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Quick Turn Around

Following last night’s win in Ft. Myers, the Phillies face a quick turn around for today’s 1 p.m. game against the Pirates at Bright House Field. No batting practice, just individual infield drills on the half-field.

Wearing Green
Following a tradition started by the late Tug McGraw, the Phillies will wear green hats and jerseys tomorrow on St. Patrick’s Day at Bright House Field. The Orioles are the opponent. Baltimore also has a night game in their Sarasota home tomorrow.

Back in 1979, Tug strolled out of the bullpen at Jack Russell Memorial Stadium on St. Patrick’s Day wearing green socks and a green undershirt. Ever since green has been the Phillies color on this day.

Promotions tomorrow, Cory the Magician will roam the concourse, Sarge will be signing his book by section 120 and NoBurn Sports Screen samples will be handed out at the gtes.

Tuesday is a day off although some players may wind up playing in a minor league game at the complex. The Phillies and Pirates Class A clubs, two each, will play at 1 in the afternoon. Free parking and admission.

Opening Day Countdown
15 more days until the Phillies season opener in Texas, a 2:05 p.m. EDT game.

Dick Allen holds the longevity for wearing #15, eight seasons, with Dave Hollins second, at seven. Jack Mayo and Walter (Boom-Boom) Beck are next, five each. John Mayberry is heading into his fourth season wearing this number.

Five-Header Sunday

Report at 12 noon, busses at 1 p.m. for a long trip south to play the Red Sox tonight (7:05) on the MLB Network. Those two notices were posted on the clubhouse bulletin board yesterday at Bright House Field. Utley and Howard are not on the travel roster.

Two minor league games are at 1 o’clock at Carpenter Complex today.

Same bulletin board also posts the schedule for those who aren’t traveling. Workouts at Bright House Field start at 9:30 a.m. Routine: stretching and exercise, long toss, fundamentals (group or individual), batting practice and conditioning.

Yesterday, Fransden and Franco fielded extra ground balls on the half-field at the end of the workout. Mickey Morandini manned the fungo bat. Before that, pitchers fielding practice under Ray Burris.

Five-header
Tomorrow, the Pirates and Phillies meet in Clearwater. The 1 p.m. game is just one of five between the two NL clubs. At Pirate City in Bradenton, the Phillies AAA and AA clubs play the Pirates same teams. At Carpenter Complex, two Class A clubs from each organization will play.

Mike Schmidt will be in camp tomorrow and will meet wiht the media at 10 in the morning. Know fans are anxious to learn about his health issues that kept him out of camp earlier. ICYMI: Mike will be part of the Phillies TV broadcast team on Sunday home games this season.

Scouting Notes
Phillies full-time International Scouts, Norman Anciano, Luis Garcia, Jesus Mendez and Carlos Salas, will be in camp starting Tuesday.

Sal Agostinelli and Benny Looper’s staffs are preparing for the July 2 signing date of Latin America players. Not to be overlooked are very young players who will be eligible next year and 2016. Not unusual for 13-14-year-olds to be on the scouting radar.

Countdown to Opening Day
16 days until the Phillies season opener against the Rangers at Texas’ Globe Life Park.

Back-up infielder Terry Harmon wore #17 for eight seasons, most ever for that number. Well, another extra infielder, Luis Aguayo, claims the same distinction for #16. He wore it eight seasons, edging out Cookie Rojas at six. J.C. Romero was third, five seasons. Cesar Hernandez is currently wearing the number.

On The Road Again

Phillies are heading south out of Clearwater today (Bradenton, Pirates) and tomorrow (Ft. Myers, Red Sox). Then, back home on Sunday to face the Pirates.

Saturday will give the Phillies a taste of the regular season, a 7:05 night game followed by a 1:05 day game. Busses for Ft. Myers leave at 1 p.m. and are projected to return to Clearwater around 1:30 a.m. Sleep quick for Sunday’s game.

Tomorrow night’s game will be televised on the MLB Network.

