None of the 58 players who will attend Phillies spring training were assigned No. 34, and that was likely by design. Its owner for the last three seasons, Roy Halladay, will don it as a coach in 2014 just months after announcing his retirement from baseball.
Manager Ryne Sandberg has considerable plans for Halladay, who will spend two weeks in camp as a guest instructor.
"He'll be in the [staff] meetings in the morning," Sandberg said, "and I hope to have some sessions where we break up into small, small groups with the pitchers and have all of them meet with in one-on-one situations him about the mental side of the game.”
Sandberg served as a guest instructor for eight springs with the Chicago Cubs following his retirement, and he cited that experience as a starting point for his future managerial endeavors.
Halladay probably will not go that route, but he wants to remain involved in the game. It is often said that star-caliber players fail as teachers because their pupils are less talented than they. Sandberg long heard that criticism. He sees coaching promise in Halladay, the former pitcher known for his stoicism.
"I think in some regards he keeps it simple," Sandberg said, "but he's also the full package in terms of both on and off the field preparation – the work ethic and the pitching."
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