Results tagged ‘ Phillies ’
Coming to Florida for spring training?
Here is the Phillies’ pitching schedule from Friday through Wednesday:
- Friday @ NYY: Roy Halladay, Rodrigo Lopez, Jonathan Papelbon, Phillippe Aumont and Raul Valdes.
- Saturday @ TOR: Cliff Lee, Tyler Cloyd, Mike Stutes and Chad Durbin.
- Sunday @ BAL (split squad): Kyle Kendrick, Justin De Fratus, Jake Diekman and B.J. Rosenberg.
- Sunday vs. TOR (split squad): Aaron Cook, Zach Miner, Jeremy Horst and Antonio Bastardo.
- Monday @ PIT: John Lannan, Adam Morgan, Valdes and Mike Adams.
- Tuesday vs. Dominican Republic: Cole Hamels, Papelbon, Ethan Martin and Jonathan Pettibone.
- Wednesday vs. WAS: Halladay, Stutes, Bastardo, De Fratus, Diekman and Durbin.
Note: This spring I’ve been getting more and more e-mails and tweets from Phillies fans wondering about the daily lineups. Why isn’t Jimmy Rollins starting? Why isn’t Darin Ruf in the field every day? Why is this guy starting and that guy not starting? Relax, everybody. It’s spring training. The everyday players don’t play every day. Not starting a game or two in the outfield is not going to derail Domonic Brown‘s progress. And with an extra week’s worth of games because of the World Baseball Classic there is plenty of time for everybody to play.
Michael Young stood in front of his locker this morning at Bright House Field and answered a familiar question.
Can he play third base?
Placido Polanco answered the same question in Spring Training 2010 after he spent previous seasons playing second base with the Tigers. Now Young, like Polanco, must prove he can handle third again. He played there regularly with the Rangers from 2009-10 (and 358 games in his career) before shuffling around the field the previous two seasons. And although he is not known for his glove like Polanco, the Phillies hope Young can handle the position competently.
“I’ve played there before,” Young said. “I have experience playing third base. I’ve had a full season over there. I’ve played in the World Series at third base before. As far as re-acclimating myself to it, it’s nothing a little hard work can’t fix. That’s why I was looking forward to getting down here.”
Young, 36, spends his offseasons in Dallas, so he worked indoors, which included fielding ground balls.
“Those are things that are part of normal offseason preparation heading into a season,” he said. “Then you get down here and you’re ready to go and the second they say, ‘Go, in Spring Training, you put your work in and you’re ready for Opening Day.”
While defense certainly will be important, the Phillies hope Young produces offensively. He suffered a career-low .682 OPS last season, but he said he believes he solved a mechanical flaw in his swing late in the year, which allowed him to hit .301 with an .801 OPS in September. If he can replicate that success over a six-month span in 2013, the Phillies will be thrilled.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Young said. “Whatever (manager Charlie Manuel) needs me to do, I’ll do. I know right now my role is to play third base every day and it’s something I’m looking forward to, but I’m prepared to do anything my team needs me to do to help them win games.”
Young lives in Dallas, so he got the Are you a Cowboys fan?!?!?! question. He said yes. Honestly, if that bothers anybody here I’m worried. The guy lives in Dallas, of course he’s a Cowboys fan. Better yet, who cares?
Charlie Manuel asked a reporter this afternoon if he had seen Mike Adams throw his morning bullpen session at Carpenter Complex.
Manuel raised his eyebrows.
“He was throwing pretty good,” he said excitedly.
Adams revved up for his session, which is good news although it is just a couple days into camp. Adams signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the Phillies to be their setup man, but he is recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in October, which involved removing a rib near his right shoulder. Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter had the same surgery last year, but he is going to miss the 2013 season and possibly never pitch again because his pre-surgery symptoms returned.
Adams said he is not concerned he could share a similar fate.
“When I heard about Carp, my first thought was, ‘OK, what happened?’” Adams said. “Carp and I had the same surgeon do our surgeries, so that was in my favor a little bit in terms of information. When I first had my surgery I spoke with the doc and he told me he did Carp’s surgery, and I was kind of excited because I knew he came back pretty quickly. But when I brought that up, the doctor was like, ‘Well, I wish he would’ve waited a little longer to come back. I think he came back a little too early.’ At the time, we didn’t know this was going to be the result. At the same time, everyone has a different kind of severity — how long the nerve and vessels were being pinched, how badly. So his severity could’ve been worse than mine.
