Archive for March, 2012

Phillies Fall to Jays; Contreras to DL?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sat, March 31, 2012 07:14 PM Comments: 7

Blanco was signed for some depth (District Sports Page)

Roy Halladay threw 45 pitches today before a rain delay sent him to the showers for the day in the Blue Jays 8-5 win over the Phillies. Hector Luna played second base and continued his tear, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. John Mayberry finally hit his first home run of the spring.

As you know, Halladay will start the regular season in Pittsburgh on Thursday. This was his final warmup before the real games begin.

Carlos Ruiz went 2-for-4, as well, upping his ridiculous spring average to .512. He’s clearly in midseason form and that rest to start spring training looks to be paying dividends.


-Jose Contreras and Mike Stutes seem destined to start the year on the DL, although from reports, it doesn’t seem like a long stay for either. Contreras is still building arm strength after getting a late start this spring. Stutes has suffered from shoulder soreness. If neither can be on the roster for opening day, look for David Herndon, Joe Savery, or Raul Valdez to take up those two spots.

-The Phillies signed Andres Blanco for some infield depth. He played last year with the Washington Nationals, but will begin the season at Triple-A.


Spring Training Gameday: Blue Jays v. Phillies

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sat, March 31, 2012 12:30 PM Comments: 12

Time: 1:05 pm, Bright House Field – Clearwater, FL
Weather: 30% Chance of Rain, 77
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The Phils play their last Spring home game of 2012 at Bright House Field as Doc matches up against his former team, the Toronto Blue Jays. The biggest surprise of today’s line-up is the inclusion of Hector Luna at second. Luna last played second base in 2010 with the Marlins, spending just 3 innings of one game there. He’s got 708.1 career innings there, or about 78 games worth, but none in between those three innings in 2010 and his time as a regular with the 2006 Cardinals. The most interesting story of this Spring may not be Luna’s surprising play but rather Charlie Manuel’s unbelievable recollection of his career statistics as detailed by David Hale.

Two of the remaining lefties will throw today out of the ‘pen in addition to David Herndon. Meanwhile, the line-up seems to give some clues as to what the Phillies will use during the regular season.

Phillies Lineup:

1. Shane Victorino, CF
2. Placido Polanco, 3B
3. Jimmy Rollins, DH
4. Hunter Pence, RF
5. Ty Wigginton, 1B
6. John Mayberry Jr., LF
7. Hector Luna, 2B
8. Carlos Ruiz, C
9. Freddy Galvis, SS

Phillies Pitchers:
RHP Roy Halladay
RHP David Herndon
LHP Antonio Bastardo
LHP Raul Valdes


Spring Training Check In: Hollands, Knigge, Hernandez

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, March 31, 2012 11:20 AM Comments: 0

As spring training approaches its end, I have had the opportunity recently to speak with a few Phillies prospects to talk about their status and how the exhibition season has been going.  A trio of hurlers took time to speak on various subject and those pitchers are Mario Hollands, Tyler Knigge and Nick Hernandez.

Leading off is last year’s opening day starter for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, Mario Hollands.  The left-hander, was selected in the 10th round of the 2010 draft.  Last season, with the BlueClaws, Hollands posted a 6-6 record with a 4.24 ERA in 28 games.  Hollands improved his efforts after a switch to the bullpen.  Read ahead to learn what Mario told PhilliesNation writer Jay Floyd about the dreaded spring training “walk of death” and plenty more.

JF: How would you assess spring training to date? What have you taken from these past few weeks?

MH: I’m really happy it’s almost over. It’s a long road for everyone. But besides that, with all the changes in personnel, I’m happy to come out with a job.

And I’ve been able to work on different pitches and just being able to improve them. Fine tuning some pitches before the season starts….just the little things that I’m able to work on each day has really helped out.

JF: You mentioned being happy to still have your job. With guys who seemed to have a firm lock on their spot, like Eric Pettis, getting cut, it really seems like almost anyone could go at any time. I spoke with Brian Gump, a player that was released last week by the Phillies, and he described entering the facilities each day as “a walk of death”, as guys are unsure if they’ll be requested to go talk with the brass and receive bad news. How stressful is it for players to walk into that on a daily basis?

MH: That “walk of death”, as Gump called it, is easily the scariest thing I’ve ever faced, or anything I’ve come across. It’s so intimidating and the walk is so far and you can see (the coaches) ahead of you and for 45 second (as you walk), you don’t know if they’re going to ask you to come off to the side or if you’re going to get to just keep walking by them. It’s absolutely terrifying. I’d have to say that applies for everyone. From first rounders to recently drafted kids, it’s the worst thing. It just makes for a horrible morning. It actually just turns into horrible days because (when guys are cut), you have to say your goodbyes to all these guys that you might not see again maybe, ever, or for a long time. It’s just a horrible time of the year and I think…there’s still one more cut and everyone’s just dreading that morning. Continue reading Spring Training Check In: Hollands, Knigge, Hernandez


A Fan’s Take: Leaving Clearwater

Posted by Nick McIlwain, Sat, March 31, 2012 09:07 AM Comments: 5

(This post was written by Phillies Nation contributor Nick McIlwain, of 93.3 WMMR in Philadelphia. He’s part of the Preston and Steve show. Check them out Monday through Friday from 5:30-10 am.)


