CLEARWATER, Fla. -- For an idea of how serious Ryan Howard and the Phillies are taking the ESPN report that the team has had internal discussions about proposing a Howard for Albert Pujols trade to St. Louis, we present this scene:
As Howard discussed the rumor with reporters this morning, Shane Victorino walked through the clubhouse and chanted, "Albert! Albert! Albert!"
"I don't believe in anything until it's done," Howard said. "For me, I didn't really pay attention to it."
Of course, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has categorically denied the story. And even if the Phillies had internal discussions about trading a player (I'd imagine this happens occasionally.) it's hard to believe these internal discussions were very serious.
But Howard discussed it this morning.
"I really don't have anything to say about it," Howard said. "Truthfully, I can go back to all the stuff that happened when I was in double-A -- all the talk about trade rumors. I don't know anything about anything. I'm not really focused on it. If that were the case -- I don't know if it is or not -- it is what it is. You just keep going out there and doing your thing. If you get a call saying you're trade, then you're traded. Until that happens, I'm still a Phillie. I'm still here. Let's ride it out."
And that's that.
The Phillies are boarding a bus for Bradenton, Fla., where Roy Halladay will make his third Grapefruit League start.
1. Jimmy Rollins 6
2. Placido Polanco 5
3. Chase Utley 4
4. Ryan Howard 3
5. Jayson Werth DH
6. Ben Francisco 7
7. John Mayberry 8
8. Ross Gload 9
9. Carlos Ruiz 2
Chad Durbin and David Herndon will also pitch in relief.
Meanwhile, Jamie Moyer will start his third B game of the spring over in Dunedin, Fla., against the Blue Jays.