“I talked to (Phillies right-hander Aaron) Cook yesterday, and he had the surgery as well back in 2004, and his was very severe. He said his surgery took like nine hours, whereas mine took an hour-and-a-half. So there are different severities. That’s something I really looked into when I first found out about it. Hopefully the severity of mine wasn’t as bad and I can move on.”
But the Phillies are going to take things slowly with Adams.
“He probably won’t get into (Grapefruit League) games as fast as some guys,” Rich Dubee said. “But he’s really not going to need as much. He doesn’t need 15 to 16 innings, I don’t think. But he’s coming along fine.”
“I feel great,” he said. “I don’t really see any reason that anything is going to be a problem. When we first got here we said I’ll take it slow. I don’t see a reason to really throw in any of those games in the first week. The last thing I want to do is have 15-18 innings entering the season. The last few years I’ve gotten about 9-10 innings and felt great, so that’s what I’m going with entering this season. … But when I’m throwing the ball I don’t notice anything that feels different. I’m throwing the ball a lot better than last year, I’m know that.”
The way I see it, four of the Phillies’ five outfield jobs are locks or close to locks:
- Ben Revere. He’s the centerfielder.
- Delmon Young. He’s the rightfielder, although he could miss the first couple weeks of the season following ankle surgery.
- John Mayberry Jr. I think he makes the team because he hits left-handed pitching well, he’s out of options and because he’s the only other guy in this group other than Revere that can play center field.
- Laynce Nix. He’s making $1.35 million this season and he’s a veteran left-handed bat with pop. I suppose there’s a situation where the Phillies could release him, but it seems unlikely at this point.
That leaves Brown and Darin Ruf competing for the final outfield job, although Young’s health could make everything written here moot. But here’s what Brown said today about his job prospects:
Q: Your reaction to the Phillies signing Young?
A: We needed a right-handed bat. I mean, he’s going to play outfield for us. I’m coming in to win a job. That’s it. No worries.
Q: Does switching positions matter?
A: It doesn’t matter. Whatever I need to do for the team. It really doesn’t matter.
Q: What do you need to work on to be a starting, everyday player?
A: What do I need to work on? I don’t know man. They say defensively, I don’t know though. I’m just going to go out, keep having fun and really not worry about anything. If I get sent down, that’ll be that, too. I’ll just go down and work hard. And that’s it.
Q: So it’s your defense?
A: No, I’m not saying that at all. I’m just telling what you guys say. I really don’t think that at all. I don’t think so. If I get 4-500 at-bats I think I can show what I’m really capable of doing.
Q: Are you waiting for that opportunity to get an opportunity to do that over a full season?
A: You know what? I’ve been waiting for that for a long time. When I get that opportunity, getting that like I did at the second half of last year, see what I’m capable of in 4-500 at-bats.
Q: How healthy are you?
A: I’m ready to go
Q: Is this one of your last shots to win a job?
A: I don’t know. We’ll leave that up to Ruben, man. He makes the decisions. I’ve still got one more option, so we’ll see what happens.
Q: Can you hit left-handed pitching well enough?
A: If you check the stats coming through the minor leagues with 400, 500 at-bats, you’ll see how Domonic Brown hits lefties better than righties. I don’t think that’s ever been a problem.
Q: Do you feel you haven’t gotten the chance to show your best?
A: I’m not saying that. We’ve had some tough times. We’ve had some injuries. We had some big guys in the lineup that needed to play. So when I got called up it was a time for 100, 200 at-bats, that was the most I had. And that’s been it. I’m just saying I hope I can get a full season under my belt.
Q: Does the talk about your defense motivate you?
A: Oh yeah, I use everything as motivation. I’ve been through a lot of tough times growing up. This stuff really isn’t that big a deal. Really. Seriously. I’m just having fun playing baseball and that’s really it.
Q: Do you think injuries have been more a part of it?
A: That’s been the biggest thing. That’s really what I want to focus on this year, just staying healthy. The last three years I’ve fought a couple injury bugs. I think that’s been the setback.
