Good to be home. At the ballpark today to work on a few things in advance of Friday's Opening Day and the new scoreboard is simply astounding. Second-largest in the majors and it's huge. Pretty cool.
Anywho, there is one more exhibition game remaining until meaningful baseball. The news, obviously, is the release of Luis Castillo. The Phillies say it wasn't prompted by anything Castillo did, but more what others contributed.
One of those guys, Rule 5 pick Michael Martinez, is officially on the team. The 28-year-old has never played in the majors. Teammates were congratulating him this afternoon.
There is one spot left and that is down to Delwyn Young and Pete Orr (or someone from outside the organization who is a last-minute cut). The guess here is it's Young because of his switch hitting and ability to pinch hit. But Orr is still around for a reason.
Both Young and Orr can be sent to the minors if they don't make the team.
With the Castillo situation resolved, Charlie Manuel will field this lineup today:
1. Shane Victorino 8
2. Placido Polanco 5
3. Jimmy Rollins 6
4. Ryan Howard 3
5. Raul Ibanez 7
6. Ben Francisco 9
7. Carlos Ruiz 2
8. Wilson Valdez 4
9. Cole Hamels 1
Hmm...looks like a possible Opening Day starting eight to me. Putting Victorino at the top will only accentuate the need for him to get on base some more and the centerfielder could probably use that push.
It puts Rollins further down the order and let's be real, Rollins hasn't been a leadoff hitter for quite some time now. He's hit better with runners on base and the on-base percentage isn't as important batting third than first.
Against lefties, Manuel could decide to split Howard and Ibanez up by sliding Francisco fifth. Ruiz should see some more pitches to hit seventh. All around, with the hand the Phillies are dealt, it's not the worst lineup construction.
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