Friday, August 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Farewell, Florida

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Welcome to Disney, where dreams can come true. The Phillies have a simple one: Let nothing else go wrong this spring before the team's scheduled charter flight home this evening.

Farewell, Florida

Juan Pierre had four hits, one RBI and one run but was caught stealing against the Yankees. (Kathy Willens/AP)
Juan Pierre had four hits, one RBI and one run but was caught stealing against the Yankees. (Kathy Willens/AP)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Welcome to Disney, where dreams can come true. The Phillies have a simple one: Let nothing else go wrong this spring before the team's scheduled charter flight home this evening.

It's getaway day in Florida, the end to this charmless Phillies spring. The five-time defending National League East champions will depart with a 22-year-old starting at second; continued questions about first base and left field; and myriad bullpen uncertainties.

Other than that, the spring has been great.

Yes, there are positives. Carlos Ruiz has just dominated opposing pitching this spring. He's hitting .512 (21 for 41) with nine extra-base hits. Jimmy Rollins is healthy, swiped five bases, and walked as many times as he's struck out. Hunter Pence has swung a decent bat, hitting .286 (22 for 77) albeit with 20 strikeouts, tied for the fifth most in all of baseball. Shane Victorino is at .299 (20 for 67).

Of course, Grapefruit League statistics have no significance whatsoever, barring a competition for jobs. All of the above players were guaranteed spots.

About the only drama remaining is whether Joe Savery or Raul Valdes makes the bullpen, and if Ruben Amaro Jr. can find an upgrade from another team's cut list. Savery is pitching after Lee this afternoon.

The 32d and final Grapefruit League lineup, which is possibly a preview of Charlie Manuel's thinking against righthanded pitchers:

1. Juan Pierre 7
2. Placido Polanco 5
3. Jimmy Rollins 6
4. Jim Thome 3
5. Hunter Pence 9
6. Shane Victorino 8
7. Carlos Ruiz 2
8. Freddy Galvis 4
9. Cliff Lee 1

Thome is playing first base for the fourth time in eight days. That is a huge storyline heading north.


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Matt Gelb Inquirer Staff Writer
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