Q: How would you describe what you’ve been through?
A: I’ve been through a lot, but still at the end of the day there are much more positive things than negative. It all balances out and I throw those little negative things in the garbage because I know the positive stuff is a lot. I’ve been through a lot, but I’ve had a lot of great moments.
Q: How strange is it to go from touted prospect to doubted prospect?
A: I don’t know, nan. I think there are a lot of other teams that still want me. That’s just how it is in a big market. You have to go out and perform and if you don’t, then usually they get rid of you. I’m not even going to lie to you. I thought I’d have been gone a long time ago, not because of my performance, but because of the guys they could have got for me. I don’t even look at the trade talk anymore because normally I’m in every trade talk.
He took a seat on a picnic bench, just outside the Phillies clubhouse at Bright House Field. Reporters and TV cameras surrounded him as planes buzzed overhead, generators whirred and wind whipped the palm trees nearby. The words coming from the typically soft-spoken Ruiz’s mouth were barely audible, but intentionally or unintentionally he repeated his message so everybody eventually heard what he had to say about his 25-game suspension following the use of Adderall, which is in violation of the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
Ruiz got emotional at the end, his eyes welling up.
“Everybody,” he said, “I feel so sorry. It’s very difficult, having to explain. I love baseball. I love my city, Philadelphia, and Panama. I want to do my best and show everybody … I’ll do my best.”
Ruiz got caught twice using Adderall, which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. But Major League Baseball bans it because it is an amphetamine, unless a player receives a therapeutic use exemption.
Ruiz did not have the exemption.
“I got caught two times, and I have to pay for that,” he said. “I want to put that behind and now focus on this year and give it 100 percent for the city and organization.”
Asked if he would try to receive a theraputic use exemption for Addreall, Ruiz said, “That’s something that’s between my doctor and me. Major League Baseball has rules, and when you make a mistake, you’re going to pay. So I’ll pay my 25 games, and I apologize to my teammates, my organization, my family and fans, and I’m ready to put everything behind and get ready for the regular season.”
Ruiz will be able to participate in Spring Training workouts and Grapefruit League games in Florida in February and March. He also will be allowed to take batting practice before the gates open before regular-season games. He is eligible to begin a rehab assignment five days before the end of his suspension, which would be April 23.
He is eligible to rejoin the team April 28 against the Mets at Citi Field.
But what player will he be once he returns?
Ruiz, who will forfeit about $770,000 of his $5 million salary, had a career season in 2012, hitting .325 with 32 doubles, 16 home runs, 68 RBIs, a .394 on-base percentage, a .540 slugging percentage and a .935 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. But some will view those numbers skeptically considering the help he received artificially.
“I am working really hard,” said Ruiz, when asked if he can put up similar numbers without the help of amphetamines. “I trust myself to put up some good numbers. But at the same time, baseball is baseball. You have to work hard every day, and when you work hard, you get a lot of good things.”
Ruiz, 34, will be a free agent after this season, which means this is a big year for him. He hopes it ends better than it began Wednesday.
“I feel so bad for this,” he said. “I’m trying to put everything behind me and do my best this year and bring a championship back to Philadelphia.”
Roy Halladay spoke with reporters for 25 minutes this afternoon at Bright House Field. He revealed that a lower back issue contributed to most of his problems. He said a completely revamped offseason training program has alleviated those issues.
Time will tell.
Here are a few highlights:
Q: How confident are you the issues from last year are behind you and how are you feeling now?
A: I feel really good right now. For me the biggest issue last year was, starting off, I had lower back issues that I really hadn’t dealt with before. It kind of snuck up on me and changed a lot of the things I did mechanically, so, going into this winter that was a focus for us. How do I fix that? How do I make that area stronger and allow me to get back to doing what I do mechanically, so we did a lot of things different. I think the throwing program was different, the lifting program was different. You have to do it over your career. You try to stay ahead of the curve as much as you can. But unfortunately there are things sometimes you have to do differently to change the way you feel. But I feel as good now as I have in any other spring training. Last year, it’s not that I felt bad; it just never seemed to click for me. And the longer it got into the season, I could never really solve the problems I was having. It made it tough. But I feel like the things we’ve done this winter have made a big difference. There is no such thing as a crystal ball. But I’m confident that if I can maintain the way I feel right now, that I’m going to be effective.
