Results tagged ‘ Ross Gload ’

Injury Updates on Howard, Pence, Polanco, Hamels

This is from a Phillies press release:

The Phillies have announced the following injury updates:

  • First baseman Ryan Howard’s MRI revealed a rupture of the left Achilles tendon.  He cannot have surgery until the swelling resolves and it has not been determined who will perform the surgery.  Recovery time won’t be known until after the surgery is complete and there is no guarantee he will be ready for spring training.
  • First baseman Ross Gload will have his right hip re-examined by Dr. Bryan Kelly.  Gload will likely have arthroscopic hip surgery.
  • Right fielder Hunter Pence and second baseman Placido Polanco will both have MRIs to evaluate the extent of their sports hernias.  Polanco will likely have surgery and Pence’s plan will be determined following the MRI.
  • Left-hander Cole Hamels will have loose bodies removed from his left elbow on October 14.  He also has an inguinal hernia and surgery for that is scheduled for a week later.

Late-Inning Pinch-Hit Success

Charlie Manuel loves to talk about Ross Gload‘s “professional” at-bats, but his successes have been few and far between this season.

He broke through last night when his pinch-hit single scored the winning run in the ninth inning in a 3-2 victory over the Braves.

“For me it’s huge because I haven’t had much of anything,” Gload said. “I’ve struggled pretty good. But I’ll take it. It’s big for me, but it’s bigger for the team.”

It was the third game-winning walkoff hit by a Phillies pinch-hitter this season: John Mayberry Jr. had one in the season opener and Ben Francisco had one June 24. That’s notable because the Phillies had none the previous five seasons (2006-2010). The Phillies also hadn’t had three walkoff wins in one season on RBIs by pinch-hitters since 1984 (Greg Gross, Len Matuszek and Sixto Lezcano).

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As soon as we hear something more on Chase Utley, we’ll let you know.

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Phillies Get Bench Help

The Phillies added some bench help before tonight’s waiver trade deadline.

They acquired left-handed-hitting outfielder John Bowker from the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named or cash considerations. To make room for Bowker on the 25-man roster, the Phillies optioned right-hander Michael Schwimer to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, they placed Jose Contreras on the 60-day DL.

Bowker will be in uniform for tonight’s game in Cincinnati. He will wear No. 16.

The Phillies had been looking for a bench player for some time. Bowker played just 19 games for Pittsburgh this season, hitting .235 with two RBIs, but hit .308 with 15 homers and 76 RBIs in 415 at-bats with Triple-A Indianapolis.

He has played first base, left field and right field in parts of four big-league seasons with San Francisco and Pittsburgh. He is a .237 career hitter with a .289 on-base percentage and a .390 slugging percentage.

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Blanton’s Velocity Down, Victorino Hurting

A few random notes/thoughts on yesterday’s 5-3 loss to the Braves:

  • Joe Blanton still feels soreness in his right elbow, but he said afterward it has improved from his last start. But there is no mistaking his velocity is down. His fastball averaged roughly 86 mph today. Its average is 89 mph for the season. “Blanton isn’t throwing 90-plus anymore,” Chipper Jones said. “He threw a couple balls over the plate in the first inning. But after that not a whole lot. He stayed on the corners. He’s got a really good changeup. But he’s got a really good changeup because he throws 90 or 91. I only saw a couple 88 or 89s today. Most of them were 85, 86, or 87.”
  • Shane Victorino left the game with soreness in his right hamstring. He will not play tomorrow. He said he hopes a little rest will be enough, but leg injuries are tricky. If he flat out pulls it he could miss a significant period of time. I’m sure the Phillies want him to be smart.
  • Ben Francisco is hitting .071 (2-for-28) with six walks and six strikeouts since May 1. Braves right-hander Tim Hudson pitches in today’s series finale. Maybe today is a good time for Ross Gload to start. John Mayberry Jr. could be starting in center field with Victorino out. He has hit .250 (5-for-20) with one RBI against right-handers this season, but if he can show Charlie Manuel he can hit right-handers maybe he can earn a little more playing time when Victorino comes back.

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Offensive

“You don’t want to send a negative message when you’re winning, but at the same time I think our guys know what they’re capable of hitting. I have an old saying that if you’re not hitting .300, you need help.” – Charlie Manuel

The Phillies need a lot of help.

They were shut out for the second time this season in last night’s 4-0 loss to the Diamondbacks. Arizona took an early lead and I thought to myself, “I just don’t see them coming back to win this game.”

