Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

Amaro Signs Four-Year Extension

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It’s official.

Ruben Amaro Jr. has signed a four-year contract extension with the Phillies. There will be a 10 a.m. news conference today at Bright House Field.

“Since becoming our general manager in November of 2008, Ruben has done an outstanding job,” Phillies president David Montgomery said in a statement. “He has been an excellent leader for our baseball operations personnel, surrounding himself with a very capable staff which he uses very well. Ruben has shown great judgment in his player moves and enjoys a strong relationship with Charlie, our coaches and the players.”

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The Phillies have a split squad today. Here are the lineups:

  • Home vs. Tampa Bay: Jimmy Rollins SS, Shane Victorino CF, Placido Polanco 3B, Ben Francisco LF, Delwyn Young RF, Carlos Ruiz C, Matt Miller DH, Jim Murphy 1B, Michael Martinez 2B.
  • Road vs. Pittsburgh: Pete Orr 2B, Ross Gload DH, Raul Ibanez LF, Ryan Howard 1B, Brandon Moss RF, John Mayberry Jr. CF, Wilson Valdez 3B, Erik Kratz C, Freddy Galvis SS.

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Fastball, Fastball, Fastball: Getting Lidge on Track

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Let’s take a look at Brad Lidge‘s Grapefruit League appearances since he joined the Phillies before the 2008 season:

  • 2008: 0
  • 2009: 9
  • 2010: 0
  • 2011: 5 (so far)

Lidge is healthy this spring, which hasn’t been the case in previous springs. He is hopeful his good health this year will put him in position to have a successful season. But for the moment he is searching for his fastball. He allowed three hits, two runs and one walk in one inning today against the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium. Lidge is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA (five earned runs in five innings) this spring.

“It comes down to this,” he said afterward. “It’s a pretty easy assessment so far. I feel like I can throw my slider on a dime, in and out of the zone, up and down where I need to. My fastball is garbage. It’s that simple.”

Lidge threw 20 pitches to Orioles hitters. He threw 19 fastballs.

“I have to work on my fastball,” Lidge said. “I’m not sure what my stats are, but Spring Trainings have been very ugly for me as a general rule. I take a while to ramp up velocity and control on my fastball. Even with being healthy it takes a while. Hopefully I’ll get a few more outings and get where I need to be. If I don’t feel good on March 31 I still don’t care. If I don’t feel good on April 1 then I care.”

“Tell them not to worry,” Charlie Manuel said about fans concerned about Lidge’s spring numbers. “I ain’t going to worry.”

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A look at the Phillies’ options to replace Chase Utley.

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Amaro Close to Deal, Phillies Make First Cuts

The Phillies locked up Charlie Manuel through 2013 when he signed a two-year contract extension yesterday.

Ruben Amaro Jr. is next.

Sources indicated today the Phillies and Amaro are close to a multiyear extension. An announcement could come in the next couple days.

Amaro, 46, replaced Pat Gillick as general manager following the 2008 World Series championship. He previously served as assistant general manager for 10 years under Ed Wade and Gillick.

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The Phillies made their first Spring Training roster moves today, optioning or reassigning 16 players to Minor League camp.

The number quickly dropped to 15 when the Phillies reassigned Robb Quinlan and his agent asked for his release. The Phillies granted it.

The Phillies also reassigned right-handers Brian Bass, Eddie Bonine, Andrew Carpenter and Michael Schwimer; left-hander Ryan Feierabend; catcher Joel Naughton; infielders Tagg Bozied and Quinlan; and outfielder Matt Miller.

The Phillies optioned seven players to Minor League camp: right-handers Justin De Fratus, Drew Naylor and J.C. Ramirez; infielders Harold Garcia, Cesar Hernandez, Carlos Rivero and Matt Rizzotti.

The Phillies are taking a little longer look at right-hander Michael Stutes, who has pitched well this spring. He has a 1.50 ERA in four Grapefruit League appearances. Opponents have hit .143 against him. The only other non-roster invitees still in big-league camp are left-handers Dan Meyer and Juan Perez. Meyer has a .600 ERA in three appearances, although opponents have hit .182 against him. Perez has a 3.00 ERA in three appearances, and opponents have hit just .077 against him.

The Phillies are looking for a second left-hander to pitch in the bullpen. They currently only have J.C. Romero.

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Brown Going Back to What Got Him Here

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Domonic Brown made a significant change before he broke his right hand fouling off a pitch Saturday.

He returned his hands to where they were when he crushed pitching in the Minor Leagues.

Brown had fiddled with the positioning of his hands in his stance since Spring Training started last month. He had held them high in the past, but lowered them this spring because the Phillies felt it would shorten his swing and allow him to better handle certain pitches. But Brown never felt comfortable and the positioning changed game to game, occasionally at-bat to at-bat. He went hitless with nine strikeouts in his first 15 Grapefruit League at-bats before singling up the middle Saturday.

“I just said, ‘Forget it. I’m going back to what got me here,'” Brown said this morning at Bright House Field. “That’s the key for me. The other thing did not work with the hands down. That’s going to take time, and I really don’t have time to spare like that, especially coming from Winter Ball. I didn’t have enough time to prepare myself with the lower hand angle.”

Brown had surgery on his hand Tuesday. He could be back in four to six weeks.

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Manuel Signs Two-Year Extension

It’s official.

Charlie Manuel has signed a two-year contract extension with the Phillies. Manuel is signed through the 2013 season. Terms were not discolosed, but it is believed to be in the $7 million to $8 million range.

