Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Man(uel) crush on Nats' Harper

Charlie Manuel is in love and the object of his affection is an opposing player.

Man(uel) crush on Nats' Harper

Charlie Manuel said the Nationals´ Bryce Harper has some young Chase Utley in him. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
Charlie Manuel said the Nationals' Bryce Harper has some young Chase Utley in him. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

Charlie Manuel is in love and the object of his affection is an opposing player.

For the second time in as many days Thursday, the Phillies manager answered a question by using Washington Nationals rookie Bryce Harper as a positive example.

The topic of discussion Wednesday was why the Nationals have been able to overcome significant injuries better than the Phillies so far this season.

"Why do you think Washington is winning?" Manuel asked the questioner.

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"A great rotation," a reporter answered.

Manuel agreed, but made a quick addendum.

"The left fielder has some Kirby Puckett and he's got a young Chase Utley in him," Manuel said. "That brought a lot of life to the table."

The subject matter Thursday was hustle. Manuel was discussing how happy he was that the Phillies won a game Wednesday night primarily because Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco sprinted to first base, leading to an infield single and a game-ending error by Rockies first baseman Todd Helton.

As the conversation continued, Manuel was asked if there have been times this year when his players did not show that same hustle.

"When I go and look, the only guy I can think about who is consistent about that is the left fielder from Washington," Manuel said. "Try to find somebody else who does it every at-bat. What other guys do it?

"I've seen guys come to the big leagues who were real good players, tremendous players and then all of a sudden they become stars and they run about halfway down the line."

The manager was then asked what response he gets when he asks a player why he did not sprint to first base during an at-bat.

"The season is 162 games, everybody else does it and things like that," the manager said. "If you want to ask me why I accept it, I think there are 29 other teams besides ours that accept it, too. Do I like it? I think you know my answer."

Does Manuel love Bryce Harper? I think you know his answer to that, too.

Bonilla, Rodriguez headed to Futures Game

Lisalverto Bonilla and Julio Rodriguez will represent the Phillies at the Futures Game in Kansas City next month. They both pitch for the World roster against the United States in the July 8 game that precedes the Major League All-Star Game.

Bonilla, who turned 22 Monday, opened the season with single-A Clearwater, where he went 1-1 with a 1.35 ERA in 10 appearances. Since being promoted to double-A Reading, he is 2-1 with a 2.28 ERA in 15 releift appearances. He is a native of the Dominican Republic and signed with the team in 2008.

Rodriguez, 21, was an eighth-round draft choice in 2008. He went 16-7 with a 2.76 ERA at Clearwater last season and is 4-1 with a 2.81 ERA in 13 starts at Reading this season. Batters are hitting .220 against him, the fourth lowest average in the Eastern League.


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