Leaving Clearwater is tough to do.

I’m flying back from Clearwater, leaving the 80 degree sunny weather and for some inexplicable reason, returning to Philly in March.  As I sit in 21A, looking out the left side of the plane, I can see the complex at Bright House, empty today after 3 games in the 3 days.

I saw a tie on Sunday, 3-3 against the Orioles, then a bad loss to the Red Sox on Monday, and a win in walk-off fashion yesterday, with newcomer Scott Podsednik crushing a ball to right to give the Phils a 5-4 win over the Pirates.  The Pirates rallied for 4 runs in the 8th to spoil a gem by Cliff Lee, but after Antonio Bastardo and Michael Stutes struggled in the 8th, Jonathan Papelbon looked commanding in the 9th and Podsednik won it in the bottom frame.

A couple highlights worth noting: Jim Thome looked like, well, Jim Thome.  I missed seeing that sweet left-handed swing in a Phillies uniform.  Who knows what kind of production we’ll get out of him this season, but he’s certainly a fan favorite, having received a number of ovations.  With injuries leading to the obvious holes on the right side of the infield, he’ll probably get more playing time than originally expected.  So is 15 to 20 HR with 50 to 60 RBI too much to ask?  Or hope for?  Perhaps he’ll end his career making Uncle Charlie proud all over again.

Continue reading A Fan’s Take: Leaving Clearwater


South Jersey’s Rice and Others Released by Phils

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, March 30, 2012 10:53 PM Comments: 3

On the heels of a string of cuts this week, the Phillies released three more players from minor league camp on Friday, including outfielders Bill Rice (pictured) and Brent Clevlen as well as catcher Jeff Lanning.

Rice, a native of Sewell, NJ, was signed by the Phillies following a tryout at Lakewood’s FirstEnergy Park in June, 2010. Always a standout at every amateur level he has played, Rice’s lifelong dream of competing as a professional was achieved when the team he grew up cheering for offered him a contract.

Last year, in 46 combined games with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies and the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, the 5-foot-11-inch 185-pounder sported a .296 batting average with 1 HR, 13 RBI and 10 stolen bases.

After watching several teammates receive similar news in recent weeks, the lefty hitting speedster was stunned to learn he was being released early Friday.

Speaking exclusively with PhilliesNation.com’s Jay Floyd, Rice expressed his greatest appreciation for the Philadelphia organization.

“The Phillies helped me out in so many ways, in the game of baseball and life as well,” Rice said. “I’ve learned so much these past couple years and have all of my coaches and people in the organization to thank for that, along with the chance to do what I love and getting a shot at professional baseball.”

With no plans on giving up on continuing to live his dream, the 23-year-old Rice feels his pro career is nowhere near finished.

“I feel they made a mistake in releasing me but it is a business and I can’t hold that against them. I wish all the guys in the organization much success, but I do plan to take this opportunity to prove them wrong,” Rice stated. Continue reading South Jersey’s Rice and Others Released by Phils


Spring Training Gameday: Yankees v. Phillies

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Fri, March 30, 2012 06:00 PM Comments: 31

Time: 7:05 pm, Legends Field – Tampa, FL
Weather: 20% Chance of Thunder Storms, 75
TV: MLB Network
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The Phils are down to 29 healthy players in camp as they enter the final full week of Spring Training. Juan Pierre leads off in left field while Freddy Galvis returns to the line-up. Mike Stutes was supposed to throw today but instead will sit-out with shoulder stiffness. Antonio Bastardo will start today’s game and is also scheduled to throw tomorrow. If there are any lingering concerns about Bastardo, they will be answered by tomorrow afternoon at the latest.

Phillies Lineup:

1. Juan Pierre, LF
2. Shane Victorino, CF
3. Jimmy Rollins, SS
4. Jim Thome, DH
5. Hunter Pence, RF
6. Placido Polanco, 3B
7. Ty Wigginton, 3B
8. Carlos Ruiz, C
9. Freddy Galvis, 2B

Phillies Pitchers:
LHP Antonio Bastardo
RHP Jonathan Papelbon
RHP Chad Qualls
RHP Kyle Kendrick


Phillies Trade Rizzotti to Minnesota for Cash

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, March 30, 2012 10:29 AM Comments: 37

For several years, you hoped to see Matt Rizzotti finally take the field in pinstripes. It never happened and now Rizzotti is on his way out of the organization.

Jeff Schuler from the Morning Call in Allentown was the first to tweet that Rizzotti was dealt to the Minnesota Twins. Todd Zolecki tweets the Phillies will receive Cash Considerations in return for the 26-year-old first baseman.

