Manuel Wants .300
Charlie Manuel takes that personally.
“We didn’t have a .300 hitter last year and that really (ticks) me off,” he said today at Bright House Field. “You know why? I know we’ve got five or six guys that are capable of hitting .300. Maybe more. That doesn’t mean that I’m mad at them, but I’m saying we can improve. … I kind of take it personal because I pull for every one of them to be the best hitter in baseball.”
Manuel has said repeatedly over the past several months how the Phillies were on a record scoring pace in June when they scored 20 runs against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 13. He recalls beat writers telling him how the Phillies could score more than 1,000 runs.
“You black-clouded us is what you did,” Manuel said.
We think he was kidding.
“You just brought the black cloud on us,” he said. “You were saying how we were capable of scoring 1,000 runs. And from that point on we scored 199.”
I think the Phillies will hit better this season. Ryan Howard struggled terribly early. I think he’ll get off to a better start. Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins were hampered with injuries. I think they’ll do better if they are healthy. Pat Burrell is gone and Raul Ibanez is in, and Ibanez puts the ball in play more. Carlos Ruiz is better than he hit last season, too. So I’m calling at least one .300 hitter.
And if it happens, maybe Charlie will give me a little credit after black-clouding him last year.
The Phillies have agreed to terms with lefthander Mike Zagurski, for what is believed to be the big-league minimum $400,000. Carlos Ruiz is the only 40-man roster player who remains unsigned. The Phillies and Ruiz have until March 2 to reach an agreement. If an agreement can not be reached, the Phillies simply will renew his contract. … Chase Utley took live batting practice today. Just another step forward for Utley, who expects to be ready to play Opening Day.
We Should Be GM’s does the Garbage Pail Kids: Phillies pitching edition. I clearly remember the Adam Bomb Garbage Pail Kid, which is the GPK’s signature card. I also remember being disappointed at the Odd Todd card. Lame.
The Zo Zone is No. 2 on MLB.com’s Pro Blog rankings. Thanks to everybody who has been checking us out. We’re still trying to build an audience at the new address, but I think this is a good start. If you have any suggestions, e-mail me.