The first official day of spring training is over. Pitchers and catchers reported to camp and took part in their first team workout. Position players were also in attendance. Here’s the stories from day one, including quotes:
- “Being the perfectionist that [Cole Hamels] is, he took [his 2009's struggles] to heart, and he did the work that he had to do. So he’s in a much better position right now. He could have gone home and sulked again and said, oh, what do they know. He didn’t do that. He went home and did what he had to do.” — Rich Dubee, Phillies pitching coach.
Hamels put a lot of work in this off season, and says that he did not stop throwing over the winter. Over the break, Hamels experimented with a cutter, and even talked to Steve Carlton and Cliff Lee about the pitch. During spring training, Hamels will work on improving his curveball.
- “[Jamie Moyer]‘s probably ahead of schedule in what we thought he might be able to do.” — Dubee
This is good news, especially if Jamie wants to keep the fifth starter’s job. J.C Romero also felt that he was ahead of schedule. A healthy team is always key. However, rushing back from an injury can make it worse.
- “I don’t necessarily expect myself to have ’08, but I expect myself to be a hell of a lot closer to ’08 than ’09, that’s for sure.” — Brad Lidge, Phillies closer
That’s a confident Brad Lidge. And that’s what he needs: confidence. Over and over I have heard that Lidge’s problems were mental. Perhaps he has his mind straight. After all, “baseball is 90% mental — the other half is physical” (Yogi Berra).
- “[ Placido] Polanco has quick feet at third base. Third base is a reaction kind of place. Polly definitely can do that. Polly does throw good. He is accurate. All around with the bat and everything, he’s a better player than [Pedro] Feliz. I don’t see where we’re going to get hurt there.” — Charlie Manuel, Phillies manager
I can’t argue that Polanco is an overall upgrade from Feliz. He’s not going to be as solid defensively, but as Manuel said, he’s no slouch when it comes to defense. His transition to third should not be a huge problem.
A Renewed Rivalry?
- “We’re expecting to go out there and win the National League East, go deep in the playoffs and win a World Series.” — David Wright, New York Mets.
Ever since Jimmy Rollins proclaimed the Phillies to be the “team to beat” in 2007, there has been bantering back-and-forth between the Phillies and Mets. An injury-plagued Mets ball club only won 70 games last year, and their rivalry with the Phillies fell apart towards the end of the season. While this isn’t a direct shot at the Phillies, it still adds to the rivalry.
- “Santana.” – Johan Santana
In the quote above, Santana, answered a question. However, the question wasn’t “what’s your name?” He was asked who the best pitcher in the National League East is. He simply replied with his own name.
I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to a renewed rivalry between these two teams.