March 2008

Blog On Hold

Phillies Insider is in a holding pattern.  Hopefully, it will be resumed the week of April 7. 

Thank you for your patience.

Outta Here!

Sign01_3

Lehigh Valley here we come.

While the Phillies are at home in Citizens Bank Park for games tonight and tomorrow afternoon, four Phillies minor league teams are wrapping up spring training at Carpenter Field.

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs fly north tomorrow and host the Phillies in the first game ever at Coca-Cola Field built in east Allentown.  Game time on Sunday is 2:05.  Jimmy Rollins will be the first batter in the history of the park.  Rest assured, he won’t be the final hitter.  Game can be seen in the Philly area on CW Philly and heard on radio on WPHT 1210 AM and this website.

The Reading Phillies and Lakewood BlueClaws head north on Monday.  The Clearwater Threshers move from Carpenter to Bright House Field on Sunday afternoon.  That journey is about 450 feet.

Somewhere around 50-55 players will remain at Carpenter Field as “extended spring training.”  They will play games against other neighboring minor league extended spring camps starting on April 4.  In June, the Phillies two other minor league clubs begin a short season, Williamsport Crosscutters and the Gulf Coast Phillies, who will play their games at Carpenter Field.  Signees from the June draft and players in the extended spring training camp will be assigned to Williamsport or Gulf Coast.

Lehigh Valley, Reading, Lakewood and Clearwater start their respective leagues on April 3; Williamsport, June 17 and Gulf Coast, June 19.

Elsewhere
Brad Lidge, Scott Mathieson, Francisco Rosario and Mike Zagurski, who are on the disabled list and rehabbing at Bright House Field, worked out in the weight room this morning.  Lidge is scheduled to pitch in a minor league AAA game tomorrow morning at Carpenter Field.  We’ll post a report on Lidge’s outing after the 11 a.m. game.

Heading North

Empty.  That’s what the Phillies clubhouse at Bright House Field looks like today.

The team left this morning via buses for an afternoon game in Lakeland against the Tigers, their last Florida game for the spring. At 2 this afternoon, another bus departed Clearwater for Lakeland.  This one accommodated family and club personnel. The Phillies will take a charter flight out of Lakewood after the game and head north for home.

On-Deck Series games against the Blue Jays are on the schedule for the next two days.  Then, the first game in Lehigh Valley’s Coca-Cola Park on Sunday afternoon wraps up the pre-season schedule. All three games can be heard on this website; TV for Saturday afternoon (Comcast SportsNet) and Sunday afternoon (CW Philly 57).

For the On-Deck Series, the Phillies added seven minor league players: Lou Marson (c), Greg Golson (of), Joey Hammond (inf), Jason Anderson (rhp), Matt Childers (rhp), Brian Mazzone (lhp) and Bill Savage (rhp). On Sunday, Marson, Jason Donald (ss), Carlos Carrasco (rhp), Pat Overholt (rhp) and Ron Hill (rhp) will dress with the big league club.

Back to the empty clubhouse.  Well, it is almost empty.  Pitchers Kris Benson, Brad Lidge, Scott Mathieson, Francisco Rosario and Mike Zagurski still have their uniforms hanging there.  All are on the disabled list and all will be rehabbing under the medical staff in Clearwater.  More on that another day.

Elsewhere
I’ve been out of pocket for a few days and haven’t posted a Phillies Insider since last Friday.  As I slide into a new role over the next couple of weeks the goal is to continue this blog.  Perhaps it won’t be on a daily basis but it will continue.  There may be a pinch-hitter or two for Phillies Insider along the baseball journey that is also called a season.   The organization wants to keep fans informed from the inside. 

Myers Reaches 100….pitches

With the Phillies in Ft. Myers, Bright House Field was rather quiet on this Good Friday.

Those that didn’t make the trip south worked out in the a.m. and then enjoyed the rest of the sunny, warm, cloudless Clearwater day.

