The major stories of the day have been blogged along the way, but to quickly revisit them: Cole Hamels’ 2009 debut went smoothly, as the ace threw 24 pitches in two scoreless innings. He allowed two hits to Team Canada and walked one. After the game, Rich Dubee said that Hamels will start five more times before opening day. Much more on Hamels in a column from Jim Salisbury tomorrow.
The Hamels news is expecially positive for the Phillies given the spring that Johan Santana is having. It occurs to me that the NL East could come down to whose ace gets injured, and whose stays healthy. We’ll have to keep our eye on Hamels all season because of the 787 billion innings he pitched last year, and the Mets are probably very nervous about Santana, who keeps waffling on the severity of his injury (or disagreeing with the team about it). If either of these guys misses serious time, their team will be in trouble. Santana is clearly the bigger concern at this moment.
The next most newsworthy development was that Jayson Werth is swinging harder in BP, and Charlie Manuel says he’ll start Werth in a B game Friday.
And a somewhat surprising item moved on MLB.com today. Buried in the middle of this story, Jimmy Rollins says that he has been experiencing discomfort in the left side of his back since late last season. But Rollins then played nine innings today for Team USA against Toronto and went 1-for-5 with a double, a run and an RBI, so don't freak out. He's due to face the Phillies in an exhibition tomorrow, and he will be asked about this.
Oh, and here's a weird one for you: because the Phils played Team Canada, today's game was considered an exhibition within the exhibition season, so the stats and result don't count. Now for a zen riddle: if Cole Hamels makes his spring training debut in a game that wasn't a spring training game, does Cole Hamels still need to make his debut?
Some of you have requested reports on the minor leaguers who are in big league camp right now, so don’t say I never did nothing for you.. Here’s a partial list, with more to come in days ahead:
John Mayberry: Well, we know he has power. Mayberry launched a home run really, really deep into left field today, during the Phils’ 9-2 win over Team Canada. Pitchers in the bullpen time told me that the ball bounced once on the pedestrian walkway at the very back of Bright House Field and skipped out of the park. Mayberry is making a case to be a righthanded bat off the bench, but before we draw any conclusions, let’s remember that he is facing a lot of minor league pitching, and hasn’t proven he can get on base, hit offspeed pitches consistently or avoid striking out too much. I’m not saying he can’t do these things; I’m just saying we haven’t seen it yet. Mayberry posted a .330 on-base percentage in four seasons in the Rangers system, and struck out more than 100 times in each of the past three years. So we’ll see.
Jeremy Slayden is swinging well. He went into today’s game 5-for-10 this spring with two doubles and a home run. He hit a three-run homer in his only at-bat today. I didn’t see today’s dinger because I was in the clubhouse talking with Scott Eyre after he came out of the game, but I feel confident in telling you that he hit it well and it cleared the fence.
Anthony Hewitt continues to struggle, with no hits in four at-bats. He waved at a third strike today in his only time up, which is pretty much the issue: he doesn’t make contact. A terrific athlete who Phils’ scouting exec Chuck Lamar raved about Monday, Hewitt, 19, has a long way to go, if he ever gets there. But he’s 19.
Jason Donald is having a quiet camp, hitting .133. Donald is often mentioned as a prospect, but he will be 25 in September. This is an important year for him, because most players are who they are by the time they turn 26. Not all of them, but most.
We’ll keep this going as camp continues. Have a good night.