With the team out of town tomorrow fans can catch two Phillies Class A clubs playing the Blue Jays at Carpenter Complex. The Paul B. Stephens Special Olympics Kids will have lunch at the complex and then watch the games.

Camp Notes
Seven players were sent to the minor league camp this morning: LHP Jeremy Horst, C Tommy Joseph, OF Tyson Gillies, OF Zach Collier, LHP Cesar Jimenez, RHP Ken Giles and INF Andres Blanco.

C Lou Marson was released. C Sebastian Valle was brought back from the minor league camp. 44 players left in camp.

E-Mail Bin
From Donald: “I wonder if it would be possible to enter the Phillies managers who took the Phillies to the playoffs or to the World Series in a special place on the wall.”

Appreciate the inquiry, Donald, but I believe we need to maintain the parameters we have for the Wall of Fame: you need to be elected. Dallas Green is in the Wall (2006) and Charlie Manuel’s being inducted in August. Pat Moran (1915 NL pennant winner manager) has never been on the ballot. Eddie Sawyer (1950) was on the ballot a long time ago and didn’t garner many votes. Danny Ozark and Jim Fregosi have been on the ballot in recent years and I suspect they will be there again next spring.

Countdown to Opening Day
17 more days and the Phillies 2014 season opens against the AL West Rangers in Texas.

Another close race as to which Phillies players have worn #17 the longest: Terry Harmon, eight seasons; Ricky Jordan, seven and Scott Rolen, six. Rogers McKee wore it on the last day of the 1943 season when he recorded his only big league win at age 17 years, 7 days, the youngest pitcher ever to win a game.

Alumni Day to Return in 2015

LineUp0198Another photo gem by Phillies photographer Miles Kennedy, the lineup of former players on Alumni Day last week. It was the first ever promotion in spring training. Plans are to continue it every spring in Clearwater.

0 to 4
Baseball can be a crazy game. The Phillies offense has been meek and week so far this spring. They were the only NL team without a triple going into yesterday at Sarasota.

So, what happened? They hit four triples in a one-run win. According to Phillies records dating back to 1917, the most triples they ever had in a game was 5, August 2, 1986, against the Cubs at the Vet. Three persons in camp played in that game: Sandberg was 0-3 and Sarge 1-3 for the Cubs; Samuel had one of the five triples. The others: Gary Redus 2, Steve Jeltz and the slow-footed John Russell.

Camp Notes
Home today and then at Bradenton (Pirates) tomorrow and Ft. Myers (Red Sox, 7:05) Saturday . . . Back-to-back home games Sunday (Pirates) and Monday (Orioles) . . . Minor league games tomorrow feature the Phillies and Blue Jays class A clubs; 1 p.m. at Carpenter Complex.

CBP Top Ten
Tomorrow is the last day to cast your vote for the top 10 moments in the first 10 years of Citizens Bank Park. You can vote on phillies.com.

Countdown to Opening Day
18. Yes, that’s how many days are left before the Phillies begin the season in the Texas Rangers Globe Life Park.

49 different players have worn #18 since the Phillies began wearing numbers on their jerseys in 1932. When Darin Ruf plays in a game this season, he’ll get credit for wearing the number for three seasons. That will tie him with four other players for longevity: Pancho Herrera, John Vukovich, Kiko Garcia and Chris James. A couple of notable players who have worn the number include Rick Wise as a rookie in 1964 and Shane Victorino in 2006.

Spring Training Memories
Pat Gillick (LHP, minor leagues, 1959-63)
“First spring training was with the Orioles AAA team in Yuma, AZ, 1959. I remember staying at the Starlight Motel. Didn’t have a roommate and can’t recall my uniform number. Did know a couple of the other players which made it easier the first few days. Always liked spring training, the camaraderie and the continuous learning process. Wasn’t anything specific that I didn’t like. One memory that stands out was with the Orioles training camp in Miami in 1962. My locker was between Marv Throneberry and Whitey Herzog. Whitey complained that he wanted something to drink other thank orange juice. Next day, Throneberry came in with a large thermos, saying it was filled with lemonade. Whitey took a sip and passed it on to me. I took a big gulp but it wasn’t lemonade. It was a martini. I had been duped.”

