Quite a change, huh?
Think back to last June. A relative unknown, the Phillies promote Kendrick from double-A Reading to replace Freddy Garcia (aka The $10 Million Bust) in the Phillies' rotation. Kendrick hadn't even been invited to big-league spring training a few months earlier, so the Phillies were just hoping Kendrick could hold the fort until maybe something better came along.
But not only does Kendrick replace Garcia, he goes 10-4 with a 3.87 ERA in 20 starts.
Kendrick enters his first big-league camp -- not many pitchers make 20 starts and win 10 games before they enter their first big-league camp -- lined up as the team's No. 3 starter with Brett Myers starting Opening day and Cole Hamels following him. Naturally, people want to see if Kendrick is the Real Deal (apologies to J.D. "The Real Deal" Durbin.) He's confident he can prove to people 2007 wasn't a fluke. Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee think Kendrick can do just that. They need it. Because like I explained in today's Inquirer, this rotation is filled with question marks. If Kendrick can replicate last season's success, it's one less thing Manuel and Dubee (and the front office) will have to worry about.
Two of the Phillies' top prospects -- Joe Savery and Josh Outman -- got knocked around in yesterday's 11-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Ryan Howard absolutely crushed a home run to right field yesterday. The ball cleared the ballpark.
It's probably still going.
The Phillies head to Bradenton today to play the Pirates. Durbin is starting the "A" game. Brett Myers and J.C. Romero are pitching in the "B" game.