Roy Halladay and Brad Lidge, two recently retired former Phillies, will be in Clearwater, Fla., this spring to work as guest instructors at spring training. But the most famous, long-time guest instructor - and the best player in franchise history - will not be able to work on the field this spring.
Phillies Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt will not take part in this year's camp while dealing with a health issue. Here's an official statement from the team:
"Mike is treating a health issue that requires him to remain near his doctors and will be unable to attend spring training as a field instructor this year. He plans to visit camp in the middle of March as part of his marketing relationship and continue his normal visits to Philly throughout the summer."
Schmidt, 64, is considered by many to be the greatest third baseman in baseball history.
The Phillies franchise leader in home runs (548, 15th all-time), Schmidt led the National League in home runs a record 8 times. He is a three-time National League MVP, a 12-time All-Star and 10-time Rawlings Gold Glove winner.
This spring will mark the first time in 13 years that Schmidt won’t be on the field in Clearwater as an instructor, working with hitters and infielders. Schmidt first rejoined the organization in 2002 as a special hitting instructor and has remained in that capacity, although he spent the 2004 season as the manager at Class-A Clearwater.
Schmidt spent all 18 years of his playing career with the Phillies before retiring in 1989. In 1995, Schmidt became the 26th player in history to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot.
The Phillies will have a total of 26 instructors in camp this spring, which includes the regular major and minor league coaching staffs. In addition to Halladay and Lidge, Gary “Sarge” Matthews, dismissed from the Phillies broadcast team two weeks ago, will be in camp as an instructor, along with 1993 NL Pennant alumni Larry Andersen and Dave Hollins.
Halladay, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, entered the offseason as a free agent for the first time in his career but retired from his playing career last month after battling through back-to-back, injury-plagued seasons. Halladay and his family live close to the Clearwater area.
Lidge, the Phillies team MVP in 2008, when he was a perfect 48-for-48 in save opportunities en route to a World Series championship, officially retired as a Phillie in August. Lidge last played a major league game in 2012. The former closer was one of Comcast SportsNet’s top choices to replace Matthews and Chris Wheeler in the TV broadcast booth, but told the Daily News earlier this month the timing wasn’t right as he wanted to spend more time with his family in Colorado.