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Lone Home Night Game

With a night game today, players got a chance to sleep in. Reporting time is 3 o’clock for the game against Toronto. Game can be seen on Comcast SportsNet and mlb.com. It was also taped and will be shown on the Baseball Network at midnight.

Tomorrow, the Braves visit Clearwater with a tribute to the late Jim Fregosi taking place at 1 and the game to follow. Comcast SportsNet will carry the tribute live. Players need to be dressed by 8 a.m. for a meeting with the Baseball Assistance Team. They take the field at 10 for the usual pre-game routine.

Lots of radio for the day starting with WIP at 5:30 a.m. (live from Lenny’s Restaurant), St. Petersburg’s WDAE at 9 a.m., WUSL from Selinsgrove, PA, doing a game broadcast and ESPN Deportes on the air from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m.

Alumni Note
Belated congratulations to Rice University baseball coach Wayne Graham who posted his 1,000 win on Valentine’s Day.

Graham, 77, was an infielder originally signed by the Phillies in 1957. He played briefly in 1963, was traded to the Mets in a deal for Frank Thomas and then came back to the Phillies organization in a deal involving Dick Stuart going to New York. His career included part of one season for both the Phillies and Mets and 11 in the minors.

Dallas Green was a teammate in 1963. He sent a letter of congrats, noting they have several things in common, including white hair.

Spring Training Memories
Bob Boone (C, 1972-81)
“First spring training was a big league camp at Jack Russell Stadium in 1970. I don’t have a clue as to my uniform number but I do know it wasn’t 8. Stayed at the Jack Tar Hotel. Barry Lersch was my roommate but I roomed with his clothing more often than with him. I’ll never forget that first day. Frank Lucchesi (manager) said every job in camp is wide open. I came from Class A ball but really thought I had a chance after hearing Frank. Rookies get to play in a lot of the early games and I crushed the ball, hit .400. When he first cut was made, I was on the list, headed for the complex. I was crushed.”

Opening Day Countdown
27. Yep, that many days until the Phillies begin their 131st season, this time on the road against the Texas Rangers.

The leader board: Placido Polanco and Ken Heintzelman, six seasons each; Jack Baldschun and Willie Montanez, five; tied with four, Lonnie Smith, Kent Tekulve, Bobby Estalella and Chris Coste. Currently, Roberto Hernandez.

Remebering Mr. Fregosi

FregosiTable12071
The late Jim Fregosi always sat in the same seat in the Media Room at Bright House Field when he was scouting for the Braves. In memory of Mr. Fregosi, the Phillies are keeping the table and one chair empty until Thursday.

Braves and Phillies will pay tribute to Mr. Fregosi on Wednesday. Festivities begin at 1 with the game to start at 1:20 p.m. Comcast SportsNet will carry the emotional program live. Atlanta is playing at Bright House Field on Wednesday and suggested a tribute be held here with Mr. Fregosi’s widow Joni and their three children living in nearby Tarpon Springs. His other children, Jim Jr. and his family, and Jennifer Pickler and her daughter, are flying in from California.

Camp Notes
Phillies play their only night game in Clearwater tomorrow, 6:35 (Blue Jays) . . . Before the game, the communications department has set a photo shoot with the broadcasters . . . Tanaka is scheduled to pitch Thursday when the Yankees come to Clearwater. Phillies will have a split squad going to Lakeland the same day to face the Tigers.

Alumni Everywhere
Darren Daulton and Pedro Feliz attended Friday’s game . . . Sarge is back in uniform as a guest instructor . . . Bob Walk and Nick Levya came with the Pirates on Sunday . . . Quite a few Alumni will attend Wednesday’s tribute to Mr. Fregosi.

First-ever Alumni Day is scheduled for this Saturday. More on that in a day or two. Tickets are available.

Birthday Week
Today: RHP Bobby Locke (80), RHP Bobby Munoz (46) . . . Tomorrow: OF Lee Tinsley (45) . . . Wednesday: RHP Steve Ontiveros (53), RHP Doug Bird (64), RHP Kent Tekulve (67), INF Al Monchak (97) . . . Thursday: RHP Terry Adams (41), INF Cookie Rojas (75) . . . Friday: CH Galen Cisco (78) . . . Saturday: 1B Dick Allen (72) . . . Sunday: C Benito Santiago (49), LHP Terry Mulholland (51).

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

This number was worn by Curt Simmons for 12 seasons (1948-50; 52-60). He was followed by Art Mahaffey, six seasons (1960-65). Two have worn it for four seasons, Tyler Green and Jayson Werth. Not to be overlooked are INF Roy Hughes (1939-40) and P Tommy Hughes (1941; 1946-47. They are not related. Wearing it since 2012 is Kevin Fransden.