Q: Do you expect velocity to come back?
A: I don’t think that is as important to me as when you feel good and you feel comfortable it’s easier to locate. It’s easier to make pitches. For me, whenever I’ve felt really good I’ve had better location. I really haven’t necessarily been throwing harder or anything like that, so the velocity to me isn’t a concern. I don’t know where it’s at. I don’t know where it’s going to be. But as long as I feel like I can easily make pitches to parts of the plate that I want to make it to, I feel like I’m a lot better off than I was. I felt like there were a lot of times last year when I was struggling physically and mechanically to get the balls to the parts of the plate where I wanted it. The velocity I think is always an added bonus. Like I said, I don’t know where it is or where it will be, but if I feel the way I do right now, where if I physically can get the ball where I want to get it to and not have to try to do anything different then I’m a lot better off. … I’m not here to predict anything, but I feel good, if I can feel the way I feel right now and maintain it and get stronger through the course of spring training like you normally do, I feel very confident that I can be effective.
Q: Did last year make you think about your mortality?
A: No. I think any player would honestly tell you you never know. Every year you come into spring training and you come in hoping that you’re going to feel good and hoping that you’re going to be able to pick up where you left off. There’s no guarantees. Any player who has been doing it for a long time goes in just knowing I’m going to pick up where I was. There’s no guarantees. I knew that and I’ve known that my whole career. I felt like ever since I got sent back to A-ball I realized real quickly how fast things can change in this game so I’ve always been aware of that and I’ve always realized that things can change quickly. And I think, that, to me, motivates you to (1) continue to work hard but (2) to continue to find better ways to do things and ways to extend that success. It’s a constant battle to try to extend that. I got my wake-up call a long time ago. It’s always a battle of trying to stay ahead of the curve.
Q: Did you ever have any doubts like, hey, I’ve got a lot of mileage on this arm, I’m turning 36 in May?
A: Nah. I mean, every year you realize that you are a little older and a little slower and the game is getting quicker and guys are getting younger. I’ve felt very fortunate to have played as long as I’ve played. You don’t take days for granted here. I don’t think anybody does. So I’ve never really looked at it that way of what if the better days are behind me. For me, its always looking forward to whats in front of you and whats ahead of you and try to embrace that. There will be a day when whats ahead of me is not baseball and I’m going to try to embrace that. Until you get to that point, you do everything you can to continue to adjust.
Q: Have you had any dialogue with the Phillies regarding a contract?
A: I haven’t. I think all our dialogue right now has been ‘how do we get things going in the direction?’ Really, that was my concern, I know it was their concern and I’m not at all worried about next season. I really am not. I’m worried about this year and making the most of this year and then you go from there. But there has been no dialogue and I don’t expect there to be dialogue. I expect to prepare to go out and do my job and let everything else take care of itself.
Q: Can you envision yourself going through free agency?
A: I really don’t (envision self pitching anywhere). If I had my druithers I would be here until I’m done. As good as they’ve been to me, I think they realize I’d be as good to them as I could be. Going forward, I really don’t see myself playing anywhere else. And I don’t want to play anywhere else. This has been the best place I’ve ever played. Obviously I’ve only played in Toronto, but I’ve gone on the road lot of places and this is the best place I’ve ever played and I don’t want to play anywhere else.”
Phillies pitchers and catchers hold their first official workout today. Roy Halladay is scheduled to speak to reporters after the workout. He is trying to bounce back following one of the worst seasons of his career. Carlos Ruiz also said he will speak following batting practice. He is suspended the first 25 games of the season for using a banned stimulant.
But before that happens, we had a chance to catch up with right-hander Mike Stutes, who missed most of last season following shoulder debridement surgery.
Stutes said he threw a bullpen session in November just to see how he felt following the June 26 procedure — it went well — before picking up his throwing program about Jan. 5 or 6. He said he has thrown eight bullpen sessions since, and is not limited in any way as camp opens.
“It was kind of an immediate thing,” he said of the improvement following surgery. “Three, four days after surgery I was already (raising my arm) up over my shoulder. I haven’t had any sort of setbacks or anything like that, so it’s been pretty encouraging ever since I started throwing again. It kind of feels like a brand new shoulder. I don’t have the clicking and catching that I was feeling last year. It’s good that it’s not anymore.”
