March 2007

Answering an e-mail

A couple of days ago, I mentioned minor league exhibition games willtake place daily at Carpenter Field starting on March 13.  A reader
from Lewistown, PA, e-mailed seeking more information about these games.

Somewhere
around 150 players will be in the Phillies minor league camp starting
on Wednesday.  They will be assigned to rosters from each
classification, AAA, AA and two A teams.  The make-up of the rosters
can change daily. 

There will be two games per day at Carpenter Field, playing teams
from the Devil Rays, Blue Jays and Yankees organizations.  One day, the
games will feature the triple-A and double-A clubs at Carpenter, with
two A teams on the road.  The next day, that will flip flop.

All games are 1 p.m., except March 24, when the games begin at 10 a.m.  There are no games on March 25.

By the end of camp (April 2), the players will be assigned to
Ottawa, Reading, Lakewood, Clearwater and extended spring training
(players who will later play at Williamsport or the Gulf Coast League
teams, two short-season clubs).

Back in Clearwater
Freddy Garcia allowed three unearned
runs in three innings with three strikeouts as the Phillies dropped a
3-0, 7-inning “B” game this morning.  Ryan Madson and Antonio Alfonseca
each hurled two scoreless innings.

Ryan Howard spent time in the batting cage and finished his day with
a cover photo session with ESPN The Magazine.  Buster Olney is in camp
to do the story.

Sunday notes

**When you play the Yankees, it usually means a large contingent of Japanese media.  The Yankees PR department sent us the names of the media that would be traveling to Clearwater for today’s game.  The list included 24 Japanese media.  When OF Hideki Matsui and LHP Kei Igawa were not listed on the travel roster, the list dwindled to four.

**A total of 13 Venezuelan media members did apply for credentials today.  They spent most of their time doing pre-game interviews with RHP Freddy Garcia and RHP Yoel Hernandez.

**Keith Olbermann of MSNBC was a visitor.  Keith’s on his annual mini-spring training vacation and he always stops in at Bright House Networks Field.

**500 berm seats went on sale at 9 a.m. today.  Fans began lining up as early as 8 o’clock.  Standing room tickets went on sale at 12:15 p.m.  The crowd of 9,255 is the second-largest in the four-year history of Bright House Networks Field.

**OF Shane Victorino didn’t travel to Ft. Myers on Saturday.  During a morning workout at Bright House Networks Field, he was shagging fly balls with Garry Maddox, the Phillies eight-time Gold Glove outfielder.  Maddox was giving Shane top outfield tips when a fly ball came Garry’s way.  Garry drifted back a few steps, ready for a routine Garry Maddox-style catch.  The ball glanced off Garry’s glove, narrowly missing his head.  “You won a Gold Glove?,” kidded Shane.

**Monday, Freddy Garcia will pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays in a 10 a.m. “B” game at Bright House Networks Field.  Admission is free.  Since Garcia is new to the National League, Charlie Manuel opted to have him face the Blue Jays, rather than the Cincinnati Reds.  Jon Lieber will start against the Reds in Sarasota.

**Jim Salisbury reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer today that Boston RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka is on schedule to start the March 31 On-Deck Series game at Citizens Bank Park.  That’s four weeks away and is subject to change.  Stay tuned.

TV on Sunday

Second road game of the spring.  Bus left Clearwater at 7:45 a.m. for the 125-mile trip to Ft. Myers and an afternoon game against the Red Sox.

Those players who were not listed on the travel roster remained at Bright House Network Field and worked out for a couple of hours on a cloudy, chilly (60 degrees) day.

Pat Gillick and Charley Kerfield, Pat’s executive assistant, went to nearby Dunedin to scout the Devil Rays and Blue Jays.  They spent Friday night at a high school baseball game in Tampa scouting one of the top amateur players in the country.   

Dallas Green, assistant to Pat, made the trip to Ft. Myers. 

The Phillies will eventually face some roster decisions and Gillick wants as many eyes as possible to see the players. 

Meanwhile at Carpenter Complex, the Phillies minor league pitchers and catchers continued their daily drills.  Position players join the drills starting Wednesday. There will be baseball activity every day at Carpenter through March 31.  Minor league games begin March 13.  There is no admission charge.

Sunday is another home game, the first spring telecast on Comcast SportsNet.  The forecast calls for 64 degrees, sunny and windy.  Not an idea spring day. It seems to be a tradition to have a chilly day for the first telecast.  Of course to those of you back in Philly 64 is better than your 44. 

The Yankees means there will be a huge number of Japanese media invading Bright House Networks Field.   

Opener is history

The first Clearwater game was on tap on a warm, cloudy, rain-threatening afternoon.  But, the big news was the Ryan Howard contract situation as you can read elsewhere.

Ruben Amaro addressed the media about an hour prior to game time.  Ryan let everyone know he would meet the media post-game.

In the third inning, Ryan sent a drive out of Bright House Networks Field in dead center.  Yes, the wind was blowing out today but it still was a typical Howard monster shot.  I found the ball lying in a gravel driveway way behind the wall, resting about 15 feet from a body of water that supposedly contains an alligator or two.  I did my best not to get close to the water to see if I could spot a pair of eyes peeking above the water. If it is a rumor, I believe it!

After Ryan’s third at-bat, he left the game.  As is typical of him, he spent time walking along the third base stands signing autographs.  The media had been in the clubhouse interviewing Brett Myers.  They remained, waiting for Ryan.

When he finally finished the autographs, he said to Kevin Gregg, the media relations assistant, “Let’s get this debacle over.”

Ryan stood in front of his locker and answered media questions for nearly 15 minutes.  He was his typical self, thinking before speaking, courteous, honest and smiling from time to time.

Ryan is a special talent and the Phillies want to keep him in pinstripes for years to come, as we’ve said many times. 

Spring training’s opening day in Clearwater, a Ryan Howard monster home run and a win…..enough to bring goosebumps.

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