Results tagged ‘ Pete Mackanin ’

Cesar’s Time: Utley Is No Longer No. 1 Second Baseman

Chase UtleyChase Utley is the greatest second baseman in Phillies history, but it appears Cesar Hernandez’s time has come.

Hernandez, 25, entered tonight’s game against the Dodgers hitting .302 (54-for-179) with 10 doubles, one triple, one home run, 19 RBIs and a .771 OPS in 71 games. Meanwhile, Utley is on the disabled list with an injured right ankle. He is hitting .179 (39-for-218) with seven doubles, one triple, four home runs, 25 RBIs and a .532 OPS in 65 games.

But is the iconic Utley, 36, still the primary second baseman when he returns from the DL?

“Not for me he’s not,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “Cesar Hernandez is our best second baseman.”

So whenever Utley returns …

“I would assume that Cesar will be our second baseman,” Amaro said. “Chase’s situation will kind of dictate itself, how he feels. There’ll be time for him to play, I think. He could play some first base. He could play some second. But as far as I’m concerned, just like what our plan has been for a long, long time, that’s to give opportunities to young men who could be part of our future. Cesar Hernandez has been one of our best players on the field right now in a variety of ways.”

Not surprisingly, Utley had little reaction about Amaro’s comments.

“Well, I think Cesar has done a really good job,” Utley said. “There you go.”

Pete Mackanin seems to be on board with Amaro. Asked for a health update on Utley before the game, Mackanin said, “I haven’t heard a word. But with Cesar playing so well, it’s not really a big deal for the simple reason that Utley has not played and seen pitching, so when he does come back … you really can’t count on him. How long has it been? Two weeks. And by the time he starts taking BP and all of that stuff, it’s probably going to be a month before he comes back in and then what do you do? I don’t know.”

Utley’s ankle has improved since a cortisone injection. He could begin baseball activities before the end of the road trip.

He also said recently he could be back on the field before the end of the month.

Nola Won’t Pitch Saturday, But He’s Coming Soon

nolaThe Phillies need a starting pitcher Saturday at AT&T Park in San Francisco, but it will not be Triple-A right-hander Aaron Nola.

But it sure sounds like Nola will be in the big leagues before the end of the month.

“He’s getting closer,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said this afternoon at Dodger Stadium. “At some point after the All-Star break, yeah.”

Of course, that could mean anytime between July 17 and the end of the regular season, but Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said he expects more changes to the rotation following the All-Star break. That could mean injured right-handers Jerome Williams and Aaron Harang rejoin the team, but with Cole Hamels expected to be traded before the July 31 Trade Deadline it almost certainly means Nola, too.

“We have a plan in place, and we’ll execute it,” Amaro said. “We have a good thought about when he’s going to be pitching for us.”

The Phillies outrighted right-hander Sean O’Sullivan following last night’s 10-7 loss to the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. They recalled right-hander Hector Neris to take his place on the roster. Neris will help in the bullpen until Saturday, when the Phillies need to add a starter.

Triple-A Lehigh Valley right-hander David Buchanan is the smart bet. He got pulled after three innings and 40 pitches Tuesday, which means he could pitch Saturday. Amaro said they also are considering options outside the organization.

“We haven’t made a final decision on it,” Amaro said. “It’s time for us to turn it over.”

The Phillies also designated right-hander Kevin Correia for assignment. Rookie right-hander Severino Gonzalez will pitch in his place Thursday. Of course, Gonzalez has not exactly pitched well. He is 3-2 with an 8.28 ERA in six starts. He has not pitched more than 5 1/3 innings in any of those starts. The inability to pitch six or more innings has been a big problem for the rotation.

“I would rather give the young man an opportunity,” Amaro said, explaining the difference between Correia and Gonzalez. “He’s throwing better. His stuff’s better. I’d rather give the young man an opportunity to do it at this stage of the game and see how he fares.”

“It’s time to do something. It’s past (time),” Mackanin said. “We’re happy about getting something changed, I am at least. We got a fresh arm in the bullpen which is huge. I don’t like to keep starters on the field longer than they should, but we’ve bene forced to do that. So we’ll see. Hopefully we’ll get Williams healthy and Harang healthy. Now Seve. There probably will be more changes down the road. So down the road, just get through the All-Star break and regroup, start over.”

