Results tagged ‘ Charlie Manuel ’
- Utley feels comfortable enough to play there.
- The Phillies fall from contention in the National League Wild Card race. That could happen quickly. The Phillies entered Monday’s series opener against the Mets at Citi Field four games out of the second National League Wild Card with just 15 games to play.
“I think I’ve been out there three or four times,” Utley said, referring to his pregame workouts at third base. “Every time I get a little more comfortable. But I think there’s still a lot of work to be done. So far it’s going well. I feel like I’ve progressed a little bit, but there’s still more room for improvement.”
Utley is taking this potential move seriously. He spoke with Ruben Amaro Jr. and Charlie Manuel in Manuel’s office before batting practice. He later spoke with Mets third baseman David Wright behind the batting cage with Wright even crouching into a defensive position as he offered advice.
“I think he’s doing fine,” Amaro said of Utley.
Fine enough to play third base next season?
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Amaro said.
Asked if the Phillies can learn enough about Utley at third base if he plays just a couple games there before the end of the season, Amaro said, “Realistically, I don’t think so. But if he really dedicates himself to doing it, I think the probability of him being able to do it is much higher than it is with other people. I think more than anything else this is finding out if in fact he feels comfortable enough doing it. Having him play third base just gives us another option. And what’s wrong with giving us another option?”
Both Amaro and Manuel agree the Phillies are better defensively in 2013 with Freddy Galvis at second base and Utley at third base, despite the uncertainty of Utley’s ability to play there. Certainly if they feel Utley can play third base it would give the Phillies one less thing to worry about in the offseason, which would be a plus because Amaro said the market for third basemen via trade or free agency is “not very good.”
But here’s the big question: If Utley only plays a couple games at third base and Amaro does not think he can truly evaluate Utley’s ability to play there based on just a couple games, how do the Phillies go into the offseason knowing Utley is their 2013 third baseman?
“I don’t necessarily,” Amaro said. “It becomes riskier. Then you take a risk sometimes. Sometimes it’s OK to take a risk.”
Ruiz had been on the disabled list since Aug. 3 with plantar fasciitis in his left foot before the Phillies activated him today. The Phillies plan to ease back Ruiz slowly, using him as a pinch-hitter this weekend before working him in as a defensive replacement. He could start once or twice a week once he gets comfortable.
“We definitely want to be careful with him,” Charlie Manuel said. “What he’s got is something that if he’s on his feet for a long time, if he’s moving a lot, he gets real tight.”
But the Phillies said there is little risk playing Ruiz the remainder of the season.
“If it was going to hurt him, we wouldn’t do it,” Manuel said. “But they feel like it’s not going to hurt him.”
Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock concurred.
“I think we’re very comfortable with the fact that I don’t think he’s going to do any further damage,” he said. “But he hasn’t played so I think it’s just something that we’re going to … hopefully he can come out and contribute a little bit and get back in a rhythm and be ready to go for next year. I think it’s important that he gets back out on the field.”
And why is that?
“I think for him, and I think he still has a chance to help us,” Proefrock said. “As long of a shot as it is, we’re not out of this. He can contribute. He’s an important part of our offense.”
Said Ruiz: “I know everybody was concerned that maybe I was done for the year, but I was thinking that I would try really hard to come back because I want to finish. Now I’m happy that I got activated. I’m ready to go. I want to finish the season. I want to go home happy. I told myself I have to finish playing and then relax and be ready for next year. I was really sad in last six weeks. Now I have the chance to get back in the lineup.”
They emerged seven minutes later with smiles on their faces. They appeared to have reached an understanding for the second time in as many weeks about one of Manuel’s two team rules: hustle. Manuel benched Rollins in yesterday’s 3-2 victory over the Mets at Citizens Bank Park because he did not hustle to first base after popping up a ball in the infield in the sixth inning.
“He walked in there and manned up,” Manuel said. “He said he was wrong and apologized to me. “
“You break the rules, that was the punishment,” Rollins said. “Plan and simple. It’s really that simple.”
It should be, but the incident came exactly two weeks after Manuel called Rollins into his office after not hustling during a game in Miami.
So the question is why does this keep happening?
Why can’t Rollins just hustle?
He had committed similar sins long before they signed him to a three-year, $33 million contract in December.
He has been pulled from games before for not hustling. He has been scratched from the lineup for being late to the ballpark. Charlie Manuel spoke with Rollins in Milwaukee on Aug. 16 after Rollins strolled to first base in the sixth inning and did not appear to try to break up a double play in the eighth inning in an Aug. 15 game in Miami.
Manuel said that afternoon in Milwaukee, “He should be running hard from now on. We’ll see.”
But exactly two weeks later Manuel pulled Rollins from today’s 3-2 victory over the New York Mets when Rollins did not hustle to first base on an infield popup in the sixth inning. Rollins immediately dropped his head upon contact and lightly jogged to first. Only when Mets pitcher Jonathon Niese dropped the ball did Rollins pick up his pace.
In other words, Polanco, who has been an everyday player the majority of his 15-year career, is a bench guy.
Polanco said today that Manuel called him into his office to tell him about his decision.
“If I can’t play, I can’t play,” said Polanco, who has battled a back problem and other injuries this season. “He’s the manager. Right now, my hands are tied. I can’t really say much. I played the other day (Aug. 22) and I hurt it again. What am I going to say? Put me in? I told him, if I was healthy then this would be another conversation. But I’m not healthy.”