It was the third inning. Against Arizona. With Cliff Lee on the mound.

The Phillies have not scored five runs in a game since April 9, when they scored 10 against the Braves at Turner Field. That is 14 consecutive games scoring four or fewer runs.

No team in baseball has scored fewer runs since April 9. The Phillies are averaging 2.79 runs per game, which ranks 28th in baseball. Only the Padres (2.69 runs per game) and White Sox (2.67 runs per game) have averaged fewer, which is hardly comforting. The Padres might have the worst lineup I’ve seen since I started covering baseball. Nobody in the Padres lineup scares you. The Phillies’ lineup has five former All-Stars, even without Chase Utley.

Only the White Sox (.197/.263) have a worse batting average than the Phillies (.200/.269) since April 9.

Nobody has a worse slugging percentage (.292) or OPS (.561).

But here’s the thing: there are no quick fixes, no obvious solutions. The Phillies could play John Mayberry Jr. more in left field while Raul Ibanez struggles. Manuel said in Spring Training he could play Ross Gload more. Gload has started once. Manuel has defensive concerns about Gload, but maybe it’s time to sacrifice defense for offense. Pete Orr has had some good at-bats at second base. Manuel could try playing him more, but Mayberry, Gload and Orr are not a magic pill for the offense. 

What about changing the lineup? Fans have said Manuel needs to move Jimmy Rollins from the third spot because he has just two RBIs. OK, who hits third? Placido Polanco? OK, now what? Not a lot of options, is there? I’m not saying a lineup change is a bad idea. In fact, I’d give it a shot. But there are no moves smacking you in the face. If Ibanez weren’t in a 0-for-21 slump I would say he should hit third. He hit very well there last season, but he’s not hitting well now. Can’t do that. Does Rollins hit leadoff if he’s not hitting third? Second? Fifth? Seems like shuffling deck chairs.

What about a trade? The Phillies are over budget and close to the luxury tax threshold. They would have to shed salary to take on salary, and what team trades a stud bat in April? Nobody. If anything would happen it would happen much closer to the trade deadline. And even then I’m not sure a trade would happen.

The best solution seems to be the most obvious one, and the one that might take the longest time: Utley returns before the end of May and the rest of the offense figures out things on their own. In the meantime, they better hope the pitching continues to dominate.

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Manuel is fired up about suggestions he overused Jose Contreras.

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Francisco Is Ready to Go

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I spoke with Ben Francisco the other day, and I think the first question I asked is how aware he is that Phillies fans are intensely focused on how the Phillies are replacing Jayson Werth in right field? If you could total every Phillies blog, message board, Internet story, newspaper story and time on sports talk radio devoted to the Phillies’ offseason, Cliff Lee would be the No. 1 topic and Werth and right field would be No. 2.

Nothing else would come close.

Check out the story here to see what Francisco and Ruben Amaro Jr. had to say.

I’ve said many times I’m not overly concerned about right field. I know Amaro has downplayed Werth’s production, but despite a one-year blip with runners in scoring position (it was a very big blip) Werth has been one of the most productive hitters on the team the past few seasons. But I think some combination of Francisco, Domonic Brown, Ross Gload and John Mayberry Jr. could work.

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Winter Meetings: Day 1 (So Far)

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A few things from Day 1 of the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.:

  • Ruben Amaro Jr. said he does not believe the Phillies must find a right-handed-hitting outfielder to replace Jayson Werth. But outfielders to watch include free agents Scott Hairston and Matt Diaz. Diaz’s agent Larry Reynolds said he is receiving plenty of interest on Diaz, who could sign with a team before the conclusion of the meetings. He declined to say how interested the Phillies might be.
  • There has been a buzz at the Winter Meetings the Phillies had focused on free agent outfielder Jeff Francoeur, but sources said the Phillies are not seriously pursuing him.
  • Aaron Rowand is available in a trade, but the San Francisco Giants probably would need to pay a substantial portion of his salary to make it happen.
  • Interestingly, Amaro spoke of a potential platoon in right field involving Ben Francisco and Ross Gload - not mentioning Domonic Brown, who hit just .069 in nine Dominican Winter Ball games before returning home last week. Asked if he would prefer Brown to play every day than split time in the big leagues, Amaro said, “If we had our druthers we’d rather put Domonic in a position to get the at-bats that he kind of lost last year and prepare himself to improve his outfield play, base running, etc. In a perfect world, we don’t need Domonic to make our club, unless he really pushes us, unless he shows us in Spring Training that he’s ready to take that next step.”
  • The Los Angeles Times reported the Phillies could be interested in Angels outfielder Juan Rivera, which would make sense. The Phillies have liked him in the past, although Rivera struggled last season with just a .746 OPS against left-handed pitchers.