Carpenter Field was buzzing, however.  A large crowd was on hand to watch Brett Myers pitch in an AAA game against the Blue Jays.  The goal was to continue building up Myers’ arm strength and get him to 100 pitches.  He did that with two out in the top of the seventh.  He gave up four runs, all in that inning.  “Must have thrown 100 pitches that inning alone,” he quipped as he walked back to Bright House Field. 

Jayson Werth spent the afternoon at Carpenter Field getting at-bats in both games, AA and AAA.  “Jayson is approaching his 42nd at-bat,” kidded pitcher John Ennis.

Tomorrow
Detroit Tigers at sold out Bright House Field.  500 berm tickets will go on sale at 9 a.m. 

A pre-game brunch and Q&A session with Werth, Greg Dobbs and a couple of broadcasters will be held for Phillies fans that are part of a Spring Training USA group tour.  Over 160 are on the tour.

After Thursday’s game, Pat Gillick and his staff and Charlie Manuel and his staff met for over an hour to discuss the final roster make-up.  The minor league camp will have a longer meeting tomorrow after the 10 a.m. minor league games at Carpenter Field.  There’s one more week of spring training and four minor league rosters (Lehigh Valley, Reading, Clearwater and Lakewood) need to be finalized in addition to the Phillies’ 25-man opening day roster. 

Chris Coste will sign his new book post-game near the Tiki Pavilion.

Elsewhere
Next two games are on TV, Comcast SportsNet (tomorrow) and CW Philly (Easter afternoon) . . .   WPHT (1210 AM) will broadcast the next three games.  That means the games can also be heard on phillies.com . . . LHP Niles Jordan, 82, who pitched for the Phillies in 1951, died March 15 in his Sedro-Woolley, MA, home.  “Glorious and awestruck” is how Niles described his major league debut. 

Kyle Grounds Pirates

It was Kyle Kendrick’s time to step up and he did in a biog way, five scoreless innings this afternoon against the Pirates.

Kyle is a sinker ball pitcher who needs location to be successful.  He was on target today.  10 of his 15 outs were ground ball outs, vintage Kyle.  Earlier in camp, he struggled with location.  The Phillies have now had five consecutive solid outings from their starting pitchers.  Actually, over the last six games (4-2), starters have an ERA of 2.00.

Long balls by Ryan Howard, Geoff Jenkins and Pedro Feliz provided the offense.

While the Pirates game was going on at Bright House Field, Brad Lidge was next door at Carpenter Field getting his first game action.  He faced five minor league hitters and struck out two.

After the game next Thursday in Lakeland, the Phillies will return to Philadelphia, thus ending spring training.

Tomorrow
7:45 a.m. bus for a 2 hour-45 minute, 125-mile journey south for Ft. Myers and an afternoon game against the Twins.  No radio or TV.  Adam Eaton start.   

As is the case with road games, a handful of position players and a bevy of pitchers will work out at Bright House Field in the morning.

Games at Carpenter Field in the afternoon include the AAA and AA clubs, hosting the Blue Jays.  Brett Myers will start one of those games.

Ricky Bottalico is in camp for a few days.  He’s going to be part of the Service Electric TV crew that televises the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

WPHT’s Michael Smerconish will be broadcasting his shown from the Diamond Dugout tomorrow from 7 to 9 a.m.

Survey Says
Favorite TV show growing up?  “Married with children,” Brett Myers.

Streak Ends

In one way, the streak ended.  In another way, it didn’t.

The Rays stopped the Phillies’ three-game winning streak this afternoon in a historic game in St. Petersburg.  But, the Phillies string of strong starting pitching continued as Jamie Moyer turned in a solid outing.  Pitching such as Jamie’s effort today will pay off over a 162-game season.   

How can a spring training game be historic?   Next year, the Rays will be having spring training in Port Charlotte, so today was the last game the Phillies will play in Al Lang Field.  That park opened in 1947, the first year the Phillies starting holding spring training in Clearwater.

Tomorrow
Back home with Adam Eaton on the mound vs. the Pirates (1:05).  Game can be heard on phillies.com.

Condolences
Santino (Sandy) Gallone, who played in the Phillies minor league system for a couple of years (1994-95) before an injury ended his career, was one of six construction workers who died in the tragic crane accident last week in New York City.

