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Archive for February, 2012

Phillies Win Exhibition Opener Over FSU, 6-1

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, February 29, 2012 05:03 PM Comments: 7

If you had Hector Luna hitting the first home run of the spring for the Phillies, then you’ve won something. The well-traveled infielder slapped a 2-run jack in the Phillies 6-1 win over Florida State University.

During the game, Domonic Brown went 0-for-1, but was hit by a pitch on the same hand he broke during Spring Training last year. Brown says it’s fine. He stayed in the game a while longer and even stole a bases, so everything sounds good there.

Catcher Erik Kratz knocked in a run, as did prospect Tyson Gillies. The speedy outfielder went 1-for-2 with two runs scored. He also stole a base.

Austin Hyatt got the start and fanned three in two innings, looking sharp. Lefty Jake Diekman also looked good, striking out two and walking one.

Guys like Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, and Hunter Pence got in and out with a couple of plate appearances. Jim Thome walked and struck out in two PA’s.

Outfielder Scott Podsednik, who is vying for that 25th man spot, singled home a run.

Next up, the Grapefruit League opener on Saturday against the Yankees.

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Howard Injury Update

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, February 29, 2012 11:26 AM Comments: 1

According to Phillies head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan (*compliments of the congregation of beat writers currently in Clearwater, including Ryan Lawrence of the Delco Times), Ryan Howard has an infection in the area of the achillies where the surgery occurred. However, structurally, the achillies is sound and there is no issue. Howard will go on a series of anitbiotics to combat the infection and will sit for an unspecified period of time.

The good news is, the achillies is healing. So this should not be looked at as much of a setback other than the infection, which is normal in an area like the foot. The Phillies are not calling it a setback, either. The sutures were taken out, so the new wound will have to heal, which is why there is no timetable yet.

Progress had been made by Howard prior to the infection in the area of the surgery, so if he needs to take a week off, that’s fine. Really no sense in rushing him.

Look at this, overall, as positive news for The Big Piece.

Below is video from our good friend Ryan Lawrence of the Delco Times – check out his blog, Phollowing the Phils.

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Bowa on Current Phillies: They’re Media Friendly

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, February 29, 2012 10:46 AM Comments: 9

Former Phillies shortstop and manager Larry Bowa joined The Sports Bash with Mike Gill on 97.3 ESPN FM on Tuesday. Bowa had some strong remarks about the makeup of the current Phillies roster when comparing them to the Phillies teams of the late-70′s and early-80′s.

Bowa said that he gives the advantage to Jimmy Rollins when it comes to the two shortstops, but he did mention that if his squad had the pitching depth of the current team, they’d be unreal.

The interesting quote came when asked about the popularity of the teams. Bowa said his club had their trials and tribulations with the media, which often portrayed them in a negative light to the fan base. “If you want guys who played with a chip on their shoulder a little bit, then you want the team that we played on,” said Bowa. “But if you want guys that…wanna look good in the eyes of the media, then you probably go for this group.”

If I’m reading the tea leaves correctly, Bowa could be saying this team is soft compared to the group he played with. Is he right or wrong? Interesting debate. Either way, it’s a great interview.

LISTEN TO INTERVIEW WITH LARRY BOWA

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Hyatt Set to Kick Off 2012 For Phils

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, February 29, 2012 08:10 AM Comments: 0

As exhilarating as finding out you’re starting the first game of the preseason schedule might sound, there was nothing overly dramatic about the way Austin Hyatt learned he’d be the guy who gets the 2012 campaign rolling for the Phillies on Wednesday afternoon in Clearwater, FL. The right-hander found out he would be pitching in Philadelphia’s exhibition opener against the Florida State Seminoles via a list posted on the clubhouse wall. It was just another day of work for the 25-year-old Hyatt.

Hyatt, an Eastern League All-Star last year, is excited to get a brand new season of Phillies baseball rolling. Expected to throw 2 innings, followed by a lengthy list of other pitchers that includes lefties Jake Diekman, Jeremy Horst, and Joe Savery along with right-handers J.C. Ramirez, Phillippe Aumont and B.J. Rosenberg, Hyatt expressed his high level of enthusiasm for the outing, despite the dull manner in which he discovered he’d be making the start.

