Dominican Winter League, hitting two of his seven home runs in the eight-game playoff series to end the season in January. After his first month in Phillies camp, however, Franco has had trouble keeping his bat in gear.
March 19, 2015 |
You can parse a pregnancy into trimesters, divide labor into stages. You can figure that after nine months of gestation, give or take a few days, you will hold a squirming infant in your arms. But adoption, Rachel says, meant a journey with no timetable. Neither she nor Rob felt attached to the idea of a biological child; in fact, Rachel and a friend had always half-joked that if they reached age 35 and didn't have kids, they'd just adopt. "But I did have a vision of how the process [of parenthood]
March 18, 2015 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - With Cliff Lee out for the foreseeable future after being placed on the 60-day disabled list yesterday afternoon, 3 weeks before Opening Day, the Phillies were in need of some good news on the starting rotation front. They got some earlier in the day. Aaron Harang threw a bullpen session yesterday morning and gave himself the green light to jump back into the spring starting rotation Thursday night in Tampa against the New York Yankees (7:05, ESPN). The righthander has already had two of his spring starts scratched with back issues.
March 17, 2015
Four pitchers have the best chances to make the Phillies starting rotation at the start of the season if Cliff Lee and/or Aaron Harang are injured or aren't ready: David Buchanan Where he stands: If Cliff Lee can't avoid surgery on his torn flexor tendon, Buchanan likely slots in as the Phillies' No. 4 or No. 5 starter. His spring so far: The second-year righthander has pitched well in three outings (one start), allowing only two runs over seven innings. Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez Where he stands: Like Buchanan, he currently slots in as either the Phillies' fourth or fifth starter, dependent on Lee's status.
March 16, 2015 |
SWEET SPRING breezes will grace us in a week. Let me start the spring cleaning by tying up loose ends on some recent columns. I am tickled to report that Malcolm Monk has found kin of Joe Gumpper, the World War II soldier he befriended 70 years ago . Monk was 10 and living with his family in the tiny village of Painswick, England, when they all met Gumpper, a Philly native and U.S. Army technician with the 164th Engineer Combat Battalion....
March 15, 2015 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - It looked like the Ryan Howard of old. The sweet swing. The bat drop. A slight gaze at the baseball that flew off his bat. Howard's home run - which seemed to hang for an eternity before dropping over the right-field fence - was his first of the spring. The at-bat in the fourth inning of Friday's 2-1 win over Tampa Bay was a glimmer of hope that Howard might return to form after a lost season. He pulled the first-pitch change-up, and the ball carried against the wind.
March 15, 2015 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - It is not yet known when Chase Utley will play the field in a game for the first time this spring, but Friday afternoon signified progress for the Phillies' veteran second baseman. After missing the first 10 games of the Phillies' Grapefruit League schedule, Utley played as the designated hitter in the Phillies' 2-1 win against the Tampa Bay Rays. The right ankle that has limited him "feels pretty good," he said after his spring debut. "Still making a little progress on it," he said.
March 13, 2015 |
LAKELAND, Fla. - The Phillies' offense could receive a much-needed spark today. Chase Utley is on the verge of returning to the lineup, although manager Ryne Sandberg stopped short of labeling the second baseman a definite for today's game against the Rays at Bright House Field. After a 6-5 win over the Tigers, Sandberg said Utley was nearing a return and could be in the lineup as a designated hitter. Utley has spent the first month of spring training working his way back from a sprained ankle that he suffered in January when he stepped on a ball during an offseason fielding session.
March 13, 2015 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Andy Oliver's self-critique of his third straight scoreless outing this spring was "not that good. " The Phillies pitcher was not satisfied even though he allowed no hits and struck out a pair of batters in two innings Wednesday in a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Oliver has not allowed a run in six innings this spring. The lefthander has struck out four batters and scattered two hits in the best spring training of his career. "Overall it was all right," Oliver said.