Well, this should just about settle any talk about Adam Eaton's role, or lack thereof.
Asked today whether Adam Eaton had any chance at establishing himself as the Phillies' No. 5 starter, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said, well, no.
"Based on what we've seen, it is a four man competition," Amaro said, "and he is not involved in that competition."
The four men who are involved: Righthanders Kyle Kendrick, Carlos Carrasco and Chan Ho Park, and lefthander J.A. Happ.
Amaro didn't say what, exactly, will happen with Eaton. The veteran is entering the last year of a three-year contract and is guaranteed $8.5 million. But the Phillies have made it clear that he is not part of their plans. Amaro didn't completely rule Eaton out of the team's plan, but left a definite impression that he is moving on.
"We just think the other four guys give us a better chance to win," Amaro said.
Add Ty Wigginton to the list of names the Phillies have investigated as potential additions to the team. Wigginton, who can play either corner outfield or corner infield position, plus second base, hit .285 with 23 home runs last season in just 386 at-bats for the Astros.
The Phillies have spoken with a number of free agents with experience at third base, including the Giants' Rich Aurilia, and are expecting Jason Donald to work out at third and second during spring training.
It appears the Phillies are determined to protect themselves in case third baseman Pedro Feliz's back injury - he had surgery in November - continues to be a problem.
"We're trying to give ourselves a little depth to make sure we are covered in case we have relapses with Pedro or Chase," Amaro said.
That said, the Phillies sound very pleased with Utley's progress from hip surgery. Utley said yesterday he hopes to start running on hard ground and swinging the bat within the next two-to-three weeks. He said he is more optimistic now than he was two months ago about being ready for Opening Day. That said, the Phillies insist they wil treat him with extreme caution.
Amaro did not rule out Carlos Carrasco as an option for the bullpen should he lose out on the No. 5 spot in the rotation. But he did say that, ideally, Carrasco will head back to the minor leagues and continue to refine his skills as a starter rather than crack into the big leagues as a reliever.
One other worthy note: Catcher Lou Marson looks to still be a year away from contending for a big league roster spot. Amaro said he expects Marson to head back to the minors after spring training. He did not rule out keeping three catchers. But the third catcher would likely be new acquisition Ron Paulino.