Results tagged ‘ Brad Lidge ’

Romero Looks Sharp

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for j.c. romero.jpgThere is some concern about the Phillies’ bullpen with Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero opening the season on the disabled list. Lidge pitches in his fifth Minor League Spring Training game tomorrow, which means he might need five just more outings before he is ready to join the Phillies.

Romero pitched in his first game today at the Carpenter Complex. He looked sharp. He retired the four batters he faced, needing just 13 pitches to do it.

“Today was a big step for me,” Romero said. “I was very pleased with the outcome today. The good thing is that I was throwing a lot of strikes. My arm speed was outstanding.”

Rich Dubee said Romero’s arm speed is progressingly more quickly than Lidge’s. He said he is not concerned about Lidge.

“Two different surgeries,” Dubee explained. “Two different individuals. … Power guys, especially closers, they come a little bit slower. A lot of them come with adrenaline also. Billy Wagner was one of the best. He was one of the finest at looking absolutely awful in Spring Training. He didn’t have arm speed and he didn’t have adrenaline. Closers pitch off a lot of adrenaline.”

Romero earlier this spring said he could rejoin the team for its April 12-18 homestand against the Nationals and Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. He said he is more confident following Monday’s outing that he can be back in time for the team’s first homestand.

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Joe Blanton allowed 11 hits, 11 runs, 10 earned runs and three walks in 5 innings in a Minor League intrasquad game. He struck out two. … J.A. Happ allowed three hits, two runs and five walks and struck out four in five innings against the Braves at Bright House Field. Happ did not think he missed the strike zone by much. Dubee agreed. … Ryan Madson threw a 3-0 fastball to Eric Hinske, who hit a game-winning solo homer in the top of the ninth. Madson is 1-1 with a 6.43 ERA this spring. “He was dead today,” Dubee said. “Yeah, just a little dead. Everybody goes through stages this time in Spring Training.”

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Good Thursday for Kendrick, Big Friday for Moyer


Thumbnail image for kendrick 0308.jpgCharlie Manuel
insisted today that the Phillies haven’t talked about the fifth spot in their rotation.

Nope, not once.

(Insert “Really?!? with Seth & Amy” here.)

But the decision is near. Believe that much. In fact, it could be pretty clear after Jamie Moyer pitches tomorrow night against the Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. If he pitches OK, the job could be his. If he gets knocked around, things get a little more interesting.

Kyle Kendrick, who is competing with Moyer for the job, impressed again today in an 8-7 victory over the Astros at Bright House Field. Kendrick struggled with his command early and arguably had his worst stuff of the spring but allowed five hits, two runs (one earned run) and two walks in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out one. Kendrick has an impressive 1.37 ERA after five Grapefruit League appearances. Moyer has a 3.86 ERA in four spring appearances, which includes on Grapefruit League and three B game starts.

Big night for Moyer on Friday?

“I don’t know,” Manuel said. “I don’t think so. Not really.”

Really?!?

The Phillies announced on March 31 last year that Chan Ho Park had edged J.A. Happ for the fifth spot in the rotation. It would not be a surprise to see the Phillies make this year’s announcement around the same time with Kendrick scheduled to make his final Grapefruit League start next Tuesday.

“I’m pleased with the way Kyle is throwing the ball, but I also know there’s a track record on the other guy,” Rich Dubee said.

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A couple notes from today:

  • Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero are expected to open the season on the DL. No surprise there. The Phillies can backdate DL stints to March 26, which means today would have been the last day they could have pitched in a Grapefruit League game. The earliest Lidge or Romero are eligible to pitch is April 10 in Houston. There remains a chance Lidge could be ready to pitch in Houston, but Romero still hasn’t appeared in a Minor League Spring Training game. He is further behind.
  • Roy Halladay allowed seven hits, two runs and one walk and struck out seven in seven innings in a Minor League Spring Training game against the Yankees in Tampa. He threw 98 pitches. Halladay will make his final Grapefruit League start Wednesday against the Blue Jays at Bright House Field. He makes his Phillies debut April 5 on Opening Day in DC.
  • Left-hander Antonio Bastardo allowed two hits, three runs, one walk and one home run in one inning. He struck out two. He has a 7.71 ERA in six Grapefruit League appearances. “I can’t say a whole lot of our guys have been real sharp the last time out,” Rich Dubee said. “I think we’re at that point right now in Spring Training where guys are going through a little bit of a dead arm and dead body period, which is fine. I’d rather they hit it now than the first week of the season.”