MacPhail Arrival Becomes Official Today

macphailA critical piece to the Phillies’ future will be introduced this afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

Phillies ownership partner John Middleton and president Pat Gillick will introduce Andy MacPhail at a 2:30 p.m. press conference, where he is expected to succeed Gillick. MacPhail is assuming control of the organization at a significant time, with the Phillies holding the worst record in baseball and trying to rebuild for postseason contention in a few years.

MacPhail will play a vital role in the potential trades of veterans Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon, Aaron Harang and others before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

He also will decide the fate of general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., whose contract expires at the end of the season. Amaro is expected to remain GM for the foreseeable future.

Ryne Sandberg resigned as Phillies manager on Friday, leaving Pete Mackanin as interim manager. The Phillies only have said Mackanin will serve in that role through the homestand, which ends Thursday, probably because they did not want to announce anything official until MacPhail’s introduction.

MacPhail has experience leading three organizations.

He served as Twins general manager when Minnesota won the 1987 and 1991 World Series. He served as Cubs president from 1994-2006, helping the Cubs reach the postseason twice. He then served five seasons as Baltimore’s president of baseball operations, making some of the trades that helped the Orioles return to the postseason.

Changes to Coaching Staff; Sandberg Likely In

More changes are coming.

The Phillies announced their first changes following today’s season finale at Nationals Park, where they informed bench coach Pete Mackanin, hitting coach Greg Gross and first base coach Sam Perlozzo they will not be back in 2013.

“I think when you want to do some things, people on your staff, most of the time they’re the ones that have to be let go or moved or whatever,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel explained. “I think that’s just the position it’s in.”

Mackanin replaced Jimy Williams as bench coach following the 2008 season. Perlozzo replaced third base coach Steve Smith following the 2008 season before moving to first base in 2011. Gross, who served two tours as Phillies hitting coach, rejoined the team in July 2010, when the Phillies fired Milt Thompson.

It is expected Triple-A Lehigh Valley manager Ryne Sandberg will join the coaching staff in 2013, unless he takes a big-league managing job elsewhere.

The coaching staff changes will only lead to more significant changes on the 25-man roster.

“We’re definitely going to have some changes on our roster,” Manuel said. “How many or what, I really don’t know. From talking to Ruben (Amaro Jr.), we’re going to try to get better and get back to compete, win our division and have a chance at the World Series.”

People Like the Phillies

So we learned today Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock will interview for Baltimore’s GM vacancy and Ryne Sandberg will interview for St. Louis’ managerial vacancy.

They’re not the only Phillies personnel teams are interested in.

Bench coach Pete Mackanin just interviewed for Boston’s managerial vacancy. Big league scout Jim Fregosi Jr. left to become special assistant to the general manager in Kansas City, and Double-A manager Mark Parent left to become the bench coach with the Chicago White Sox.

It is worth noting the Cubs have told Sandberg he will not be a candidate for their managerial vacancy. I believe if Mackanin gets hired somewhere, the Phillies would promote Sandberg as his replacement. The Phillies love Sandberg. In fact, I think if Sandberg somehow remains with the organization he would be a front runner to replace Charlie Manuel once his contract expires and he decides he has had enough of managing.

Rollins: Stolen Base Shouldn’t Have Upset Giants

Jimmy Rollins stole second base with a six-run lead in the top of the sixth inning last night at AT&T Park.

Could that have fueled Giants pitcher Ramon Ramirez to drill Shane Victorino in the back with a first-pitch fastball, instigating a bench clearing brawl?

“I wouldn’t have done it,” Carlos Beltran said.

Rollins offered his take this morning.

“Two things,” he said. “Either Charlie (Manuel) stops me or they don’t hold me on. When you’re holding the guy on you’re still playing the game. You’re not conceding. If you concede the running part of the game, then I’ll concede the running part of the game. If you’re holding me on you’re saying, ‘We’re still playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played.’

“You’ve got 12 outs (remaining). In the seventh inning obviously I’m not going to run. But in the sixth inning? When we don’t want guys to run our bench coach (Pete Mackanin) tells Ryan (Howard) to back up, play behind him or whatever. OK, the running game is off. The running game usually stops after the sixth or if it’s just way out of hand early. Like if it’s 7-0 in the second or third inning you don’t run. I understand the gentleman’s code, but if you’ve got 12 outs to work with? I’ve got the green light. It’s on until they take it off or you take it off.”

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Castillo Expected, But Not In Camp

This is not the first impression Luis Castillo needed to make.

