February 2009

Day 7

Large crowd of fans turned out on a sunny but chilly day.  Batting practice for the hitters came off pitchers today, after three days of facing coaches.  First broken bat: outfielder Jeremy Slayden by Clay Condrey.

After the workout, Chase spent time on the half-field taking grounders, along with Jason Donald. Pedro Feliz spent his second straight day of fielding drills during the morning fundamentals portion.

Team photo in tuxedos took place at 2 o’clock in left field at Bright House Field.  Today’s photo shoot, centered around the World Series Trophy, will be the cover of Phillies Magazine, April edition.  Cool idea by Bonnie Clark and her PR Staff.  The Magazine is sure to be a collector’s item. 

Prior to tomorrow and Sunday workouts, all players will undergo eye examinations, a routine part of spring training.

Players will be on the fields around 10 a.m. with live (pitchers) and semi-live (coaches) BP starting around 11:15 a.m.  The World Series Trophy will be on display at 10 a.m. for an hour and a-half.

Camp Notes
Toronto Sun, Buck Martinerz (XM Radio) and Peter Gammons (ESPN.com) were in camp today . . . Four more days and the games begin . . . Third blog on this site resumed today, the Ballgirls.  Be sure to check it out.


Day 5

Sunny, warm (74 degrees) day.  Cold front is coming tomorrow and temps will be in the low 60s on Friday.  Phan Fest is that night at Bright House Field and it always seems to be less than normal Clearwater weather.  If you are going to be here, bring a blanket. 

Workout schedule today and tomorrow pretty much the same.  Players on the field at 10 a.m., batting practice on Schmidt, Carlton and Roberts fields at 11:15 a.m., workout ends on the fields around 12 noon.  Coaches get the honor of warming up their arms for the BP sessions.  On Friday, pitchers will throw BP for the first time.  This is referred to as “live BP”. 

A few pitchers scheduled for their side work tomorrow will do throw at 8:30 a.m. on the half-field mounds at Bright House Field, rather than Carpenter Field.  Tomorrow, Majestic Sporting Goods will arrive at 6:30 to measure the players for uniforms for 2009.

During infield practice on the Schmidt Field, J-Roll fielded a ball bare-handed and threw to Ryan at first.  The crowd let out a cheer.  J-Roll took off his cap and bowed.  Schmidt followed and also bare-handed a grounder.  More cheers.  Next, Ryan got a grounder and threw to Dobbs at third.  More cheers.

First time I’ve head cheers during fielding practice.

Camp Notes
Charlie Manuel missed today’s workout.  Flew to Denver for memorial services for Ted Uhlander, a former teammate . . . Players on the World Series roster were fitted for tuxedos this a.m.  PR staff is taking a team photo Friday of the World Series players and the Trophy:  an exclusive cover photo for Phillies Magazine in April.  Should be pretty cool . . . Mike Schmidt met with the media before today’s workout.  As expected A-Rod questions came up.  Todd Zolecki will cover Schmidt’s remarks on this site . . . Phillies TV will finish taping poses with players in full uniform tomorrrow.  The final products will be used on Phillies telecasts and PhanaVision . . . Ruben Amaro Jr. held the first of his weekly conference calls with the pro scouting staff this morning.  Phillies have scouts covering every spring training camp in Florida and Arizona.  Wish list remains: lefty in the bullpen, righty hitter on the bench . . . New advance scout Craig (Dewey) Colbert arrived in Clearwater.  He’ll spend time here observing the Phillies. Late next month, he’ll head for the camps of the Braves, Rockies and Nationals, the first three teams the Phillies face in April.

Individual game tickets at Citizens Bank Park go on sale tomorrow.


Day 4

Carpenter Field was buzzing today.  A large turnout of fans was on hand for the first full camp workout.  Applause and cheers were part of the atmosphere as Jimmy, Ryan, Shane, Jayson and others took batting practice.

Miguel Cairo, signed to a minor league contract over the weekend, became the 64th player in the camp.  From 64, we will need to get down to 25 for the April 5 season opener.

Using all four fields at Carpenter Field, the workout lasted from 10:15 a.m. until shortly after 12 noon.  Schedule included the usual fitness exercises at the beginning; long toss; catchers, pitchers, infielders and outfielders split into groups for defensive drills; groups 1 and 2 of the pitchers threw off the mound; coaches threw batting practice on three fields and conditioning drills ended the day.

Tomorrow’s schedule is much the same.