In 5 seasons with the Phillies organization, Rizzotti smacked 66 home runs and knocked in 300 runs while hitting a very respectable .292 and posting an .870 OPS. But he could not crack the top level due to Ryan Howard at first base and his defense liabilities. Last year at Reading, Rizzotti hit 24 home runs and knocked in 84 in 139 games.

Hopefully he’ll get an opportunity to see some action with the Twins soon, either as a 1B or DH. Unfortunately, he just did not fit in the plans in Philly.


Why The Phillies Are Better Off Being Lucky v. Good

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Fri, March 30, 2012 08:00 AM Comments: 16

Best case scenario? Cole Hamels and the Phillies are lucky in addition to being good in 2012. Photo by: Ian Riccaboni

If you recognize the name Andy Martino, you either remember his brief time as a Phillies beat reporter in 2009 or you are a Mets fan who knows him from his work as the New York Daily News’  Mets lead. If you didn’t know the name before just now? You will know him for passing along this gem from an unnamed NL scout: “Other than those three pitchers, they’re not very good.”

If I were the Phillies in 2012, I would put one quote on the bulletin board.

Disregarding Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels is bad. In its own right is like saying Hulk Hogan is nothing without his 24 inch pythons, melting hotdog-colored skin, and unlimited charisma, the Ramones were nothing without Joey, Johnny, and Deedee, or that a banana split is nothing without bananas, gooey toppings, and vanilla ice cream. After all, nobody wants just steroids, or just fill in musicians, or just a pile of nuts and whipped cream. The situation beyond Halladay, Lee, and Hamels is not quite as the mysterious unnamed scout would have you believe. The trio is good enough to win a World Series almost on their own merit. But in recent history, it is often better to be lucky than good.

Continue reading Why The Phillies Are Better Off Being Lucky v. Good


Luna Wins it vs Rays; Pierre Contract Picked Up

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, March 29, 2012 04:54 PM Comments: 14

Juan Pierre is in.

Let’s start with the big news: Juan Pierre is on the 40-man roster, officially, according to the Phillies (thanks to the beats down in Clearwater).

Pierre being on the club does not preclude Scott Podsenik from being on the roster, as well. Phillies GM Benny Looper told us on 97.3 ESPN FM just minutes ago that both men could be on the team on opening day depending on certain injuries and if they will take 11 or 12 pitchers.

Lou Montanez and Tuffy Gosewich have been told they will not make the squad, according to Todd Zolecki of mlb.com.

Two guys are still in play: Hector Luna and Pete Orr. Luna finished off the Rays with a bases loaded, walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Phillies a 2-1 win. That’s after Luna played an entire minor league game. After the conclusion of that game, he made his way over to the main field and smacked a game-winner. Gotta love that.

Luna has impressed with some big hits during spring training, as well as the ability to play multiple positions. That could come in handy.

Pete Orr is also still on the radar. The guy is hanging on and has an outside shot as being the utility-man that the team currently lacks.

According to Mandy Housenick of the Allentown Morning-Call, Mike Stutes is not traveling north with Phillies. The reliever will stay in Florida to pitch in a minor league game if he’s able to. Ruben Amaro gave the media that news today after Stutes complained of some shoulder stiffness.

Keep an eye on the last few roster spots which will include Stutes, Luna, Orr, Joe Savery, David Herndon, and more.


Spring Training Gameday: Rays v. Phillies

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Thu, March 29, 2012 12:30 PM Comments: 4

Time: 1:05 pm, Brighthouse Field – Clearwater, FL
Weather: Clear Skies, 81
TV: The Comcast Network, ESPN, MLB Network, MLB.tv
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The Phils and Rays lock up today in an ESPN feature match-up. Freddy Galvis is still day-to-day with a bruised foot. Chad Qualls and Jonathan Papelbon are scheduled to throw on back to back days for the first time this Spring today and tomorrow. Jimmy Rollins is a healthy scratch today on a scheduled day off.

Erik Kratz and Tim Kennelly were optioned minor league camp today. Kratz, .409/.409/.682 in 22 ABs, was having a solid Spring but the expectation all along was for Kratz to be the Iron Pigs’ catcher and solid insurance if Chooch or Brian Schneider face injury. Kennelly, .167/.167/.167 in 6 ABs, is a 25 year old Australian first baseman who has hit well for Lakewood but hasn’t had much opportunity in the higher levels.

Phillies Lineup:

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS Pete Orr, SS
2. Placido Polanco, 3B
3. Hunter Pence, RF
4. Jim Thome, 1B
5.  Shane Victorino, CF
6. Laynce Nix, LF
7. Pete Orr, 2B Ty Wigginton, 2B
8. Brian Schneider, C
9. Cole Hamels, P

Phillies Pitchers:
LHP Cole Hamels
RHP Jonathan Papelbon
RHP Chad Qualls
LHP Joe Savery

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