Blogging to you live from a cramped press box at Joker-Merchant Stadium in Lakeland, where the Phillies are getting set to start their final Grapefruit League game of the spring. In about five hours, the Phillies and their coaches will hop on a charter jet at a nearby municipal airport and head up to Philadelphia, where they'll face Toronto in an exhibition at Citizens Bank Park tomorrow night.
First, some news:
LHP Travis Blackley has cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. There was a chance Blackley, a rule 5 selection from San Francisco, could have returned to the Giants. But it appears he'll remain a Phillie this season, sharpening up in Triple-A in case the team needs another lefty arm during the season.
Second, what's in the paper:
Kris Benson has a new deal from the Phillies. The way its structured, its obvious that both sides A) Still expect Benson to help the team and B) Expect him to help the team sometime during the month of May.
If Benson pitches more than 10 minor league innings before May 15, he's allowed to opt out of his contract on May 15. If he doesn't pitch more than 10 minor league innings, he can opt out on June 1, assuming he hasn't been promoted to the big league roster by that point in time.
Now, what's on tap for today:
RHP Adam Eaton will make his final start of the spring today against the Tigers. Assuming everything goes well, he'll be the starter in the fifth game of the season against the Reds.