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A Quiet Winter for the Phillies?

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If everything is happening like it seems to be happening, the Phillies’ offseason checklist looks like this:

  1. Improve the bullpen.
  2. Resign Jayson Werth (or find his replacement).
  3. Find a replacement on the bench for Greg Dobbs.
  4. Acquire starting pitching depth.

Nowhere on that list are the words, “Shake up the lineup,” or, “Move some pieces around.” No, if everybody is to be believed, the Phillies could be relatively quiet the remainder of the offseason, certainly compared to winters past when they acquired Roy Halladay, Raul Ibanez, Brad Lidge, etc.

“Right now, I’m actually pretty pleased with what we have,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said yesterday. “That doesn’t mean that I’m satisfied with where we’re at. We do need to try to improve our bullpen and give ourselves more depth and such, but if we were to open the season today I would feel very confident with what kind of team we would be fielding. I still think it’s a championship-caliber type of club.”

Based on e-mails, tweets and Facebook messages, some fans think the Phillies need to make a big move. I don’t get the sense they will. It sounds like the only big move they might make is resigning Werth, although nearly nobody in baseball expects that to happen. (Disclaimer: Amaro said before, during and after last year’s Winter Meetings they were not in the hunt for Halladay and a few days later they made one of the biggest trades in franchise history — not only trading for Halladay, but trading away Cliff Lee. In other words, just because the Phillies said it could be quiet doesn’t mean it will be quiet.)

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Howard to Appear in Entourage

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Entourage star Jerry Ferrara and Ryan Howard were chummy behind the batting cage today at Dodger Stadium.

There’s a reason for that.

Howard makes an appearance in the Sept. 12 season finale of Entourage on HBO.

Ferrara, who plays Turtle, and Howard would not discuss Howard’s scene, although Ferrara said, “Being the season finale it’s kind of a frantic episode. Ryan’s in a position to help out my character a little bit.”

“It sounded like he had a good time,” Ferrara said. “He’s a fan of the show. We’re obviously a big fan of his. As a Yankee fan I didn’t know if he was going to be too happy that the storyline was with my character, but we didn’t talk Yankees.”

Personally, I would have demanded a scene with Emanuelle Chriqui, but I’m pretty sure she has a restraining order against me. (It was just a misunderstanding!)

Howard and Chase Utley also appear in an upcoming episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

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Ross Gload, who is on the DL with a strained right groin, is scheduled to make rehab appearances tomorrow and Thursday with Class A Clearwater. If it goes well he could be activated before Friday’s series opener against the Brewers at Citizens Bank Park. … Danys Baez, who is on the DL with back spasms, also is in Clearwater. He long tossed yesterday. … The Phillies are sending right-handers Tyson Brummett, Justin De Fratus, Chris Kissock, B.J. Rosenberg and Josh Zeid; catcher Tim Kennelly and first baseman Matt Rizzotti to the Arizona Fall League. Class A Lakewood manager Mark Parent will coach in the AFL. … The Class A Florida State League named Clearwater right-hander Austin Hyatt its Pitcher of the Year. Hyatt, a 15th round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, is 11-5 with a 3.04 ERA in 23 appearances (21 starts) this season.

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Looking at September Call Ups

The Phillies have a couple days to make a trade before the Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline, but nothing appears imminent.

They also have a couple days before they can expand their roster. Danys Baez and Ross Gload certainly will be back once they are activated from the 15-day disabled list. Greg Dobbs also will be back. The rest remains up in the air.

Pitchers Drew Carpenter, Scott Mathieson, Nate Robertson, Vance Worley and Mike Zagurski are candidates. Outfielder John Mayberry Jr., infielder Cody Ransom and catchers Paul Hoover or Dane Sardinha are candidates for the bench.

The Phillies need a starter for their Sept. 6 doubleheader against the Florida Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. Carpenter, Robertson and Worley are the most likely candidates. Nate Bump and Brandon Duckworth have pitched well, but I think the Phillies will look at the other three first.

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Gload, who is on the DL with a strained right groin, will head to Clearwater tomorrow and if everything goes well he will began a rehab assignment Tuesday with Class A Clearwater.

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

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