“It’s an honor to start that game and launch a new year,” Hyatt said in a phone interview this week. “I’m looking forward to it. It’s exciting. I haven’t pitched on the Brighthouse Field, there, since I was in the Florida State League a couple years back, so it’ll be fun to get back on that mound.” Continue reading Hyatt Set to Kick Off 2012 For Phils

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Clearwater Notes: Tomorrow’s Line-Up, Big Piece on Twitter

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, February 28, 2012 06:04 PM Comments: 29

Hunter Pence will hit clean-up for the Phils tomorrow. (AP)

PHILLIES PREPARE FOR FLORIDA STATE

The following information comes from a variety of outlets, including our friends David Hale and Todd Zolecki.

The Phillies announced their line-up for tomorrow’s exhibition against Florida State University. It is as follows:

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Juan Pierre, DH
3. Shane Victorino, CF
4. Hunter Pence, RF
5. Ty Wigginton, 3B
6. Domonic Brown, LF
7. John Mayberry Jr., 1B
8. Michael Martinez, 2B
9. Tuffy Gosewisch, C

Of note: Mayberry will be at first with Wigginton at third; Zolecki says the absence of Polanco at third is part of Manuel’s plan to routinely rest Polanco and Chase Utley during the spring. Similarly, Gosewisch behind the dish is to reduce wear and tear on Ruiz and Schneider. Brown in left and Pierre at DH signal that the Phillies are interested in seeing what each left-handed outfielder can do.

Continue reading Clearwater Notes: Tomorrow’s Line-Up, Big Piece on Twitter

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Prospect Nation 2012: #6 RHP Brody Colvin

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, February 28, 2012 10:39 AM Comments: 0

Right-handed pitcher Brody Colvin had a rather difficult time with Class A Advanced Clearwater in 2011 after making things looks easy with Class A Lakewood the previous year. After cruising through the South Atlantic League to the tune of a 6-8 record with a 3.39 ERA in 27 starts, Colvin’s output took a dive with a 3-8 record and a 4.71 ERA in 22 games (21 starts) against Florida State League competition in 2010.

While Colvin’s overall stats with Lakewood don’t scream for attention, he allowed 0 or 1 runs in 11 different starts in which he did not earn a win during the 2010 season, so it’s clear that Colvin’s lack of offensive support certainly impacted his win-loss record that year.

As a member of the Clearwater Threshers’ staff, Colvin was sidelined in the early going and spent time on the disabled list with a back injury. With some lasting effects of his ailment throughout the season, the St. Thomas More High School (LA) product had a difficult time feeling comfortable on the mound at times and served up a .289 batting average against and posted a 6.02 K/9 average, which were both considerable drop-offs from his previous season’s stats (.258 BAA, 7.82 K/9). Continue reading Prospect Nation 2012: #6 RHP Brody Colvin

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Clearwater Update: Contreras Making Real Progress

Posted by Corey Seidman, Mon, February 27, 2012 09:51 PM Comments: 4

Jose Contreras may be ready for Opening Day after season-ending elbow surgery in 2011.

It seemed that every time Jose Contreras’s name was mentioned last summer, it preceded the word “setback.” That he arrived in Clearwater last week feeling good and has taken legitimate steps toward recovering from a balky elbow has been an extremely pleasant surprise for the Phillies, who suddenly have a wealth of late-inning relief options.

Contreras threw again Monday after two days of rest and signs were positive enough that there is now a chance he could be ready for Opening Day. When asked about Big Truck, Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said “He’s where we hoped he’d be at, that’s always good to see.”

What does a healthy Contreras mean?

Well, should Contreras make the Phils’ Opening Day 25-man roster, he, Chad Qualls and Antonio Bastardo figure to fight for a setup role that would probably be best served going to the hottest hand or the best matchup.

A side effect of Contreras being ready for April 5 in Pittsburgh would be fierce competition for the final bullpen spot among the Phillies’ plethora of young relievers. Prior to the ink drying on Qualls’ one-year deal, it looked as though Michael Stutes and Justin De Fratus were locks for the Opening Day roster and Michael Schwimer, Phillippe Aumont, Joel Pineiro and David Herndon would compete for the 12th spot on the pitching staff.