10 Years Ago
Tomorrow, Phillies defeated New York Yankees, 5-1, in first game played at Bright House Network Field before 8,205, a Clearwater record. CF Marlon Byrd got 1st hit; SS Jimmy Rollins, 1st home run.

You’ll find other March moments in Phillies history by visiting http://www.phillies.com/alumni

A. J. Today

First of four games this spring against the Pirates on tap this afternoon at Bright House Field. A. J. makes first start today

Tomorrow, 8:15 a.m. bus for trip south to Port Charlotte and the only spring match-up against the Tampa Bay Rays. Hard to believe the Rays don’t visit Clearwater this year.

8:15 a.m. may appear to be early but pity the minor leaguers. Photo day is tomorrow morning, 6:30 start. Flash bulbs would be needed to get my eyes to open at that hour. Even earlier is the WIP morning show that will be live from the dark Tiki Bar starting at 5:30 a.m. this week.

With the Phillies out of town tomorrow, the minor leaguers will continue their daily 10 a.m. drills at Carpenter Field. Parking is free at the complex when the Phillies aren’t home.

Opening Day Countdown
We’re down to 29 more days for the Phillies first game at the Texas Rangers.

The longest-tenured player to wear this number was Stan Lopata, 10 years (1949-58). Others with multiple years, Grant Jackson, six (1965-70) and four each, John Kruk (1991-94), Wendell Magee (1996-99) and Marlon Byrd (2002-5). Hall of Famer Chuck Klein wore seven different numbers with the Phillies including #29 for three seasons (1940-42). When Jimmy Rollins came up in 2000, he was #29. Currently, Cameron Rupp.

Spring Training Fun Fact
Courtesy broadandpattison.com:
1946–The Phillies open spring training in Miami beach with a scrimmage in Flamingo Park. It will be the last year they train somewhere other than Clearwater.

Countdown Continues

moyerstairsJamie Moyer (left) and Matt Stairs, the new kids on the block, will be back on Phillies telecasts tomorrow, Tuesday night, Wednesday and Thursday. When’s the last time Stairs was in the lineup three straight games?

Opening Day Countdown
30 days before the Phillies season opener in Texas against the AL West Rangers.

Who wore the uniform the longest for the Phillies? Steve Jeltz, six years (1984-89). Blix Donnelly is second, five years (1946-50) and then Dave Cash, three years (1974-76). Darrell Brandon switched from 32 to 30 after Steve Carlton arrived (1972). Justin DeFratus switched from 79 last season to 30 for this year.

Spring Training Fun Fact
Courtesy of broadandpattison.com:
1889–The Phillies set sail from New York for their spring training site in Jacksonville, FL, becoming the first National League team to train in the Sunshine State.

Comment Corner
Karl came through again yesterday, wanting to know if Garry Maddox is in the Phillies Wall of Fame.

Yep, Garry was inducted in 2001. He returns ever year for the Wall of Fame ceremonies.

So Long February

First seven spring games alternate between Clearwater and the road. Today at home, tomorrow in Tampa, Sunday back home, at Port Charlotte on Monday and home again on Tuesday, which, by the way, is a 6:35 p.m. game. Today, we say good-bye to an 0-2 February.

Phillies TV trio will work today and Sunday. Jamie always worked on a four-day rotation.

Useless Information
The Yankees’ Tanaka, the rather expensive pitcher from Japan, makes his American debut against the Phillies tomorrow. Well, seven years ago, the Phillies were the first American team Matsuzaka, another high-priced Japanese pitcher, faced. That was the Red Sox at Bright House Field. Something like 65 Japanese media covered that game.

Comment Corner
Karl posted a couple of comments yesterday, pointing out a mathematical error when I wrote Jack Russell Stadium opened in 1955 with a win and closed 59 years later with a loss to the Yankees. JRS’s last spring training game was 2003, which is 48 years later. Bad calculator or bad fingers or both.

His other comment was about Chuck Klein once wearing #32. The Hall of Famer wore six other numbers while with the Phillies, 1, 3, 8, 26, 29 and 36. So Chuck was part of three retired uniform numbers.

Opening Day Countdown
31 more days and the Phillies season begins, this year in Arlington, TX, against the Rangers.

Garry Maddox holds the record for the most years wearing this number, 12. Gary Wagner is next, five seasons. Among others are Danny Litwhiler (1942) Ken Brett (1973) and Randy Ready (1994-95). Most recent, Erik Kratz (2011-12-13). Currently, Brad Lincoln.

Spring Training Fun Fact
According to broadandpattison.com, the Phillies opened spring training in Southern Pines, NC, on this date in 1913. Is there a Northern Pines, NC?

Short Trip

Bulletin board in the clubhouse is full of information for the players.

There’s a roster of all players in camp. Those whose names are circled mean they are on today’s trip to Dunedin, a three-mile journey. That’s the shortest trip in spring training anywhere.