If Stutes pitches as well as he feels in these offseason bullpen sessions, he should be a top candidate to win one of the three remaining jobs in the bullpen. Stutes went 6-2 with a 3.63 ERA in 57 appearances in 2011. He also has the ability to throw multiple innings, which they would seem to need if they don’t take a prototypical long man.
“I’m really excited about it,” he said. “I miss being out there, facing hitters and stuff like that. I’m really looking forward to getting out there and face that first guy.”
Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee is one of the few people to see Roy Halladay throw a baseball since last season, when he suffered one of the worst years of his career. Phillies pitchers and catchers reported to camp today in Clearwater, and I had a chance to speak with Dubee for a few minutes about Halladay and the rest of the pitching staff.
Here is what Dubee said about Halladay. Check MLB.com later for more about what he said about the rest of the rotation, the three job openings in the bullpen and more.
Q: You’ve actually seen Roy throw. How has he looked?
A: His spikes are starting to get dirty. That’s all. Really, he’s thrown a couple bullpens.
Q: So you can’t say if he’s better, worse or the same as he was at this time last year?
A: I know he’s talking better. He feels a lot stronger . It’s going to take him a while to put all the pieces together in his delivery like anybody, but that’s what Spring Training is for. So he’s got to find that comfort zone. But as far as his arm feeling well and his strength feeling good, he’s progressed nicely.
Q: You’ve worked with hundreds of pitchers, so you’ve heard plenty of them say how great they feel and how great their rehab or workouts have been only to see them look the same once they start pitching. So why do you believe Roy will be different?
A: I think Doc … we’ve got a pretty good rapport. I think he’s understanding about being honest on where he’s at and what he’s feeling. I think he’s going to lead us in the right direction in how he’s feeling.
Q: Are you confident he can get back to what he was? Or are you as uncertain as anybody else?
A: I don’t know what he’s going to be. I know one thing: there’s going to be an animal on the mound competing. Again, I think all the offseason stuff has put him in a much better position to be who he used to be. Whether he can come all the way back to that, that’s what time will tell.
Here are some recent contract details for those interested. It’s interesting to look at Delmon Young‘s deal, plus incentives and opt-out clauses for players like Yuniesky Betancourt, Aaron Cook and Juan Cruz:
- Delmon Young. $750,000. Plus: $150,000 for 250 plate appearances; $150,000 for 300 plate appearances; $150,000 for 350 plate appearances; $150,000 for 400 plate appearances; $200,000 for 450 plate appearances; $200,000 for 500 plate appearances; $250,000 for 550 plate appearances; $250,000 for 600 plate appearances. Plus: $50,000 for All-Star ($25,000 selection); $100,000 for MVP; $100,000 for World Series MVP; $50,000 for League Championship Series MVP; $50,000 for Gold Glove; $50,000 for Silver Slugger. Plus (for each on active Major League roster): $250,000 for 1 day; $100,000 for 40 days; $100,000 for 80 days; $100,000 for 120 days; $100,000 for 160 days. Plus: $100,000 each for six conditioning thresholds.
- Chad Durbin. $850,000. Deal includes a $1.5 million club option for 2014 or a $250,000 buyout. Plus: $50,000 for 55 games pitched; $50,000 for 60 games pitched; $50,000 for 65 games pitched; $50,000 for 70 games pitched; $50,000 for 70 innings pitched; $50,000 for 75 innings pitched; $50,000 for 80 innings pitched. Plus: $50,000 for-All Star; $100,000 for World Series MVP; $50,000 for League Championship Series MVP; $100,000 for Rolaids ($75,000-2nd; $50,000-3rd); $25,000 for Gold Glove.
- Antonio Bastardo. $1.4 million. Plus: $25,000 for All-Star; $50,000 for World Series MVP; $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP; $50,000 for Rolaids ($25,000-2nd; $15,000-3rd).