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Thanks to WIP’s Howard Eskin and Ike Reese for having me on today to talk about the Phillies and my book.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Moyer Makes His Case

moyer 0321.jpgLike the rest of us, Jamie Moyer does not know how the Phillies will pick their fifth starter.

But he made a strong case for himself today at Bright House Field. He allowed five hits and one run and struck out six in five innings in a 5-4 loss to the Orioles. It was Moyer’s first Grapefruit League appearance after making three starts in B games. In a combined 14 innings, he has allowed six earned runs for a 3.86 ERA. Kyle Kendrick, his sole competitor for the job, has allowed two runs in 14 innings in four Grapefruit League appearances for a 1.29 ERA.

The Phillies said a few weeks ago that Moyer had the edge over Kendrick because of his experience.

Still true?

“I think they’ve both got two more starts,” Charlie Manuel said. “I think it’ll play out. I think we’ll do what’s best for our club and everything. I like how Kendrick has improved, but at the same time Jamie’s healthy and in the next couple starts we’ll see where he’s at.”

“Basically it’s what’s best for us and how we line up as a team,” Rich Dubee said.

If Moyer pitches well in his next two starts and Kendrick struggles, Moyer gets the job. If Kendrick finishes the spring with a 1.29 ERA and Moyer finishes the spring with a 3.86 ERA, I’ve got to think Moyer still gets the job. If Moyer struggles and Kendrick pitches well Kendrick has the edge.

And if Moyer struggles in the rotation once the season starts, Kendrick could be this year’s J.A. Happ and take his place. But it makes some baseball sense to start Moyer in the rotation: 1) Moyer is better suited for the rotation than the bullpen; 2) This gives him a chance to prove himself; 3) If he struggles and returns to the bullpen the Phillies can say they gave him a fair shot.

The edge: Moyer

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Dubee said Cole Hamels, who was scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game, would pitch tomorrow against the Yankees. Joe Blanton, who originally had been scheduled to pitch tomorrow, will pitch Tuesday. … Dubee also said Brad Lidge will pitch in a Minor League game tomorrow and J.C. Romero will pitch in a simulated game Tuesday.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Lidge Feels Good, Shoots for Houston Series

lidge spring.jpgBrad Lidge threw 16 pitches in a Double A Spring Training game today at the Carpenter Complex. He allowed three hits and one run in one inning.

But forget about the line for a second. Lidge is trying to build arm speed, so his fastball isn’t where it should be. His slider isn’t, either.

“All in all for my first outing I would say I was pretty pleased,” he said. “My knee felt real strong. A couple location problems. The command isn’t really spectacular right now. I’m pleased with where my arm is, it’s just going to take however many more outings to get behind the ball and get through it to get the velocity going. But in terms of problems, no. I was very encouraged there were no problems.

“I’m trying to develop arm speed right now. There are going to be times when I go to my good slider to get a swing and a miss on a 0-2 pitch, but I’ve got to throw fastballs right now. So I’ve got to force myself to do it, even it means they get a hit here or there. I’m not really concerned about that. I’m concerned about getting my arm speed to keep progressing.”

Lidge figures he needs about nine more appearances this spring to be ready to pitch in a regular-season game. And that means Opening Day is a long shot. Lidge said a more realistic target is the April 9-11 series in Houston.