Gallone, 37, was signed out of Fordham College by Phillies scout Sal Agostinelli.

Everyone with the Phillies sends their deepest sympathies to the Gallone family.

The Winner
Laura Smith, who lives in downtown Toms River, NJ, is the winner of the So Taguchi autographed baseball, a trivia quiz that was posted here earlier in the week. She’s a huge Phillies fan who writes for the PhilaPhans website.

No Video
A reader wanted to know if video was available of Dale Badway who performed a “Broadway-styled” version of the National Anthem at Bright House Field on Tuesday.  (Ken Mandel wrote about this on the site today) So far, we haven’t been able to locate any video.  I understand, Dale did the same thing at Al Lang Field this afternoon.  Perhaps someone taped it.

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The strong gusty winds of the last few days have died down and the Gulf of Mexico waters are calmer.  So is Charlie Manuel.

Amazing what three straight wins will do for a team, manager, the fans and my personality.

Stepping up today were Cole Hamels and Geoff Jenkins.  Cole was his dominating self for six innings and received a large round of applause when he walked to the clubhouse in the left field corner.  Jenkins hit his first bomb of the spring.

Hamels followed Chad Durbin and Brett Myers with impressive outings during the winning streak.  Getting consistent starting pitching is so key.  Jamie Moyer gets the nod tomorrow against the Rays in St. Pete.

We Have A Winner
Yes, the first post yesterday has the correct answer to Sunday’s trivia question: Who has worn # 99 in Phillies history (New outfielder So Taguchi is wearing that number this year).

Mitch Williams in 1993 and Turk Wendell in 2001.

I’m sure Ted Kazanksi appreciates everyone remembering him.  His career with the Phillies was 1953-58.  At some point, I’ll check out his uniform numbers.

Survey Says
Favorite gadget?

Pedro Feliz (cell phone)
Brett Myers (iPod)
Jayson Werth (xbox 360)
Brad Lidge (lap top)
Clay Condrey (Ryobi drill)
Ryan Madon (universal remote)

Irish Eyes Are Smiling

A perfect Clearwater Chamber of Commerce afternoon….sunny, warm, blue sky, green grass.  Bright House Field was packed again.  Normally, red Phillies garb dominates the crowd.  Being St. Patrick’s Day, green competed with red today.

The offense that has been sputtering strung together a crooked number (more than one run) in the second inning to send the Phillies on their way to their second consecutive win.

RHP Chad Durbin turned in his best spring outing.  The two-run homer in the fifth was hit by Aaron Herr, son of ex-Phillie, Tommy Herr.

The day meant Irish Eyes are Smiling.

Elsewhere
Hugh Douglas, former Eagles great and a WIP radio personality, and Larry Andersen each threw out the first pitch.  The catcher was Darren Daulton . . . Phillies Charities, Inc., will hold a silent auction before tomorrow’s 1:05 game against the Rays . . . Next three games will be broadcast on phillies.com . . . Thursday’s game will be televised on MLB.com . . . Season opener is two weeks from today.

Trivia Quiz
Well, the first four responses to yesterday’s Phillies Insider quiz were incorrect.  So, an autographed baseball from So (Taguchi) is still awaiting a home.

Survey Says
Favorite TV show growing up?    “Simpsons”, Adam Eaton.

Sign of the Day
Hanging on the green wall at PJ’s restaurant in Indian Rocks Beach: “These (menu) items may or may not and sometimes not at all be available at all times and other times all the time.”

Two Weeks To Go

Two weeks from today, the Phillies will play their final pre-season game and Jimmy Rollins will be the first batter ever in Coca-Cola Park.

Coca-Cola Park is the new home of our AAA franchise, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.  The ballpark, which resembles Bright House Field, is located in east Allentown.  Game time is 2:05.

Interest in the IronPigs is huge.  Capacity is 8,500 seats with an outfield berm for additional casual viewing just like Clearwater.  So far, the IronPigs have sold over 4,000 season tickets.  Every home game will be televised, a first for a minor league club. 

