Figured I'd take some time out of my busy offseason schedule (Towels folded? Check. Kitchen Cleaned? Check.) to update you with a few odds and ends that are percolating today.
1) Anthony Hewitt will be in spring training. As is the custom with the Phillies', they'll have last year's top draft pick in camp. Hewitt, a raw but physically-gifted short stop who won't turn 19 until April 27, struggled last season for the Phillies' rookie-league team in Florida. Hewitt hit .197 with 55 strikeouts and seven walks in 117 at-bats. Keep in mind, however, that Jimmy Rollins hit just .238 in rookie ball. (As an aside, anybody want to know what Alex Rodriguez's stats were as an 18-year-old minor leaguer? .312 BA, .374 OBP, 21 home runs, 84 RBI, 11 triples and 20 stolen bases -- in 426 at-bats.)
The Phillies also extended non-roster invitations to three others with big-league experience. Outfielder Pablo Ozuna, 34, hit .260 with one home run and nine RBI in 68 games with the White Sox and Dodgers. Jorge Velandia, 34, spent most of last season in Triple A and hit .233 with three home runs and 20 RBI in 80 games. He also appeared in seven games with the Cleveland Indians and has appeared in 174 major league games. Lefthander Jacob Woods appeared in 15 games for the Seattle Mariners last season, but spent the majority of the year with Triple A Tacoma (6-1, one save, 4.08 ERA).
2) If you didn't read the paper today, you would have missed that Chase Utley is progressing satisfactorily through the initial stages of his rehabilitation process. In fact, the Phils are cautiously optimistic that the second baseman could begin some weight-bearing activities, like running in a pool, in the near future. While it is too early to tell when Utley might return, the important news at this stage of the game is that there have been no set-backs.