Also posted: 8:30 a.m. reporting time today, infield practice at 10, batting practice at 10:15 and two busses leave at 11:30. Those not on the travel roster have the afternoon off.

Game will be on the Major League Baseball Network and mlb.com.

Old Home Week
Yesterday’s Grapefruit League opener at Bright House Field was filled with ex-Phillies.

Marlon Byrd and Bobby Abreu were both in the line-up that faced J. A. Happ. Chris Coste threw out the first ball and Scott Rolen journeyed north from Bradenton for BP. Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs were in the booth for their first telecast. Former coach Billy DeMars was also a morning visitor.

With the Phillies opening the season in Texas and facing a right-hander, Abreu could well be the DH as he was yesterday. Last time he started a game was July 25, 2012, while with the Dodgers. He has a clause in his contract if he isn’t on a major league roster on March 26, he can become a free agent.

Tall Tug
New “Peek at the Past” photo on http://www.phillies.com/alumni features Lefty, Tug and Jerry Koosman 30 years ago in spring training. Tug must have stood on a box or something because he’s taller than the other two even though he was 6-foot even. Check it out.

Opening Day Countdown
32 days till Phillies season opener in Texas against the Rangers.

There’s only one #32 of significance in Phillies history, Hall of Famer Steve Carlton who wore it for 15 Phillies seasons. Number was retired in 1989. Last to wear it before Lefty, Darrell Brandon (1971). Among interesting names who have worn it include
Chuck Klein (1936), Curt Simmons (1947) and Richie Allen (1963; spring training 1964).

Spring Training Fun Fact
The Phillies won the first game at Jack Russell Stadium in 1955 over the Tigers and lost the last game there to the Yankees 59 years later. They also won the first game at Bright House Field in 2004, beating he Yankees.

1st Game

Marlon Byrd talks with teammates during workouts Friday in Clearwater.Ten years ago Bright House Networks Field opened, a new era in Phillies spring training baseball.

Wearing #29, Marlon Byrd (above) led off for the Phillies that day and played centerfield. He got the first hit in the new yard and scored the first run. The previous spring he hit the last triple in Jack Russell Memorial Stadium.

Now 10 years later, he’s back in a Phillies uniform, playing right field and batting fifth, wearing #2.

New Broadcasting Era
For the first time since 1962, Richie Ashburn, Harry Kalas or Chris Wheeler are not part ay

Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs, the new voices, make their debut today, the start of a new era in Phillies broadcasting. Every Clearwater game will be televised, giving the new faces a chance to have broadcasting spring training.

“Wheels” continues to be the PA announcer at Bright House Field. He’s been doing that in Clearwater since 1972. He’s also doing video features on phillies.com, The Wheelhouse. His piece last week with Larry Bowa was a classic.

Opening Day Countdown
33 days until the Phillies opener at the Rangers.

Cliff Lee is wearing that number now. Others who have worn it include Bo Belinsky, Wayne Twitchell, Ruben Amaro Jr., Aaron Rowand, Granny Hamner (1948) and Pat Burrell (2000). Plus an oddity, two right-handed pitchers, one named Mike Jackson and other, Michael Jackson.

Elsewhere
WPHT’s Dom Giordano is broadcasting live from the Tiki Bar tomorrow and Friday, 9 a.m. to 12 noon . . . 170 minor leaguers report to Carpenter Complex tomorrow. First workout is Saturday. Nearly 50 kids have been working out on their own for weeks at the complex . . . Four of that 50 are pitchers who were assigned to the bullpen today, Brody Colvin, Justin Friend, Jay Johnson and Mike Nesseth . . . Scouting of amateur players is underway. Some members of the player development staff have been spending time following Phillies scouts. Charlie Manuel will do some scouting in Florida this month. Pat Gillick has spent times going to high school and college games. Pat is a super scout. Dallas Green, Dick Allen and I, along with our wives, had dinner last night at the Beachcomber restaurant. Pat knew what each ordered. When asked how he knew that, he just laughed.

Spring Training Fun Facts
Larry Bowa has been a minor league player, major league player, coach, manager and coach again during Phillies spring training camps. His first big league camp was 1967. He wore #53.

Play Ball!

Kevin Frandsen dives for a ball Friday in Clearwater.

Yet, another photographic gem from Phillies photographer, Miles Kennedy. Kevin Fransden, a hard-nosed back-up infielder, goes all out in practice. Don’t see that very often.

