Minor-league facility is Phillies' newest toy

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Across this state lives another potential steroid scandal, the product of a powerful trainer who befriended baseball players and their agents. Teams can do only so much; during the winter their players typically work out wherever they call home under the guise of personal trainers.

Education is a priority. Even then, while the Phillies and others have told their players what drugs and supplements not to take, poor judgment persists.

In a perfect world, the Phillies could have year-round, constant oversight on their players. With a new 20,000-square-foot training facility completed in January, they have offered a realistic solution.

"We wanted to create an environment for players who wanted to use the facility in the winter," said Lee McDaniel, director of minor-league operations.

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The facility will be mostly used by minor leaguers during the spring and regular season. It took nine months to construct, features a 5,000-square-foot weight room, six batting cages, video rooms and office space.

McDaniel would not disclose the cost of the building, a portion of which was covered by the city of Clearwater. It replaced an old barn that housed four batting cages.

Players started using the new building in January, McDaniel said. Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard, Kyle Kendrick and Domonic Brown were among those who trained there. They all live in the area.

The Phillies' hope is more players — major and minor — see it as a viable option. That way, the staff always has control.

"We've had a lot of guys relocate," McDaniel said, "and come in here."


- "I'm not worried about my job," Charlie Manuel tells Bob Brookover. The manager says defense is the thing that worries him the most.

- Camp began in earnest on report day and Chase Utley looked nimble.


The pitchers and catchers will work out for the first time, starting around 9:15 a.m. Later in the day, Roy Halladay will make his first public remarks since last season ended.

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