“It’s going to be really tough to be ready for the opener,” he said. “In my mind I’m still shooting for it, but I don’t know if that’s realistic. I definitely will like I’ll be ready for (the April 12-15 series against the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park) if I progress the way it should. … I want to be out there as much as I can, but we’ve got a deep bullpen. Obviously, we’ve got guys that can get it done while J.C. (Romero) and I are getting our arm speed back. If we were on a bubble team and we had to be ready from Day 1 that’s one thing, but I think our team can cover just about anybody at any position for a week or two. That’s the fortunate part of being on a team as good as us.”

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The Good Phight is giving away a few copies of my book

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Forget about the NCAA tournament. Somebody actually come up with a bracket of the top 65 Phillies blogs. I didn’t even know there were that many Phillies blogs. I’m honored to be in the Salisbury Region.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Romero, Lidge Updates

J.C. Romero threw 40 pitches in a bullpen session this morning in Clearwater. Roughly 12 pitchers were breaking balls, the first time he had thrown them this spring.

“Great,” Rich Dubee said. “He threw fine today.”

Next for Romero?

“We’ll see if he throws Tuesday or Wednesday,” Dubee said. “We’ll see how he responds. It’s the first time he’s throwing breaking balls. If he’s doing all right, maybe Wednesday could be a chance to see some hitters. If not, maybe Wednesday he’ll throw another side. But he was good today. Very good.”

Brad Lidge will start the Double A Spring Training game Thursday. J.A. Happ will start the Triple A game.

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Good luck to Scott Lauber, who is leaving the Wilmington News-Journal to cover the Red Sox for the Boston Herald. He spent his final minutes on the beat at Frenchy’s Cafe in Clearwater.

You can’t get grouper sandwiches in Fort Myers, dude!

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Romero Unlikely for Opening Day, Shooting for First Homestand


romero softball.jpgJ.C. Romero
said he feels fine, but he also said he has just one chance to do this right.

So he said this morning at Bright House Field that he does not expect to be ready by Opening Day on April 5 in Washington. Instead, he said he hopes to join the team for its first home series April 12-15 against the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park.

Romero’s likely absence from the Opening Day roster means there are at least two jobs available in the bullpen — three, if Brad Lidge also is not ready. But no Romero certainly gives an advantage to left-handers like Antonio Bastardo, Sergio Escalona and Mike Zagurski because the Phillies have no other left-handers in the bullpen.

“Everything is moving in the right direction,” Romero said. “But to be realistic, I know I want to break camp with the team, but I realize the time is against me. That’s not good, but I’m very optimistic about being with the team by the first homestand. I think they can deal without me for the first road trip. And that’s better for the team.”

And for himself.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Breaking Down Howard

howard 0824.jpgIn case you missed it, you should read Tom Verducci‘s story on Ryan Howard.

The gist: Howard saw more breaking balls last season than any hitter in baseball, and 49 percent more than any other left-handed hitter. He saw left-handed pitchers in 35.8 percent of his plate appearances, compared to the average left-handed hitter, who saw them 18.5 percent of the time. Howard also got a breaking ball 39.7 percent of the time, 57 percent more often than the average player.

Howard’s percentage of breaking pitches also has jumped every year since he reached the big leagues: 20.54 percent in 2004, 21.34 percent in ’05, 29.17 percent in ’06, 33.62 percent in ’07, 31.49 percent in ’08 and 39.66 percent in ’09. He saw breaking balls an astounding 57.4 percent of the time against the New York Yankees in the ’09 World Series, when he struck out a Fall Classic-record 13 times.

So what’s the cure?

“I don’t want to speak about Ryan, but usually most hitters, if they make the adjustment to the pitch, they are less apt to see as many,” Pirates manager John Russell said. “Any pitcher is going to try to exploit any weakness of any hitter, especially a big power hitter. Most times with notorious power hitters, you try to pound them in and go soft away. At least that’s what it’s been since I’ve been around.”

Milt Thompson said he plans to set up the pitching machine, put Howard in the cage during the days he does not play in the Grapefruit League and let him see breaking balls.

One after another.

Over and over and over.

“We have to let him see them if he is going to see a lot of them,” Thompson said. “He looks good right now. I think he’s going to be fine.”