Since we are heading into the final turn of spring training, the pitching rotation is starting to firm up.  Barring weather factors, the starters this week are penciled in as: Brett Myers, today in Sarasota; Chad Durbin, tomorrow vs. Indians; Cole Hamels, Tuesday vs. the Rays; Jamie Moyer, Wednesday at the Rays and Kyle Kendrick, Thursday vs. the Pirates.  Building up arm strength is a planned process throughout spring training.  Goal for each pitcher this week is 80-90 pitches.

Clearwater Visit
Rob Holiday, our assistant director of scouting, led a group of 43 families representing some of the top amateur prospects in Florida, an annual event by the scouting department.  The idea is to show mom and dad and the young prospects the facilities at Carpenter Field and Bright House Field, which are among the best in this state. 

The group received a grand tour and heard from some of the minor league staff during a meeting in the lunch room at Bright House Field. 

For some of the kids that are drafted and signed, being away from home is a first.  Mom and dad are concerned, as they should be, of where their sons are going…..housing, meal options, facilities and personnel that will be directing their son’s lives and paths to the majors.

Elsewhere
Phillies will wear green uniform jerseys and caps for St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow . . . Game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet.  Radio broadcast can be heard on this website . . . New Philly radio stations in camp for the next couple of days, WIP, featuring Joe Conklin, Hugh Douglas and Joe Waechter and WMMR (Nick McLkwaine) . . . From CSN, Michael Barkann joins the camp for a few days . . . The Jamie Moyer Foundation is holding an invitation only VIP charity event on the half-field post-game tomorrow . . . Correction: earlier in the week I said that every game from here on out is on radio but one (March 27).  Add March 21 to the no radio list.

Top Seller
The number one seller a year ago as far as Phillies red t-shirts (name and number)?  Chase Utley, 13,938.

Trivia Question
Outfielder So Taguchi is wearing # 99.  He is the third player in our history to wear that number.  Can you name the other two and the specific years?

First person to post a response here wins an autographed baseball from So.

Record Gate

Another sellout on a warm, breezy Clearwater afternoon.  On the upside, Adam Eaton threw three scoreless innings but the Twins got to J. D. Durbin and Fabio Castro and cruised to a victory.

The crowd was a Clearwater record, 10,178.  Previous record was some 200 less.

Rich Dubee put on his grim reaper look this morning.  Shane Youman and John Ennis were directed to Charlie Manuel’s office where they were informed they were being sent next door to the minor league complex.

Dubee spent part of the afternoon watching Kyle Kendrick, J. C. Romero and Tom Gordon pitch at Carpenter Field.  Kendrick rebounded, allowing two runs in four innings.  Rod Nichols, the IronPigs pitching coach, was in charge at Bright House Field until Dubee returned.

Three minor league pitchers, Kris Wilson, Darren Byrd and Drew Naylor, were assigned by the staff at the complex to dress for the big league game.  You can always spot the youngsters. They huddle together at the south end of clubhouse, a vacant area now that there have been so many roster cuts. 

What do players do after batting practice is over and the visiting team is hitting?

A mixture……extra hitting in the cages, the weight room, grab a bite to eat, crossword puzzles, basketball on TV, gather around a table and chat, ipod time, media interviews, visit the athletic trainers, step outside for cell phone calls (cell phones are not permitted in the clubhouse).  Media has access until one hour prior to game time.

45 minutes before today’s game Charlie Manuel sat at the table and entertained the players, keeping the guys loose.

Tomorrow
9 a.m. bus for a trip to Sarasota to play the Reds.  Pat Burrell, Pedro Feliz and Carlos Ruiz are the regulars not on the traveling roster which is posted on the clubhouse bulletin board.   Brett Myers is starting. 

Those remaining in Clearwater will work out briefly at Bright House Field.

The Legends Game of Major League Alumni  will be held at Bright House in the afternoon.  Tickets will be on sale Sunday morning.  Proceed benefit a local children’s hospital.

Monday
St. Patrick’s Day which means the Phillies will be wearing green uniform jerseys and green hats, a tradition that Tug McGraw started some 30 years ago.

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