Play ball. That’s finally what’s in store now for Ryan Howard and the Phillies. The arbitration panel made a decision and for the last time Ryan and Ruben Amaro fielded contract questions along those lines today.
Ruben answered media questions around 9:30 a.m. after we received the news. Ryan met the media following the workout. He was seated on a picnic table outside the batting cages at Bright House Field, surrounded by 23 media types plus seven TV cameras.
There was so much media focus on the contact and hearing . . . how distasteful, disruptive, distracting, damaging . . . on and on and on. The hearing wasn’t ugly and a decision was made. We’ve always tried to reach settlement as witnessed by the fact yesterday’s hearing was the second in the last 12 years for us.
Arbitration is simply a collectively bargained element designed to resolve salary disputes and it has been around for over 30 years.
While today’s schedule was similar to yesterdays, the morning was a bit different as it was MLB photo day. Every big league camp has such an event.
There were 13 photography stations set up in two batting cages and outside the cages: Phillies, Associated Press, MLB, ESPN TV, Baseball Digest, Topps Chewing Gum, Photo File, Getty Images, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Baseball Magazine (Japan), Delaware County Times and Baseball America.
We began parading players through the stations at 7:45 a.m. and were finished at 9:30. We had to provide the pinstripe jerseys and an-season cap as opposed to the uniforms worn in spring training.
30 years ago photo day involved the AP, United Press International and Topps photographers.
On March 4, we will have a small photo day ersion in the minor league camp, small in the number of stations. But, bigger in another way…150 players to photograph.
LHP Matt Smith underwent Tommy John surgery last July 3 on his pitching elbow. It generally takes a year before a pitcher can pitch again.
Rehab is a long, tedious process, one that can’t be rushed. When the other 61 players take to the field, Smith heads for the weight room. “It stinks,” he said wiping sweat from his forehead. “But, it comes with the job and I’ve got to do this so I can get back on the mound.”