Both Thompson and Charlie Manuel said the best antidote to the breaking-ball diet is patience.

Howard must wait for a good pitch to hit.

Howard has not walked more than 81 times the previous two years.

“He should get 150, easy,” Thompson said.

“I know he can hit them,” Manuel said. “When he stays on them, he can hit them. When he hit .313 in 2006 and had 58 homers, he hit breaking balls, sliders, changeups. As long as he follows the ball, tracks the ball and stays on it … as long as he keeps his balance, he can make contact. I’m not worried about it, because he will find a way to hit those. He can hit them. He’s already showed me that he can.

“But I don’t want to talk to him about walking. I want to talk to him about getting good balls to hit. If he gets good balls to hit, he will walk. It’s like telling Jimmy Rollins to walk more. Jimmy Rollins is a good hitter. I want him to get good balls to hit. Don’t swing at high fastballs out of the strike zone and things like that. Howard is a big strong power hitter. The walks will come if he gets good balls to hit and works the count.”

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Brad Lidge said this morning he hopes to start throwing to hitters soon.

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Shane Victorino is not on the travel roster to Tampa to play the Yankees tomorrow afternoon. Otherwise everybody else is headed to George M. Steinbrenner Field.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Lazy Sunday

Halladay slides.jpg

Roy Halladay, who has hit .079 (3-for-38) with two runs and one RBI in his career, participates in sliding drills this morning at the Carpenter Complex.

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J.C. Romero and Brad Lidge both threw off the mound this morning. Both said it went well. Both said being ready by Opening Day remains their goal, although they also said they will be careful. Lidge is further along than Romero, so it stands to reason that Lidge has a better chance of being ready. But it’s still very early, and it sounds like neither will push it. Makes sense.

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I just finished an interview with The 700 Level, which was fun. They also gave my book a nice review, which was great. What? You haven’t picked up a copy yet? (In my best Judge Smails voice) Well … we’re waiting.<a href="" center;" text-align: auto; 10px margin: block;

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: Philadelphia Phillies” is available online, and at most Delaware Valley bookstores NOW!

Ready to Go

werth 01.jpg

The Phillies’ first full squad workout is tomorrow and everybody is here. Jimmy Rollins, Jayson Werth and Greg Dobbs arrived today for physicals. The first game action is March 3 against Florida State at Bright House Field. The first Grapefruit League game is March 4 against the Yankees at Bright House Field.

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Brad Lidge threw a bullpen session this morning as scheduled. He is believed to be ahead of schedule and remains a possibility to be on the Opening Day roster.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: Philadelphia Phillies” is available online, and will be in Delaware Valley bookstores SOON!

Lidge to Throw Monday, Ahead of Schedule


lidge 0210 2010.jpgBrad Lidge
will begin throwing off a mound Monday, which puts him ahead of schedule.

Lidge is recovering from offseason knee and elbow surgeries. He said earlier this week he is about two weeks behind schedule, but the fact he is going to be throwing Monday would indicate he still has a chance to be ready by Opening Day.

Lidge will throw about 20 fastballs off the mound.

“Having not seen him, I didn’t think so,” said pitching coach Rich Dubee, asked if he thought Lidge would be on the mound so early. “Having reports from where he was, all the reports were good. All his workouts from Colorado were fantastic. He was feeling no pain. The doctors came to see him. They’ve tested and examined and moved him a little bit. He’s doing fine. Is he a little ahead of schedule? I would say so, yeah.”

J.C. Romero is recovering from elbow surgery. Romero said earlier this week he should be 100 percent by the second week of March.

“J.C. will get on a mound eventually, not far behind (Lidge),” Dubee said. “J.C. did some agility stuff today. J.C. will start taking part. We’re just trying to watch him throw during his PFP (pitcher’s fielding practice) stuff. He’s doing fine.”

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Thanks to We Should Be GMs for plugging my book. It’s appreciated, guys!

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: Philadelphia Phillies” is available online, and will be in Delaware Valley bookstores in late February/early March.

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