CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Three weeks from today, the Phillies will break camp here in Florida and travel north to Philadelphia for two final exhibition games with the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park.
As we've said all spring, the majority of the Phillies roster was already decided before spring training began. Not too much has changed since the workouts and games began.
But it's a rainy day in Florida. And what better time to do a little predicting? So here is our projected opening day roster on March 12 with a quick thought on each player. Then, in three weeks we can come back and laugh at it when everything changes.
Carlos Ruiz (R) -- One of his main tasks this spring is to develop a rhythm with Roy Halladay.
Brian Schneider (L) -- He's not much of a hitter anymore but still an upgrade over Chris Coste/Paul Bako.
Ryan Howard (L) -- Howard has made a concerted effort to go to the opposite field this spring.
Chase Utley (L) -- He already had a few days off this spring. Is it a sign of things to come?
Placido Polanco (R) -- Defensively, it's coming along for Polanco and the coaching staff has no concerns.
Jimmy Rollins (S) -- He has lofty goals for 2010. Most of them will begin with a better on-base percentage.
Juan Castro (R) -- Manuel has praised Castro's glove and his ability to handle the bat.
Ross Gload (L) -- He led the majors in pinch hits last season. Most of his playing time could come in the outfield.
Greg Dobbs (L) -- If John Mayberry Jr. keeps up his solid play, does this squeeze Dobbs out? Probably not, but it's something to watch.
Raul Ibanez (L) -- Ibanez is healthy. The Phillies will do everything possible to keep it that way (hint: more regular rest).
Shane Victorino (S) -- Victorino missed the first six exhibition games with a sore shoulder.
Jayson Werth (R) -- Forget about whether Werth is here next year. We just want to know if the beard will make it to opening day.
Ben Francisco (R) -- He could start for a handful of teams in the majors.
Roy Halladay (RHP) -- People are already trying to figure out how many strikeouts he'll have against the Nationals on April 5.
Cole Hamels (LHP) -- He has a lot of faith in the cutter. Will it replace the curveball?
Joe Blanton (RHP) -- Blanton is working hardest on his change-up this spring.
J.A. Happ (LHP) -- Happ has job security for the first time in his career. How will he use it?
Jamie Moyer (LHP) -- Yes, the track record will win out. For how long is anyone's guess.
Ryan Madson (RHP) -- He'll take the closer reins while Brad Lidge is out, however long that may be.
Danys Baez (RHP) -- Baez is also a closer option. When Lidge is back, he might split the eighth with Madson.
Chad Durbin (RHP) -- Durbin hopes a smarter off-season will result in another season like 2008.
Jose Contreras (RHP) -- His transition to the bullpen is still a work in progress.
Antonio Bastardo (LHP) -- Almost a virtual lock at this point. He's ahead of the other lefties.
Kyle Kendrick (RHP) -- He might lose the fifth starter's job, but the Phillies will want him on the roster.
David Herndon (RHP) -- We'll go with the Rule 5er to start the season. But he could be going back to Los Angeles shortly after opening day.
Disabled list (2)
Brad Lidge (RHP) -- Lidge could still be ready for opening day, but we'll pencil him in here. He will miss no more than two weeks.
J.C. Romero (LHP) -- Romero hasn't necessarily suffered a "setback." But his progress has been extremely slow.
Could Herndon's spot go to another lefty? Sure. But having two lefties isn't necessarily a requirement early in the season. Could Kendrick go down to Lehigh Valley so he can continue to be stretched out as a starter and get innings? Possibly. But I think the Phillies will want to reward Kendrick with a roster spot, even if it's in the bullpen.
What do you think?