2011 Spring Training

Odds and Ends: Cuts, Lidge, Franzke, Castillo

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, March 18, 2011 09:15 AM Comments: 2

Stutes wowed some people with a strong showing in Clearwater. (PHOTO: AP)

Michael Stutes, who impressed the Phillies so much that they kept him around through the first round of cuts, was sent down to the minor league camp this morning along with Vance Worley, INF Jeff Larish, SS Freddy Galvis, OF Brandon Moss, LHP Dan Meyer and LHP Juan Perez.

Stutes was always a long shot to make the club when camp breaks later this month, but he did open some eyes with a very consistent showing. He may now be the first call up from the minors should an injury occur this season.

Worley is likely to be a starter with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and I know for a fact the Phillies brass really likes this kid. He has to the potential to be a part of any rotation in the big leagues, although he’s currently blocked in Philly.

Galvis has had a so-so spring thus far. He only hit .240 with the big club while committing two errors in 12 appearances at shortstop. For Galvis, it all comes down to being able to hit for average, something he’s been unable to do at the lower levels.

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Spring Gameday: Blue Jays vs. Phillies

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, March 17, 2011 11:38 AM Comments: 3

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Philadelphia Phillies

Jo-Jo Reyes vs. Cliff Lee

Time: 1:05 pm, Clearwater, FL
Weather: Sunny, 80
Audio: Phillies.com

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Polanco Sore After Phillies Win

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, March 15, 2011 05:14 PM Comments: 7

Placido Polanco is dealing with a hyperextended left elbow he suffered early in today’s game against the Blue Jays – a 13-7 win for the Phillies. Polanco said after he was pulled that it was nothing serious. Polly told the media down in Dunedin:

“it’s right where I had the surgery, but it’s nothing bad. I’ve had it before. I’ve had it a million times. But the fact that I had surgery in that elbow, we’re being very safe. We’re going to play it safe and see how it feels tomorrow and then the next day, a day at a time.”

The Phils third baseman seems genuine about the injury, although the Phillies PR team whistled a different tune before Polanco spoke. They said it had nothing to do with the area that was surgically repaired in the offseason, but after exiting, Polanco said it was the same spot. Who is telling the truth?

Was this an attempt at a PR cover up? Can anyone find the Zapruder film?

We all want to believe Polanco, we really do (and I say “we” here because “we” all have been duped recently). It’s yet another chink in the armor for this Phillies club already dealing with the uncertainty surrounding Chase Utley, and now, Brad Lidge.


In some better news, the Phillies score 13 runs, with a handful coming from Major League pitcher Jesse Litsch. The offense as a whole looks damn good right now, which means absolutely nothing to some, and a little more to others. Obviously, you want your offense to look good rather than bad, so it’s certainly a positive sign.

Ben Francisco launched his fifth bomb of the spring – he is locked in right now. And any power from Raul’s bat is welcomed.


Spring Gameday: Phillies vs. Blue Jays

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, March 15, 2011 11:40 AM Comments: 10

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Toronto Blue Jays

Joe Blanton vs. Jesse Litsch

Time: 1:05 pm, Dunedin, FL
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 80
Audio: Phillies.com

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Barfield Looking to Return to Big Leagues

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, March 14, 2011 08:28 AM Comments: 10

At first, it was easy for Josh Barfield. Son of a big leaguer, a breeze through the minors, and an excellent first year in the majors made it seem as though stardom was within reach.

Barfield came into the league a highly touted prospect with the San Diego Padres organization. The progeny of former masher Jesse Barfield, Josh was a fourth round pick in the 2001 draft and was named the number one prospect for the Padres by Baseball America in both 2004 and 2005. He lived up to the high draft position and hype with a solid rookie season.

Can Josh Barfield make the Phillies with a solid spring? (PHOTO: AP)

In 2006, Barfield hit .280 with 21 steals and 13 home runs, flashing a nice display of speed and power, with the ability to hit for average. After a fine rookie campaign with the Padres, Barfield was dealt to the Cleveland Indians for another highly ranked prospect; third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff.

The deal proved to be a career-changing move for Barfield as he struggled mightily in Cleveland. In ’07, he began the year as the lead dog at second base, but lost his starting position to Asdrubal Cabrera. He never regained it.