- Yuniesky Betancourt. Minor League contract for $18,000 per month. Agreement for Major League contract for $150,000. $900,000 in Majors. Plus: $25,000 for 50 games; $25,000 for 60 games; $25,000 for 70 games; $25,000 for 80 games; $50,000 for 90 games; $50,000 for 100 games; $50,000 for 110 games; $50,000 for 120 games; $100,000 for 130 games; $100,00 for 140 games. Plus: $25,000 for All-Star; $50,000 for MVP; $50,000 for World Series MVP; $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP; $25,000 for Gold Glove. If not on the Major League roster on March 24, player will be released if requested. Major League invitation to Spring Training.
- Aaron Cook. Minor League contract for $18,000 per month. Agreement for Major League contract for $150,000. $1.625 million in Majors. Plus: $325,000 for 10 games started; $325,000 for 15 games started; $400,000 for 20 games started; $475,000 for 25 games started; $475,000 for 30 games started. Plus: $50,000 for All-Star; $100,000 for World Series MVP; $50,000 for League Championship Series MVP; $100,000 for Rolaids or Cy Young ($75,000-2nd; $50,000-3rd). Major League invitation to Spring Training.
- Juan Cruz. Minor League contract for $18,500 per month. Agreement for Major League contract for $180,000. $1 million in Majors. Plus (for each as pitcher): $50,000 for 40 games; $50,000 for 45 games; $75,000 for 50 games; $75,000 for 55 games; $100,000 for 60 games; $100,000 for 65 games. Plus: $25,000 for All-Star; $50,000 for World Series MVP; $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP; $50,000 for Rolaids or Cy Young ($25,000-2nd; $15,000-3rd). If not on 25-man roster on June 1, player will be released for spot on another club’s roster. Major League invitation to Spring Training.
- Zach Collier. $39,900. $490,000 in Majors.
- Tyson Gillies. $79,900. $490,000 in Majors.
- Erik Kratz. $208,967. $496,000 in Majors.
- Darin Ruf. $79,900. $490,000 in Majors.
- Joe Savery. $168,133. $490,000 in Majors.
- Matt Tolbert. Minor League contract for $15,000 per month. Agreement for Major League contract for $90,000. $575,000 in Majors.
First full-squad workout is a week from today.
Carpenter, 37, had surgery in July to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which involved removing a rib to alleviate pressure on a nerve near his right shoulder. He returned to pitch in September and told reporters last month, “I haven’t had any issues with my throwing or anything this year. I feel good. My shoulder feels good.”
But he suffered a season-ending setback last week, which included the return of numbness and discomfort in the right shoulder and neck area, bruising and discoloration in his right hand.
Those problems are relevant in Philadelphia because Phillies setup man Mike Adams, who signed a two-year, $12 million contract in December, had the same surgery in October.
“We’ve talked to him. He said he’s doing great,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said today about Adams. “We’ll find out more when he arrives in Clearwater, and I think he’ll be arriving there fairly soon. He’s been throwing off the mound and he hasn’t had any issues. We’ll see how far along he is, whether he’s going to be behind in Spring Training or not. We don’t think so. But we’ll find out once he gets to Clearwater. Right now we don’t have any concerns, but we obviously want to make sure that he’s all right and progressing properly.”
It goes without saying the Phillies need Adams healthy. The eighth inning proved to be a mess last season with the Phillies blowing 13 leads.
But while Amaro acknowledged that signing Adams carried risks, he said this week’s news regarding Carpenter did not make him more concerned.
“Everybody’s situation is a little different,” he said. “All the information we got from our doctor and looking at the medical reports and such we felt … as always there’s a risk when guys are coming off a surgery like this, but we felt like it was a good risk.”
As of today, Amaro said outfielder Delmon Young will be the only player in camp definitely behind schedule, although that could change by the time pitchers and catchers have their first official workout Wednesday. Young is recovering from microfracture surgery on his right ankle in November.
“He won’t be able to get into real activities probably for a few weeks after we open up, at least,” Amaro said. “He might not be able to play in games competitively until the middle of March. We don’t know that, but we’ll see how he progresses once we see him.”
Amaro said right-hander Mike Stutes, who had shoulder surgery in June, should be “100 percent, we believe. He shouldn’t be any issue at all. He’s been throwing bullpens for a while.” Left-hander Raul Valdes had right knee surgery in September. Amaro also said he doing well.
“He’ll be close to 100 percent,” he said.
Both pitchers will be competing for bullpen jobs.