“We are pleased to have come to terms with Charlie,” Amaro said in a statement. “He has been an integral part of the success we’ve had over the past several years. There was little doubt that he was going to continue to be our skipper past his current contract and we look forward to the next three years with the hopes of continued success.”

The Phillies have had the best record in the National League (544-428) since Manuel’s first season in 2005. He also has led the team to four consecutive National League East titles (2007-10), two NL pennants (2008-09) and one World Series Championship (2008).

Manuel is one of only two managers in NL history to win four-straight division titles since divisional play began in 1969 (Bobby Cox won 14-straight with Atlanta, 1991-93; 1995-2005).

Manuel and Amaro will meet with reporters at 10 a.m. to discuss the deal.

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From yesterday: the Phillies react to Chase Utley‘s injury and Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge said Utley should be ready to play through a lot of pain this season.

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Manuel Close to Two-Year Extension

Charlie Manuel is close to a two-year contract extension with the Phillies.

He said “there is a good chance” an announcement could come before the end of the weekend.

“We’re close, but it’s not official,” Manuel said today. “We’re close. … In some ways, I’m kind of glad to have it over with. I want to stay focused on what we’re doing. I’ve never thought about doing anything else.”

Manuel, whose contract likely will be in the $7 million to $8 million range, said this could be his final contract as manager.

“I set the length of time on the deal because I’ll be 69 when the deal runs out,” said Manuel, who turned 67 in January. “I’ll sit down and kind of evaluate where I’m at. I’ll talk to them. We’ll see where they’re at. As long as I stay healthy and stuff like that I’m probably going to want to stay in the game. More than likely, I’m going to manage as long as I can. I’m not ready for somebody to say, ‘I’m going to retire Charlie.’ If I’m going to retire, I’m going to retire myself.”

CSNPhilly.com first reported an agreement is near.

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Utley Addresses His Injured Knee

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Chase Utley just spoke with reporters about the right knee that has sidelined him indefinitely.

Here is some of what he said:

Q: Have you felt any better?
A: As you all know I had a cortisone shot about a week ago or so. I got a little bit of relief from it. Not as much as I was anticipating. So on that front nothing has changed a whole lot. I’m still taking practice. I’m still playing catch. Just trying to take it easy on my legs right now and go from there.

Q: How much do you know about the issues you have?
A: Well, it’s something I’m trying to educate myself more and more on. Trying to get as many opinions as possible on how to treat it. There’s no black and white here. It’s something you have to deal with. And obviously it’s a little frustrating right now, but we have to look at the big picture and try to get this resolved, obviously quickly, but also be in good spirits for the long run.

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Statement from Phillies on Chase Utley

Phillies team physician Michael Ciccotti issued the following statement regarding Chase Utley‘s health status:

“Chase has had mild patellar tendinitis and chondromalacia in the past that have previously resolved quickly. His symptoms returned during his off-season workouts, and he developed some anterior knee pain consistent with his prior history. When he reported to spring training this year, his knee was treated as it had been in the past, however his symptoms continued. An MRI was obtained that demonstrated his prior tendinitis, chondromalacia, and bone inflammation. His chondromalacia symptoms persisted in spite of focused non-operative care, including a cortisone injection. A subsequent cartilage-specific MRI was obtained confirming the initial diagnosis. Continued non-operative treatment is being carried out and additional opinions will be obtained.”

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No Word on Utley

The silence is deafening.

Chase Utley received a cortisone injection into his right knee Friday for his patellar tendinitis. So far the Phillies and Utley have said nothing about the shot’s effectiveness — still hoping for an update later today — although the Phillies initially said they should know something before the end of last weekend. They adjusted that timetable Sunday, when they said they should know something by Monday or Tuesday.

So how much has the shot helped?

“I’ve got nothing new for you guys,” Utley said as he walked off the field following batting practice this morning at Bright House Field. “When I do, I’ll let you know.”

Ruben Amaro Jr. was unavailable to comment in the morning. Head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan provided an update on Domonic Brown‘s hand surgery, but did not field questions on Utley’s knee.

Utley took batting practice as normal today, but remains unable to run or take fielding practice. He has missed the team’s first 12 Grapefruit League games, and there are no indications he is close to playing anytime soon.

As soon as I hear something on Utley’s condition I will let you know.

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Brown Has Successful Surgery

Domonic Brown had surgery on the fractured hook of the hamate bone in his right hand this morning.

Here is the latest from Phillies head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan:

  • Hand specialist Randall Culp performend the surgery in Philadelphia.
  • Culp removed the hamate.
  • Stitches are removed in 10 days.
  • Brown will be in a removable splint three to four weeks.
  • Sheridan said, “Normal return on a hamate excision is about four to six weeks. That return means back to playing full out in four to six weeks. The biggest issue he’s facing is how sensitive is the scar and how does he tolerate those kinds of progressions.”
  • Sheridan said when Brown returns to camp tomorrow he can return to cardio workouts immediately. After the stitches are removed, Brown can begin his progressions toward hitting. He said Brown will have to do “scar management” things to desensitize the area. “He really can’t begin hitting or anything towards that until probably about at least two weeks.”

A Phillies spokesman said Sheridan only would answer questions about Brown today, so he offered no update on Chase Utley. Utley is in camp today and took batting practice as normal.

Update: The Phillies scratched Ben Francisco from today’s lineup because of a sore neck. Francisco said it wasn’t serious.

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