With Contreras healthy, Stutes, De Fratus, Schwimer, Aumont, Pineiro and Herndon would all be competing for one spot. All of this assumes the Phillies begin the season with 13 position players and 12 pitchers.

Though Contreras’s presence might stunt the short-term growth of the Phils’ young arms, this isn’t a Danys Baez-type of situation where an older, lesser option is being given a roster spot simply because of his price tag. Contreras is due $2.5 million in 2012 and either $2.5 million in 2013 or a $500,000 buyout, but when healthy he has been worth every penny.

In 2010, Contreras struck out almost four times as many batters as he walked, limited the opposition to a .249 batting average and induced a swing-and-miss on 10.5 percent of his pitches. Those were elite numbers that appeared to carry over into 2011 until elbow problems took miles per hour off Contreras’ fastball and messed with his previously pinpoint control.

Contreras’s presence at the back-end of the bullpen wasn’t something many Phillies fans were expecting in 2012, and too often since 2009 have Phillies injury updates been negative. It’s nice to get a positive report every once in a while.

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Writer’s Roundtable: Spring Training Excitement

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, February 27, 2012 08:54 AM Comments: 19

How close is Dom Brown to the major league roster?

As Spring Training is underway in Clearwater, we here at Phillies Nation have gotten together to answer the tough questions.

Well, today’s tough question is: What are you looking forward to seeing most during Spring Training?

Each of our contributors have given their thoughts. See if yours matches.

JON NISULA – The pitching staff:

What intrigues me most heading into spring training is how the pitching staff will be rounded out. We all know that Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels will be the top three pitchers in the rotation, and that new acquisition Jonathan Papelbon will take over Ryan Madson‘s old role as closer.

But what about the rest? We can probably assume that Vance Worley will be the 4th starter and that Antonio Bastardo will be a set up man for Papelbon, but neither of those things are set in stone nearly as much as the Aces and the Closer.

Continue reading Writer’s Roundtable: Spring Training Excitement

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Week In Review – Baseball is Back

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sun, February 26, 2012 05:01 PM Comments: 3

Ok, it’s already been a wild and crazy week from Clearwater.  Everyone’s back and working out.  Some minor injuries have already popped up and continuous talks about Chase Utley‘s health and Ryan Howard‘s achilles will, well, continue.

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. spoke to the media on Friday about Cliff Lee, Jose Contreras and Justin De Fratus nursing some ailments.  Lee had soreness in his midsection but threw again today with no pain.  Contreras is coming off a season with elbow issues but looked good throwing and the staff seem very optimistic.  De Fratus looks to be out a week with his own version of elbow soreness.

Most of the big names reporting to camp this past week spoke to the media to address health issues and strategies for the upcoming season.  Some important topics were Utley’s knee and Charlie Manuel’s opinion on what he should get out of Jimmy Rollins this season.

Continue reading Week In Review – Baseball is Back

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The J-Bone Zone, Vol. 2: Health, Friendships, Valle & Competition

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, February 26, 2012 03:10 PM Comments: 0

Righty hurler Justin De Fratus, known to his brother Steven and those close to him as “J-Bone”, joins us live and direct, once again, from Clearwater, FL to offer his thoughts from inside Phillies spring training.

The 24-year-old reliever went 6-3 with 15 saves, a 2.99 ERA and 99 strike outs in 75 1/3 innings in his time with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley last year before making his Major League debut in September and holding opponents to a .083 batting average in 5 appearances. Heading forward, De Fratus, an 11th round draft choice in 2007, hopes to be an impact contributor in the Phillies bullpen for years to come.

In the latest edition of The J-Bone Zone, Justin discusses sharing the big league spring training experience with close friends, the Phillies additions of veterans who might present a roadblock for younger prospects and plenty more. Read on for exclusive insider content direct from Florida.

On his ailing elbow that has him sidelined from throwing in the early going and how he’s keeping active…

My elbow is still a little sore and we’re really just trying to play it on the safe side right now. We just want to take it slow and really make sure that it’s ready to go. We don’t feel that it’s anything serious and there’s no reason to rush it right now being that it’s February. Trying to catch something before it gets too bad. Continue reading The J-Bone Zone, Vol. 2: Health, Friendships, Valle & Competition

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