He had nine games to earn a spot on the Phillies’ 25-man roster since signing a Minor League contract yesterday.

It’s down to eight, maybe seven.

The Phillies said yesterday morning they expected Castillo to arrive in Clearwater yesterday afternoon. When I stepped into the clubhouse this morning the Phillies had Castillo hitting second and playing second base today against the Blue Jays in Dunedin. He had a locker between Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez. He had a number: 3. But about 30 minutes later Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin unpinned the lineup card from the bulletin board, took out some Wite-Out and and removed Castillo’s name from the lineup. He wrote Wilson Valdez‘s name in his place.

Why?

Castillo is not in camp.

He apparently could not make the journey from Miami in time, despite reaching agreement with the Phillies on Sunday night.

Interestingly, Mackanin later posted tomorrow’s lineup against the Rays in Port Charlotte. Castillo is not in that lineup, either. That does not mean he cannot play tomorrow. He could, but for the moment his name is not listed anywhere on the lineup card.

ESPN Deportes said Castillo is flying from Miami to Tampa, and could play in a Minor League game.

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Phillies Hire Samuel

The Phillies announced today they have hired Juan Samuel to be their third base coach and outfield instructor.

Sam Perlozzo, who served as the team’s third base coach the previous two seasons, will move from third base to first base and handle the team’s base running instruction. The Phillies hired Samuel because Davey Lopes, who handled the team’s outfield and base running duties as first base coach the previous four seasons, left the organization following a stalemate during contract negotiations.

Samuel and Perlozzo join pitching coach Rich Dubee, hitting coach Greg Gross, bench coach Pete Mackanin and bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer on the 2011 coaching staff.

“I feel fortunate that we were able to add someone of Juan’s stature to our coaching staff,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said in a statement. “He was a tremendous Major League player and a big part of Phillies history and I’m looking forward to him passing on his knowledge of the game to our players. He’s a great addition to our organization.”

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Samuel Is Favorite to Replace Lopes

samuel.jpgThere is no arguing Davey Lopes meant plenty to the Phillies.

Shane Victorino is a perfect example. He stole just four of seven bases in 153 games in 2006, then stole 37 bases in 41 attempts in 131 games in 2007, when Lopes joined the Phillies as their first base coach. Victorino stole 132 bases in 161 attempts the past four seasons to rank 12th in baseball.

We know Lopes will not be back next season. Juan Samuel is expected to replace Lopes, and an announcement could come with the next couple days. Samuel was close to returning to the Baltimore Orioles as their third base coach, but sources in Baltimore said they also expect Samuel to join the Phillies.

The Phillies also are trying to fill vacancies on their Minor League coaching staff. Ryne Sandberg is a candidate to manage Triple-A Lehigh Valley. A source said Mickey Morandini is a candidate for a job somewhere on their player development staff.

The Phillies also have a managerial vacancy at Double-A Reading. Class A Lakewood manager Mark Parent, who is well respected in the organization, could move to a higher level to fill one of those jobs.

But Lopes will be missed.

(more…)

Lee Looks Like A Cy Young Winner


lee 0731 a.jpg
lee 0731 b.jpgCliff Lee
lived up to the hype.

Here are a few words on his performance last night against the Giants at AT&T Park, where he allowed four hits, one run and two walks and struck out six in a complete-game 5-1 victory over the Giants. He carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and went 2-for-4 with a double.

“That’s pretty much vintage Cliff,” Ben Francisco said.

“I’m kind of glad I didn’t throw a no-hitter,” Lee said. “If I do that on the first try I would have to be living up to some high expectations.”

“He embarrassed us all by getting hits, throwing nine,” Cole Hamels joked. “It was fun. I think we all enjoyed how quick he works. How he gets guys out. Having a guy that really puts a lot of pressure on the other team makes it easier for our offense and for our defense because they’re always in the game. … For how he can help out (J.A.) Happ and I, it’s going to be pretty fun the rest of the year. Obviously, we’ve got him next year, too. That’s really cool. You never imagine that something like this could really be possible. He fits in really well with all of us. I think that’s even better, knowing that he’s one of us.”

“He was fun to play defense behind,” said Jayson Werth, who went 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs. “He gets the ball and he knows what to do. He throws strikes. He attacks the hitters. He’s good.”

“A shutout would have been nice,” bench coach Pete Mackanin joked.

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