The Phillies have a $5.5 million option or a $1 million buyout on Polanco’s contract next season. The Phillies will take the buyout, which is one reason why Chase Utley is thinking about giving third base a try. That leaves Polanco’s future in baseball uncertain. He said he does not know what is going to happen, but he would like to play if he is healthy.
That is a big if.
“I have a lot of energy, I love the game and this is what I’ve been doing my entire life,” said Polanco, who estimates he has received about 10 cortisone injections over the course of his career. “But I have to be healthy. If I’m not healthy they can offer me $100 million and I’m not going to go out there.”
He certainly seemed amped before, during and afterward.
Papelbon struck out three in 1 1/3 innings in a 4-3 victory over the Brewers at Miller Park. He threw 15 pitches (13 strikes). He also threw three sliders and one splitter to keep Brewers hitters guessing. A first-pitch slider for a strike to Brewers first baseman Corey Hart started the ninth and set up the rest of the inning because the Brewers now had to worry about the slider and not just the fastball.
Papelbon has been throwing his slider a bit more recently for just that reason.
Asked why the Phillies chose to have Papelbon pitch a four-out save Saturday – the Phillies also had a four-out save situation Thursday but the Phillies chose Josh Lindblom instead – Manuel said it made sense because Papelbon had not pitched since Tuesday in Miami.
“He had rest,” he said. “I liked where we were at in the game. I liked the matchup. Like I said the other night, Papelbon when we bring him in we can’t be getting him four-out situations and a big amount of pitches because that kills him for two or three days. How many pitches did he throw? 15? OK, yeah. He’s fine for tomorrow.
“He was good. His stuff was good.”
“Sure,” he said in front of his locker today at Miller Park.
But Charlie Manuel pulled Rollins into his office several hours before their game against the Brewers to discuss two plays in yesterday’s 9-2 loss to the Marlins at Marlins Park: plays noticed in the dugout and back home in Philadelphia. The first play came in the sixth inning on a ground out. The second play came in the eighth inning when it appeared Rollins did not try to break up a double play.
“We have two rules,” Manuel said. “Hustle and be on time. We’ll see. That’s all I have to say. That’s between Jimmy and me. I don’t want it blown up real big. What I tell him is between him and I.
“He should be running hard from now on. We’ll see.”
Rollins explained both plays.
After that, it’s anybody’s guess.
He planned to drive to Clearwater, Fla., following today’s series finale against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. He will begin a rehab assignment tomorrow with Class A Clearwater, playing six innings in the field. He will DH on Friday, play nine innings in the field Saturday and fly to Philadelphia on Sunday.
He expects to be activated from the 15-day disabled list Monday. Polanco has been on the DL since July 23 because of lower back inflammation. He said he feels 100 percent, although he has some lingering tightness.
“I don’t feel anything that I had, the pinching, the strain,” he said.
Polanco said he believes he can play every day upon his return.
“I expect to be the everyday third baseman, but what I expect and what is going to happen could be two different things,” he said.
Charlie Manuel said earlier this week it is unlikely Polanco can play every day because of his back. Kevin Frandsen also has played well at third base. He entered today’s series finale hitting .315 with one home run and two RBIs. But Polanco is a superior defensive third baseman, and certainly Phillies pitchers would like to see him on the field.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Polanco said. “I just want to be healthy for whatever. If he plays me he plays me. If not …”
Roy Halladay is pitching the rest of the season.
Halladay answered questions Saturday about the chances he might be shut down the remainder of the year, considering the team has no chance to make the postseason and Halladay missed seven weeks because of an injured right back muscle. After all, wouldn’t it make sense to save some bullets for next season when the games matter?
“We’re not thinking about doing that,” Charlie Manuel said. “I don’t have to answer that no more. He’s not going to get shut down.”
The Phillies said encasing Halladay in bubble wrap would be counterproductive.
“My goal right now for Roy Halladay is pitch on a regular basis and get back to being who he used to be,” Rich Dubee said. “He’s fought some injuries. He’s developed some bad habits. He’s got these two months to hopefully wean himself off those bad habits and retrain himself. That’s why it’s important for him to pitch. He’s healthy. He’s felt stronger than he has in a long time. He’s got to retrain himself so he gets back into that proper arm slot.”
Halladay’s arm angle dropped about six inches before he landed on the disabled list in May, a byproduct of compensating for the weakened latissimus dorsi muscle.
“You try doing that for five months,” Dubee said. “Try doing anything for five months. Walk upside down for five months then try to walk the right way. It’s going to take you a while to break that bad habit.”
Dubee said based on what he has seen from Halladay in his previous two starts he is convinced Halladay will return to prior form.
“Absolutely,” he said.
Halladay is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in his last two starts, allowing nine hits, three runs, two walks and striking out 12 in 13 innings.
Of course, only time will tell. But if Dubee is right it will be good news for the 2013 Phillies.
He is almost always one of the first arrivals, quickly changing into his workout gear, ready to go, chirping at whomever walks in his direction. He’s all energy all the time, ready for a laugh or a wise crack. But not yesterday. Victorino seemed oddly quiet upon his arrival, after the clubhouse had already opened to media. (I could probably count on one hand the times I’ve been in the clubhouse before him.) He changed out of his t-shirt, but otherwise remained in street clothes as he slowly walked through the clubhouse, eventually packing his red Phillies travel bag for the team’s trip to Colorado and Los Angeles after the All-Star break. (He was the only one in the clubhouse doing so.)
Maybe an hour later, Charlie Manuel posted his lineup. Victorino was hitting seventh.
Maybe an hour after that, Manuel replaced Victorino in the lineup with Jason Pridie.