For more memories of spring training by Alumni check out http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

Same Matchup Today

Sarasota-bound today for a game with the Orioles. Same two starters as last Friday, A. J. and Jimenez in the same park . . . Tomorrow, Yankees split squad at Bright House Field. Could be Jeter’s last Clearwater visit . . . Tomorrow is another instant replay testing game . . . Sarge is signing his book (Few and Chosen Phillies) tomorrow on the main concourse near the Diamond Outfitters store . . . Photographer Miles Kennedy is shifting from the field to taking photos for the Phillies pet calendar . . . Another group of Phillies sponsors is coming for the weekend. Perhaps they’ll bring a fresh batch of bats . . . Michael Barkann and Ike Reese will be doing their WIP show live from the Tiki Bar tomorrow and Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. . . . Week ends with a 1:05 game in Bradenton (Pirates) on Friday and a 7:05 night game in Ft. Myers (Red Sox) on Saturday. Home again on Sunday (Pirates) . . . All games are live on mlb.com.

Minor League Notes
No minor league games at Carpenter Complex tomorrow; camp day instead for all the Phillies minor leaguers. Games resume Friday.

Four pitchers were released yesterday, Felix Santos, Rob Marcello, Matt Soren and Ronald Mendez. Many more cuts to come.

Out of Options
Phillies have three in camp who cannot be sent to the minors without clearing waivers, Fransden, Lincoln and Mayberry.

Opening Day Countdown
19 more days on the friendly calendar before the Phillies season opener at the Rangers.

Greg (Bull) Luzinski wore #19 for 10 of his ll seasons with the Phillies. Pitcher Bob Miller was one season behind. Third place goes to Kevin Stocker, five. Tony Gwynn Jr. is wearing this number in spring training this year, same number his dad wore on his way to the Hall of Fame.

2 Road Days

Greg Luzinski is in uniform as a guest instructor . . . Today is Brad Lidge’s last day in a similar capacity . . . MLB.com carries today’s (Braves) and tomorrow’s (Orioles) road games live . . . Games at Carpenter Complex tomorrow feature two Class A clubs of the Phillies against the Pirates; 1 p.m. for both games . . . Phillies are hitting .194, lowest among NL clubs in spring training . . . Yankees lead all Florida teams in attendance; Phillies are second . . . Phillies home to the Yankees on Thursday . . . Phillies Insider ranked 20th among MLB Pro blogs cetegory last month, a move up from 23rd. Thanks.

Opening Day Countdown
20 days until the Phillies and Rangers open the season in Texas.

No secret who wore this number longer than anyone in Phillies history, Mike Schmidt, 17 seasons. When he came up in 1972, he was #22 as Roger Freed was wearing #20. Freed was traded after that season and Schmidt switched to #20. The number was retired on May 26, 1990. Prior to Schmidt, Ruben Amaro Sr. had the longest streak, five seasons. First ever to wear #20 was LHP Stew Bolen in 1932.

Spring Training Memories
Chuck Essegian (OF, 1958)
“My first big league camp was 1958 in Clearwater. Believe we stayed at the Clearwater Hotel, but not sure. Tommy Qualters, a bonus-baby, was my roommate. He was always chewing tobacco and I tried to talk him out of it. My number was 37. I had played four years of minor league baseball so I wasn’t really nervous about being in a big league camp for the first time.”

Spring Training Fun Fact
March 11, 1947–Phillies lose, 13-1, to Detroit Tigers in their first ever Clearwater game. Attendance was 1,766 at Athletic Field. Phillies manager Ben Chapman bristled after the loss, “I don’t intend to take any more 13-1 lickings. We’re playing every game as if it counted in the standings.”

Alumni Videos
http://www.phillies.com/alumni has added a pair of video features, one the tribute to the late Jim Fregosi and the other, a recap of Alumni Day. Check ‘em out.

