May 28, 2011
NEW YORK - As if being mentioned in the same sentence as Babe Ruth wasn't cool enough, Wilson Valdez is going to the Hall of Fame now. Actually, only the cap that Valdez wore as the winning pitcher in Wednesday's 19-inning game is headed for Cooperstown, but it is still an incredible achievement for a 33-year-old journeyman from the Dominican Republic who had never played more than 51 games in a season until last year. He became the first player to start a game in the field and win it as a pitcher since Ruth did it 90 years ago. Valdez flashed a huge smile when asked about the cap. Pitching coach Rich Dubee laughed.
February 20, 2014 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The three scariest words in sports are probably, "We signed Bynum. " But a close runner-up is "Dr. James Andrews. " At least, that is, among major league baseball players, a group to whom Jeremy Horst still considers himself a member, even if much of the rest of the world has forgotten. When you consider Andrews' reputation, Horst's anonymity this spring makes some sense. The 28-year-old lefty visited the renowned elbow specialist last July after a monthlong stay on the disabled list failed to reduce the pain in his pitching arm. And because Andrews' name has such a close mental association with "12 to 18 months," it might surprise some people to learn that Horst not only threw off a mound Friday afternoon, but looked sharp doing so. "My thoughts right now are just come in, handle the things I can control and pitch well," Horst said.
February 17, 2011 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Nothing is guaranteed, but this is still a novel concept for Wilson Valdez. He will spend spring training in the same complex two years in a row. "It's the same," Valdez said. "I can just come here to prepare myself. " For a 32-year-old who has spent time with nine organizations, this opportunity is rare. He played in a career-high 111 games in 2010, was referred to as a "godsend" by a Phillies executive, and even started a postseason game. Life is good for Wilson Valdez.
August 23, 2011 |
UNTIL his first at-bat against the Nationals on Sunday, the 2011 season had been everything Jimmy Rollins had hoped. Rollins, who played only 88 games last season because of a variety of lower-body injuries, was hitting .268 with a .342 on-base percentage, .402 slugging percentage, 14 home runs and 28 stolen bases. He had missed three starts because of injury this year, all of them in early June after he fouled a ball off his knee. Then came Sunday, when he pushed out of the batter's box to run out a ground ball in the first inning and felt his groin pull.
March 23, 2012
DUNEDIN, Fla. - We interrupt this spring to bring you some positive news. Carlos Ruiz is playing like it is October. Granted, it is only March, when the games behing played are about as meaningful as a Kim Kardashian marriage. But in a month that has played out like an upcoming season of the Walking Dead, we are determined to sprinkle in some sunshine. And as is often the case, Ruiz is a good place to turn. Not only are his Achilles' intact, his knees and fingers healthy, and his feet fracture-free, but his swing looks ready for any pitcher in the National League.
May 18, 2010 |
Lefthander J.A. Happ, on the disabled list with a left forearm strain, was pleased with his progress after a 20-pitch bullpen session yesterday afternoon. "That's the best I've felt in a month," he said. Rich Dubee was guardedly optimistic, but pointed out that the 2009 National League Rookie of the Year runner-up seemed to be progressing earlier before suffering a setback. "It went fine. Just fastballs. Much better than last time, probably about 3 weeks ago," the pitching coach said.
March 2, 2011 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Chase Utley is on the mend. How mended he might be, and when fans might see him in a Grapefruit League game, are matters that remain unclear. The tendinitis-plagued second baseman still isn't running hard or doing fielding work, two activities that have been hampered by the soreness in his right knee. "He's hitting and things like that," said manager Charlie Manuel, who added that head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan informed him that Utley is "coming along fine.
March 4, 2011 |
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Chase Utley has not resumed running or fielding since being shut down six days ago with patellar tendinitis, and his status remains the same, according to Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. Is that bad news? "It's not good news or bad news," Amaro said Thursday. "It's same news. " Utley continues to take batting practice because the condition in his right knee does not bother him when he is swinging a bat. But any sustained movement has been banned by the Phillies doctors so Utley can rest the knee in hopes of reducing the pain for later.
April 1, 2011
Combination lock: Shortstop Jimmy Rollins is the longest-tenured Phillie since making his major league debut in September 2000. Since then, his doubleplay partner has been Chase Utley the majority of the time. But did you know that Rollins has played next to 20 other second basemen for at least an inning during his Phillies career? The others, according to Baseball-Reference.com: Marlon Anderson, Kevin Jordan, David Newhan, Felipe Crespo, Tomas Perez, Nick Punto, David Bell, Placido Polanco, Matt Kata, Ramon Martinez, Abraham Nunez, Danny Sandoval, Joe Thurston, Greg Dobbs, Tad Iguchi, Eric Bruntlett, Miguel Cairo, Juan Castro, Cody Ransom and Wilson Valdez.
April 13, 2011
WASHINGTON - The overspecialized, travel-teamed, AAU-ification of sports is our current American reality. Seeing as how the players have never been better, in everything, it is hard to argue with the results. At the same time, though, it seems almost quaint to hear Wilson Valdez tell his story. It is so different. He grew up in the Dominican Republic, in a placed called Nizao. "We were really poor," he said. "We were glad we had something to eat every day. That was the only thing that mattered, that we had something to eat. " Valdez, sitting in a major league clubhouse, talked easily about how he appreciates the contrast from then to now. He continues to fill in for Chase Utley at second base for the Phillies.