Archive: March, 2009
Had enough news? Can you take any more? Brett Myers will start opening night.
A name like Gary Sheffield is guaranteed to create buzz, both for and against the idea of bringing him in. Though the lines of communication are open between the Phillies and the 40-year-old slugger, multiple team sources told the Inquirer that chances of signing Sheffield are, in the words of one official, "very slim."
Ruben Amaro Jr. would only say that the parties had spoken today, and declined to comment whether Sheffield would accept a part-time role.
I posed that last question to Sheffield's agent Rufus Williams a few minutes ago. He said: "As we look for our options over the next few days, we'll decide what the best role will be. (A part-time role) is not off the table; nothing is off the table."
The hits keep coming this week. After releasing Geoff Jenkins, the Phillies have informed Chan Ho Park that he will be their fifth starter. J.A. Happ will compete with Gary Majewski, Bobby Mosebach and Jack Taschner for a bullpen spot. A visably upset Happ has so far declined to speak with the media.
Also, Ruben Amaro Jr. said that the team had spoken with Gary Sheffield's representative. Sheffield, 40, was released by the Tigers today. At the moment, Miguel Cairo is the 25th man on the roster, but Amaro made clear that he was still looking at other alternatives for that job.
Some of what Jenkins had to say: "I knew that there was a lot of lefthanded hitters, so I knew someone was going to be the odd man out at some point," he said. "I don't regret anything, one minute that I was here. Jenkins gave the organizaton high marks for their handling of the situation, and expressing no bitterness. He said that Charlie Manuel told him, "There's going to be another home for you, and just keep working hard"
More for you chewers to chew on, courtesy of Jim Salisbury. He's covering the beat today while I work on the season preview, and let's just say the poor guy picked a busy one. After Cole Hamels threw 64 pitches in four minor league innings and allowed 10 hits, three runs, one walk, five strikeouts, he said he felt good, but needed one more practice start. Rich Dubee said that either Joe Blanton or Brett Myers will start opening night April 5. Hamels is on track to pitch this Saturday's exhibition in Philadelphia against Tampa Bay and the fourth game of the regular season, in Colorado April 10.
And the roster continues to settle. The Phillies have released INF Marcus Giles, who was attempting a comeback after missing the entire 2008 season. P Carlos Carrasco and OF John Mayberry Jr. have been optioned to Triple-A, and P Mike Koplove. OF Jason Ellison and INF Pablo Ozuna have been told that they will not make the opening day roster, but will travel to
These moves simply confirm what had become obvious. Giles batted .167 and lacked the defensive versatility of Miguel Cairo, who looks like he'll be the righty bat off the bench--unless the team makes a trade, which they'd like to do. The fast recoveries of Chase Utley and Pedro Feliz essentially ended Giles' audition.
Koplove has pitched well (1.23 ERA), but as a righty in a righty-heavy bullpen, faced long odds. The Taschner trade was not good news for him. Mayberry's and Carrasco's need for further development was clear. Ellison and Ozuna were always headed for Triple-A, barring injuries to someone else.
It was March 12 in Port Charlotte when I first noticed Charlie Manuel sounding anxious about some of his hitters. Minor injuries and the “World Baseball Thing,” as Charlie dismissively called it today, left many regulars short of the 65-70 Grapefruit League at-bats Manuel feels are needed to prepare for the season.
The tarp is on the field at Bright House, but the rain seems to be clearing. Here's the lineup for the 1:05 game against the Bloody Sox.
The Phillies play the Pirates in Bradenton today, but the more newsworthy game may well have occured on a minor league field in Dunedin, where J.A. Happ pitched (Jamie Moyer starts in the Grapefruit League game, and he seems pretty much assured of a spot in the rotation).
It wasn't Happ's finest outing, but most of the damage came in a three-run first inning. Here's the line: 5 1/3 IP, 5R, 3BB, 4K, 6H. He threw 94 pitches, 54 for strikes.
Pedro Feliz went 0 for 6 in that game.