Photo Gallery on phillies.com page also features a lot of still images from Alumni Day by Miles Kennedy.

Alumni Day Recap

Daulton8923First ever Alumni Day in spring training went well Saturday, except Larry Andersen’s golf cart. LA was driving a golf cart to the parking lot and carting fans to the main gate at Bright House Field. He made one trip and the gear shift jammed. “It only worked in reverse,” laughed LA. “I’m not a good driver going backwards so we had to call it a day.”

Phillie Phanatic’s 4-wheeler did work and Darren Daulton got to ride on it during the introductions.

The line for autographs was a long one but we got almost everyone through by going 65 minutes. Dick Allen, Greg Luzinski, Shane Rawley, Jack Baldschun, Kent Tekulve, Billy DeMars and Sixto Lezcano were behind the tables.

John Denny, Gary Matthews, Tomas Perez and Dick Noles greeted fans at the four gates, distributing an Alumni Newsletter. Inside the Diamond Outfitters story cashier area, Darren Daulton and Dave Cash served as bag stuffers. Cash also announced the starting lineups before 35 Alumni were introduced on the field.

The Bull teamed with Phillie Phanatic and the hot dog shooter.

Camp Notes
Braves in Clearwater this afternoon in another game feeaturing instant replay testing . . . Busses leave at 8 a.m. tomorrow for Orlando where the same two teams meet . . . The Phillies AAA and AA clubs will face their respective teams from Toronto’s minor league camp tomorrow afternoon (1 o’clock) at Carpenter Complex. Parking is free with the Phillies out of town . . . MLB’s drug program will be presented to the minor leagues early in the morning.

Happy Birthday to……
Today: OF Johnny Briggs (70), LHP Tom Hilgendorf (72), RHP Mike Timlin (48) . . . Tomorrow: OF Bobby Abreu (40), OF Phil Bradley (55), LHP Jack Spring (81) . . . Wednesday: OF Dale Murphy (58) . . . Thursday: INF Mariano Duncan (51), INF Luis Aguayo (55) . . . Friday: C Jerry Willard (54) . . . Saturday: INF Kim Batiste (46), C Dave Watkins (70) . . . Sunday: Abraham Nunez (38), RHP Charles Hudson (55).

Countdown to Opening Day
21 days until the Phillies begin the season at the Texas Rangers.

This is a tricky one. Greg Gross wore #21 for seven seasons which makes him the leader, if you limit it to players only. Andy Seminick is second with six but if you add coaching years, he moves ahead of GG. Here’s a bizarre sequence for #21: Andy wore it in 1949-50-51, was traded to Reds in a big deal for catcher Smokey Burgess who wore #21 in 1952-53-54-55 before being traded back to the Reds in a big deal for Seminick, who resumed wearing the number in 1955-56 and as a coach, 1957-58. Hope you could follow that. Now, another catcher, Will Nieves, is #21.

Spring Training Fun Fact
March 10, 1955–Phillies defeat Detroit Tigers, 4-2, in first game played at Jack Russell Stadium before a Clearwater record crowd of 4,209. RHP Robin Roberts started and 3B Willie Jones won it with a two-run double. Total attendance for the entire spring was 16,832.

Opening Day, 22 Days Away

Managers0245During Alumni Day yesterday, Ryne was joined at home plate in presenting the lineup by two former Phillies managers, Larry Bowa and Dallas Green. More on Alumni Day tomorrow. Photo: Miles Kennedy.

Manager Wants to See YouThose words were delivered to six players before yesterday’s game: RHP Luis Garcia, RHP Michael Stutes, OF Aaron Altherr, OF Leandro Castro, OF Kelly Dugan and C Sebastian Valle. The message: you are being assigned to the minor league camp next door a Carpenter Complex.

Then, after the game, LHP Jesse Biddle got the same message.

Camp now totals 51 players. Have to get to the 25-man opening day limit by March 30.

