Valdez's accidental bus trip

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Wilson Valdez is entering his second season with the Phillies (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- When Wilson Valdez arrived in Fort Myers after taking a two-and-a-half hour bus ride Thursday with the rest of the Phillies traveling party, he was confused. Inside the visitors' clubhouse, he was looking for some of his things, like his hat and other equipment he didn't pack in his bag.

"I asked the clubbie," Valdez said. "He said he didn't pack it because I wasn't on the card."

And that's when Valdez realized he had boarded a bus he was not required to be on. His teammates made sure to remind him of this at every moment possible Thursday.

Every morning of a road game, the day's travel roster is posted on a bulletin board in the center of the clubhouse in Clearwater. The players are told to check it daily. 

Valdez forgot to and just assumed he was making the long trip because so many of the Phillies regulars were not. But Valdez, who played a career-high 111 games in 2010, has apparently achieved higher status.

Since Valdez made the trip, Charlie Manuel decided he might as well use him. So Valdez played the final five innings in center field, a position he had not played in the majors since 2007 (all of two innings for Los Angeles). He's played five career minor-league games in center.

"It was good," Valdez said. He made two catches in center and won't be used there very often. But at least the Phillies found out he can be an emergency option out there.

And Valdez learned to add something to his daily routine: A peek at the travel roster.

"I have to now," he said.


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