After spending most of 2008 and 2009 at Triple-A Buffalo, Barfield went back to the Padres last year, but did not stick.

He now finds himself in an unusual situation. With a utility role potentially up for grabs at the major league level (at least for the time being with Chase Utley sidelined) Barfield is trying to prove he belongs.

“Barfield has definitely hit,” Manager Charlie Manuel said today, after his latest solid performance.  “He’s caught my eye some.”

Manuel also thinks Barfield may have been caught in a rough situation with two underachieving organizations. When you’re on a losing team, and things go bad, they look for something to do. They’ll start trying things,” He said. “A lot of times, that’s why they stay under .500 for a long time.”

With competition like Delwyn Young also standing out, Barfield is behind the eight ball. The old adage is you can never have too much pitching, but we’re starting to learn that you can never have too many working infielders – last year taught us that, this spring reaffirms it.

On Sunday, Barfield started at third base against the Twins in Ft. Myers and batted at the top of the order. Once again, he did not disappoint, going 2-for-4 with a double, a run, and an RBI. He’s now 9-for-19 this spring at the plate, while playing solid defense at second base, and today, third base.

“I came in and feel good. I’m having good at-bats,” said Barfield.  “Hopefully I can carry that on through the rest of the spring.”

Odds are, Barfield will start the season in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, if anywhere. But he’s certainly making the Phillies decision-makers think about it.


Phillies Take Down Twins

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, March 13, 2011 04:09 PM Comments: 4

The Phillies got three solid innings from Michael Stutes in the 6-3 win over the Minnesota Twins in Ft. Myers today. Stutes did not give up a hit and struck out one while walking one.

-Danys Baez got the win and pitched another hitless inning he hasn’t given up a run all spring.

-Delwyn Young continues his hot hitting, smacking a three-run home run. He looks to be in the lead for the final bench spot.

-Josh Barfield also continues to rake. He went 2-for-4 and is not 9-for-19 this spring. Barfield led off and played third base.

-Wilson Valdez haters, sorry: He went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI and is hitting .517 this spring. The super utility player is at it again.


Spring Gameday: Rays vs. Phillies

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sat, March 12, 2011 11:22 AM Comments: 3

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Philadelphia Phillies

Kyle Kendrick

Time: 1:05 pm, Bright House Field
Weather: Sunny, 75
Audio: mlb.com

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Bats Come Alive in Win Over Orioles

Posted by Michael Baumann, Fri, March 11, 2011 04:07 PM Comments: 7

Ordinarily, one would expect a team that scores 13 runs in a game to get more than one walk, but the Phillies made the most of their opportunities in a 13-6 shellacking of the Baltimore Orioles. The Phils put up 14 hits, nine of them for extra bases, including four home runs, and in a true total team effort, those nine extra-base hits came off the bats of eight different players. The Phillies were a combined 4-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left only two men on. The result, a 13-6 win for La Furia Roja.

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Amaro Signs 4-Year Extension

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, March 11, 2011 12:03 PM Comments: 14


Amaro says he's signing an extension, too. (Photo: SI.com)

According to John Finger of CSNPhilly.com, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is nearing a contract extension with the team. This comes just a day after the club officially announced the signing of manager Charlie Manuel for two more seasons.

Finger says Amaro has told people that it’s a done deal.

Opinions vary when it comes to the job Amaro has done with the Phillies. While he’s facilitated some unbelievable trades and acquisition (Halladay, Lee) he’s also made some interesting or not-so-incredible moves (Ibanez three-year deal, Howard extension).

The GM’s public persona has also come into question. Many see Amaro as smug or condescending in nature, which sort of hurts his appearance. Being around Amaro for a short amount of time, however, and you’ll see he’s a very well spoken, matter-of-fact person who likes to keep information close to the vest.

Whether you like him or you don’t, he’ll be sticking around in Philly a while longer – which is something he has undoubtedly earned.

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Spring Gameday: Phillies at Orioles

Posted by Michael Baumann, Fri, March 11, 2011 10:53 AM Comments: 1

Philadelphia Phillies vs Baltimore Orioles

Time: 1:05 pm, Ed Smith Stadium
Weather: Sunny, 65
Audio: mlb.com

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The Phillies attempt to avenge their 1983 World Series loss in Sarasota, Florida, this afternoon. Your lineup:
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