Dirty Job?
Frank Coppenbarger is the Director of Team Travel and Clubhouse Services. Team travel today meant having two busses for Ft. Myers and a game with the Twins. Departure was 7:45 a.m.

He didn’t ride the bus, instead drove his mini-van, a 2-hour, 45-minute journey, which meant he beat the busses. First order of business will be to pick up tickets to fill the orders of the players and executives. He’ll stay around for BP and then take that sweaty gear back to Clearwater. A couple of clubhouse personnel will take care of the unpacking, the game and packing in Ft. Myers. When Frank returns to Bright House Field, more personnel will wash the sweaty gear from Ft. Myers. Otherwise, all that would take place after the busses return, which will be sometime between 6 and 7 p.m. There’s more washing to be done (uniforms) then.

Three minor league pitchers, Jordan Guth, Ryan O’Sullivan and Austin Wright, got to take the trip to Ft. Myers.

Camp Notes
Back home tomorrow to host the Braves. Same teams meet the following day in Orlando . . . Starting Tuesday afternoon, two minor league games will be held at Carpenter Complex. That’ll be the same schedule through March 28. So, while the Phillies are out of town on Tuesday, fans can see two minor league games. Free parking and free admission. Players from the major league camp will also make appearances in minor league games from time to time . . . WXTU will broadcast live tomorrow morning (8-10) from the Tiki Bar . . . After the game, the Phillies staff and Clearwater Threshers staff will salute two 25-year employees, scout Roy Tanner and Opie Cheek, head groundskeeper in Clearwater. Each will receive a 25-year ring.

Countdown to Opening Day
22 more days until the Phillies begin the season in Texas.

Well, 33 different players have worn the number for one season. You’ll never guess who are the co-leaders with five years each….OF Mike Anderson and OF Jason Michaels. Three-year club includes Bobby Dernier, Karl Drews, Woodie Fryman, Ruben Gomez, Tony Gonzalez, Jim Hearn, John Herrnstein and Herm Wehmeier. That group spans several decades. But, there are more oddities: Cecil (Turkey) Tyson had one hitless AB as a pinch-hitter in 1944, Mike Schmidt was #22 when he made his big league debut in 1972 and a pitcher, Snipe Hansen, was the first to wear it in 1932. Currently, pitching coach Bob McClure has the number.

Countdown at 23

Houston split squad today at Bright House Field and a 130-mile trip south to Ft. Myers tomorrow to face the Twins. Busses leave at 7:45 a.m. tomorrow. With daylight savings time now in effect tomorrow, wonder if anyone will be late because they didn’t change their clock. It has happened.

With Tom McCarthy and Matt Stairs away on other assignments, Greg Murphy and Jamie Moyer will be on the Phillies telecast today.

Tomorrow afternoon (2 o’clock) at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg a team of Phillies minor leaguers will face the Canadian Junior National Team in the Prospect Series. Rest of Phillies minor leaguers will work out at Carpenter Complex. Free admission and parking.

Countdown to Opening Day
23 more days and baseball for real begins for the Phillies. This year, an interleague game in Texas against the Rangers.

A bundle have worn the number a minimum of three years. Four wore it four seasons, Ollie Brown, Greg Gross and Randy Ready. But the all-time leader with seven years is Kevin Jordan. But, let’s not forget Leroy Reams who had one at-bat in his major league career, striking out as a pinch hitter in 1969. Currently, Ryne Sandberg wears it, the number he wore with the Cubs for 13 years. For the record, Ryne is the first Phillies manager to wear #23.

This Date
1941—RHP Hugh Mulcahy becomes first major league player drafted into the Armed Forces during World War II

More historic moments can be found on http://www.phillies.com/alumni, including a video recap of Wednesday’s Jim Fregosi’s pre-game tribute.

Strange Friday; Alumni Day Saturday

Strange day at the ballpark yesterday. During a morning meeting of club executives, John Timberlake, Clearwater GM, poked his head in the door to let everyone know there is a chance that the rainy weather will begin clearing about 2 p.m., one hour after the normal game time.

