While the focus is on a 12-noon scrimmage across the street at the Joe DiMaggio complex involving some of the Phillies wounded and the Braves at Bright House Field (1 o’clock), Carpenter Field sprung into action this morning, the first day of workouts for 167 minor league players.
Chuck LaMar oversaw introductions and orientation at 9:30 in the right field corner of Steve Carlton Field. David Montgomery, Ruben Amaro Jr. and Charlie Manuel all spoke to the group of red-shirted players. Player development is critical to the success of a major league ball club. Just check the Phillies World Series champions for the number of home-grown players.
Because all four fields at Carpenter are in use from 9:30 until 4 p.m., that scrimmage game was moved to DiMaggio field, in case you were curious. If you weren’t curious, you should have been.
In addition to the 167 players, there’s a 17-man athletic training staff, 30-person instructional staff and 9 members of the clubhouse crew. If you think the 32-year-old Carpenter Field clubhouse is bulging at the seams, you are correct. That is being corrected. Starting on May 1, construction will include the remodeling of the clubhouse itself and adding a second floor to the structure.
Thank goodness for names on the back of uniform jerseys. Probably the most appreciative are the instructors who have to deal with 167 players. The uniform numbers range from #2 (INF Freddy Galvis to #92 (OF Angus Roeger). Duplicate numbers are being used. If you call out, “Hey #22”, four players will turn around (INF Derrick Mitchell, INF Daniel Hargrave, OF Javon Moran and OF Casey Craig).
Over the next couple of weeks, that 167 number will increase as the Phillies cut more players from their major league camp of 56 players.
Workouts begin at 10 every morning. A week from today, minor league exhibition games begin. Generally, there are two minor league games per day at Carpenter Field, 1 p.m. starts. If you go there, rosters and game schedules are available at the office entrance. Fans are welcome and there is no admission charge.
Minor league camp closes on March 29. 100 players will needed to stock Lehigh Valley, Reading, Clearwater and Lakewood. Another 50-60 will remain at Carpenter in extended spring training or rehab. Unfortunately, the unemployment line will increase toward the end of the month because many minor league players will be released.
How did Lidge, Feliz, Coste, Durbin fare in the scrimmage? Check Todd Zolecki’s Zo Zone blog . . . Howard leads the Grapefruit League with 4 homers . . . Jason Donald is hitting .438 in his last 5 games . . . Tomorrow, the World Series from last fall continues in Port Charlotte with a 1 o’clock game against the Tampa Bay Rays (broadcast on mlb.com) . . . Back here Friday for the Astros.