It has been one of those weeks for the Phillies.
While the pitching and offense are getting into the swing of things playing games and working out the kinks, Chase Utley is sitting on the outside watching his teammates play. Originally diagnosed with patellar tendinitis as Spring Training started; the Phillies training staff were hopeful that cortisone shots and surgery were not necessary. Unfortunately the pain has continued for Utley and he was given his first cortisone injection on Friday from team physician Michael Ciccotti.
The Phillies, and Utley, hope to get him out there for at least 10 games before the season kicks off April 1 in Philly. ”There’s times [in Spring Training] when I’ve felt great after 15 at-bats. There’s times where I haven’t felt great after 50 at-bats. Obviously I want to get out there as soon as possible, but we also have to look at the big picture as well,” Utley said.
So as Phillies fans were sitting and waiting to see what will happen with Utley, we were devastated to hear that Domonic Brown broke his right hand during a game Saturday. According to almost every beat writer his surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, March 8th. Time table for an injury like this is 3-6 weeks. However, Paul Boye pointed out a interesting stat from Rob Neyer. In his column, Neyer wrote that it could take 12-18 months to fully regain power.
Enter Ben Francisco. Ruben Amaro Jr. has gone on record to say the right field job is still up for grabs. With the way BenFran has been hitting (8G .364/2Hr/6RBI) you have to think it is his job to lose. Wilson Valdez showed the other day that he can play outfield too, so look for him on the depth chart come Opening Day. He could prove very valuable to this Phillies team.
The Grapefruit League is in full swing. The Phillies are looking good. Cole Hamels seems to be in mid season form and Joe Blanton is doing his best to prove he is more than a fifth starter. Roy Halladay and Hamels haven’t allowed a run in 11 innings. Combined with Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Blanton, the rotation has only allowed five runs in 25 and 2/3 innings while striking out 22.
Ryan Howard hit his first and second home runs of the Spring this week, and that guy Valdez had two three-hit games and is hitting a scorching .533 (8-15) thus far. Brian Schnieder and Matt Rizzotti each hit one out this week as well. Overall the Phillies, both hitting and pitching, are looking very good.
As the season gets closer to start, the tickets are getting scarce. It seems impossible that the streak of consecutive sellouts will be broken. With that in mind, Phillies Nation is once getting inviting you along for a road trip. And lots of them! Check out when we’re packing up and shipping out to watch our beloved Phillies on the road. We have 10 trips planned this season up and down the East Coast, on the West Coast and even a visit to the Pacific Northwest.
The Phillies are 5-5 this Spring and will take on the Yankees and Orioles twice this week. They will also play Detroit and Tampa Bay.