Camp Notes
Squad game at Bright House Field at 12 noon today . . . Jimmy Rollins is taping a Mizuno commercial on the half-field . . . All the Phillies broadcasters are in camp and will meet with Ryno following the game, a chance for the broadcasters to get briefed on the players and the manager’s philosophy . . . First Grapefruit League game is tomorrow afternoon, visiting Blue Jays at 1 (radio, television, mlb.com). 70% chance of rain is forecast . . . Chris Coste, the new baseball coach at Concordia (MN) College, will throw out the first ball, along with Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos . . . Annual meeting with the Major League Baseball Players Association will be held in the clubhouse beginning 8:30 in the morning.

Opening Day Countdown
34 more says until the Phillies open the season in Texas, against the Rangers.

So, who are the most notable Phillies to wear that number? Paul Byrd, Barry Lersch, Tom Underwood, Gary Matthews, Kevin Millwood, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay. Best of the group? Easy, Doc, author of two no-hitters, first pitcher in Phillies history to have a pair. Just think, three no-hitters were tossed by a Phillie wearing this number: Doc’s two and Millwood’s, the last no-hitter in Veterans Stadium. A.J. Burnett is currently wearing #34.

Spring Training Fun Fact
Chase Utley wore #80 in his first spring training camp at Jack Russell Memorial Stadium in 2000.

Cool

Pitchers work on fielding drills during workouts Sunday in Clearwater.
Another terrific photo from Phillies photographer, Miles Kennedy…..pitchers working out at Carpenter Field. Cool Stuff isn’t a caption for the image. It’s a mobile unit from which fans can purchase Phillies souvenirs at the minor league camp.

3 Phases
Spring training has three phases from my experience: can’t wait to start, can’t wait to start playing games and can’t wait to start the season.

Well, phase II is coming up.

Today is a short workout day as the annual team golf tournament takes place in the afternoon. Rumor has it that the Golf Channel and Comedy Channel have both declined to televise the event.

Tomorrow, a squad game starting at 12 noon. Bright House Field gates open at 11 a.m. Parking and admission is free. Following the game, the annual Clearwater Chamber of Commerce VIP Reception will take place at the ballpark . Invitation only.

Camp Notes
Two more Alumni arrived today….Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs, the new broadcasters who will team with Tom McCarthy on television. Debut is Wednesday when the Grapefruit League season begins with Blue Jays visiting from Dunedin. Gates open at 10:35 p.m. . . . Guess who arrived on Saturday…….big and green. Yep Phillie Phanatic is here for the entire spring, a first.

Birthday Week
Today: RHP J. D. Durbin (32).

Tuesday: INF Danny Cater (74)

Wednesday: RHP Ron Negray (84)

Thursday: RHP Scott Mathieson (30), RHP Cliff Politte (40), OF Matt Stairs (46), C-1B John Wockenfuss (65)

Saturday: LHP Omar Daal (42)

Sunday: OF Ron Gant (49), SS Chico Fernandez (82)

Spring Training Fun Fact
Greatest trade the Phillies ever made in spring training took place tomorrow, 1972, obtaining Steve Carlton from the Cardinals for Rick Wise.

Great moments in Phillies history can be found daily on http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

Also on this webpage is a feature “Phillies alumni fondly remember Jim Fregosi.”

LA Tutoring Hurlers

Andersen1801Broadcaster Larry Andersen, serving time as a guest instructor for Ryno’s first spring training camp, always has a quick answer.

When asked the last time he was in uniform, “Last month in Phantasy Camp.” Well, it is true but what about real baseball? “1997 right here in the minor league camp.” That season he was the pitching coach for the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons. That ended his career in a uniform as he joined the team’s broadcasting team in 1998.

LA can be seen hanging out by the seven pitching mounds at Carpenter Complex, observing and giving tips to the hurlers. A great reliever, he’s paying special attention to the bullpen guys, particularly Aumont.

Pretty soon he’ll trade in his glove for a microphone and join his partner, Scott Franzke, on radio broadcasts. This is their seventh year of being together.

Camp Notes
Players began eye screen tests in the morning and will continue again tomorrow morning . . . A pet calendar, with proceeds benefitting charity, is on the docket for this season. First photo sessions took place today at Bright House Field . . . Pitchers continue to build up arm strength, hitters continue to take BP, fielders continue fielding drills……all in a day’s work today . . . Daily workouts at Carpenter Complex continue this weekend, great opportunity for fans to attend. Free admission and free parking.

Big Bucks
Came across the following on broadandpattison.com: “1917: The Phillies sign Grover Cleveland Alexander to a 2-year contract said to be the highest ever paid to a pitcher — local press estimated it to be around $12,500 per year.”

From the Phillies archives: Following the 1972 season in which Steve Carlton went 27-10, the Phillies signed him to a one-year, $165,000 contract, the most ever for a pitcher.

How times have changed.

Spring Training Fun Fact
Every player and coach has two red new batting practice jerseys and two pair of pants, one gray and one pinstriped. A total of 250 batting practice jerseys were brought to camp.

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