A split squad with Ryne as the manager boarded the bus for the 1 hour, 20-minute trip east to Lakeland to play the Tigers. A little later, Ruben, Dallas and Gillick hopped in a car. Same destination.

Meanwhile, a windy, rainy storm came blowing through Bright House Field. You could barely see at one point because of the driving rain. The half-field tent, still in place from the previous night’s Fregosi party, held its ground. The dirt infield under the tent still got muddy. People’s cell phones received an alert that Pinellas County was under a tornado warning.

Gates normally open at 10:35 a.m. They did and a hand-full of fans began filing in even though it was raining. The visiting Yankees were called and briefed on the conditions. They wanted to play and so did the Phillies. So, the NY buses headed west on Route 60 out of Tampa.

Finally, at 2:30 p.m. the game began as the rain stopped and the skies in the west began to get brighter. The Lakeland game was canceled. Ruben, Dallas and Gillick returned in time for the game. Then, the Lakeland bus returned and a few players were dispatched to the dugout.

MLB’s new reply system was being tested for the first time for a Phillies game. But, a power surge wiped out the system in the TV truck, something Ryne learned when he challenged call in the seventh inning.

Having two games, more players were needed, primarily as back-ups. Normally 3-5 minor leaguers are dispatched from Carpenter Complex for a game. Well, eight minor leaguers got to ride the bus to and from Lakeland. Seven others got to sit on the bench or in the bullpen at Bright House Field. One of the seven got into the game, pinch runner Albert Cartwright.

A strange day indeed.

Tweets of the Day
**The Oak Ridge Boys (performing at the Strawberry Festival in Plant City, located about mid-way between Clearwater and Lakeland): “The @Phillies beat writer @ToddZolecki says game in Clearwater will go at 2:30. We go @FLStrawberryFst at 3:30 so rain MAY be moving out.”

**Justin Verlander (scheduled to start in Lakeland against the Phillies): “Rain rain go away so that I may pitch today.”

**Colorado Rockies scout, Will George: “What a great celebration the Phillies hosted yesterday and a fitting tribute to Jim Fregosi.”

Camp Notes
9:00 a.m. buses today for Sarasota to take on the Orioles (live on MLB.com) . . . Evening meeting involving Rube an Ryne and their respective staffs to review the 58 players in camp . . . Back home Saturday to face a Houston split squad. MLB replay system will be in play . . . Latino minor league players at Carpenter Complex will undergo English lessons the next two days after the workout . . . Sunday: long road trip south to play the Twins.

Alumni Day
35 former players will be on hand for the first Phillies Alumni Day in spring training tomorrow.

Selected Alumni will participate in pre-game autograph stations while other interaction with fans will be a surprise. All Alumni will be introduced on the field pre-game.
Dallas Green will sell and autograph his book, The Mouth That Roared, prior to the game.

Among the Alumni scheduled to attend, in addition to Green, are Dick Allen, Jack Baldschun, Dave Cash, Darren Daulton, Billy DeMars, John Denny, Brandon Duckworth, Dave LaPoint, Sixto Lezcano, Brad Lidge, Greg Luzinski, Gary Matthews, Denis Menke, Dickie Noles, Tomas Perez, Robert Person, Shane Rawley, Gene Schall and Kent Tekulve plus former Phillies in the team’s major and minor league camps. The list subject to change.

Countdown To Opening Day
24, down to two dozen days before the Phillies and Rangers begin the season in Texas.

Let’s see Andy Seminick, Bill Robinson, Keith Moreland, Tony Perez and Milt Thompson have worn the number, including many others. For longevity, Mike Lieberthal is the hands down leader, 13 straight years. Managers wore #24 from 1949 to opening day in 1960: Eddie Sawyer, Steve O’Neill, Mayo Smith and Sawyer again. Sawyer wore the number for six-plus seasons. Clete Thomas, a non-roster outfielder in camp, is currently #24.

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