Back in 1964, my first year, we practiced at Jack Russell Stadium.  One field which meant the workouts went from 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon.  There was a lot of standing around for the players.  Two hours at Carpenter Field doesn’t seem very long but the facility can handle multiple intense workouts.

Hard to Believe
The first spring training was held at Bright House Field five years ago.

A total of 54 players were in that camp.  Only six are still around: Ryan Madson, Brett Myers, Ryan Howard (#65), Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Cole Hamels (#79 as a non-roster pitcher).

Hard to Believe II
Front page of the St. Petersburg Times sports section had a large color photo of Pat Burrell.  Strange seeing him in a uniform that isn’t red. 

Admitted he has an adjustment to made because he’s with a new team in new surroundings and has a new role as the DH.

Comment Corner
Appreciated the comments yesterday.  Will try to provide a brief schedule of the workouts each day.

Will also provide information on “B” games and any workouts at Bright House Field involving the USA team that will compete in the World Baseball Classic next month. 

The USA team will train at Bight House Field on March 2 and 3.  That’s exciting.

Camp Notes
Philly’s Channel 3 is the latest media addition to camp . . . HBO Real Sports is featuring Charlie Manuel.  They taped a session earlier this month at Charlie’s hometown of Buena Vista, VA, and will spend a few days here . . . Frank Coppenbarger, who wears hats as the clubhouse manager and traveling secretary, alerted players in the a.m. meeting: “We’re going to be playing the Blue Jays in Toronto this year.  You will need a US passport for that trip.  If you don’t have one, better get one.”  Broadcaster Larry Andersen was in the back of the clubhouse at the time and whispered, “Do we need passports when we play the Blue Jays in Dunedin?”

Day 3

Activity is picking up.  The clubhouse is approaching a full capacity of players as infielders and outfielders underwent their physical exams today.

Tomorrow, the first full camp workout of 63 players will take place.   Normally, the players exit the clubhouse at 10 a.m.  It will be later tomorrow morning as Charlie will conduct a meeting and give his annual speech.  The meeting will include introductions of front office staff and comments from several department heads.

Today’s schedule
8:30 a.m.-Coaches room, meeting, catchers
10 -Schmidt Field, exercise, groups 1 and 2 pitchers, catchers and position players
      BHF (Bright House Field) cages, bunting, groups 3 and 4 pitchers
      Schmidt Field, holding runners on base, groups 3 and 4
10:20-Schmidt Field, long toss, groups 1 and 2
         Roberts Field, catchers, long toss
         BHF Field, batting practice, position players
10:40- Schmidt Field, exercise, groups 3 and 4
10:45 –  mounds (Carpenter Field), throwing, group 2
           Roberts Field, fielding, group 1
11:00-Groups switch
         Ashburn Field, long toss, groups 3 and 4
11:15- Break
11:20- All 4 fields, fielding practice, all pitchers
11:40- Pitchers, change to running shoes
11:50-Schmidt Field, conditioning, all pitchers
         BHF weight room, conditioning, all pitchers
         Ashburn and Schmidt Fields, batting practice, catchers
12:20-Ashburn Field, fundamentals, catchers
12:45-Ashburn Field, conditioning, catchers
         BHF weight room, conditioning, catchers 
Tomorrow 9:15 a.m., everyone in uniform

Camp Notes
The Sporting News and Channel 29 out of Philly joined the media bunch . . . Daily video reports from Scott Palmer will appear on this site . . . Remember to check out The Zo Zone blog . . . Fans are welcome to watch the workouts at Carpenter Field and Bright House Field.


Future Phillies VI

(Part six in an eight-part series on the young prospects in the Phillies minor league system, corner infielders.  Next: middle infielders).

1B  Durant, Michael . . . B-T: R-R . . . 6-5, 260 . . . 22 . . . Resides: Berkeley, CA . . . Selected in 4th round, 2005, out of Berkeley HS; signed by Joey Davis . . . Four-year pro . . . Spent season with Lakewood, .234, 106 G, 23 2B, 17 HR, 67 RBI; missed last 3 weeks with high ankle sprain . . . SAL in-season All-Star.

Scouting Report: “Projects as a plus power guy.  Will hit balls a long way.  Has made strides in first full season.  Moves well around the bag.  Needs to improve making contact on a consistent basis.”

1B-3B Harris, Clay . . . B-T: R-R . . . 6-4, 227 . . . 26 . . . Slidell, LA . . . Selected in 9th round, 2005, out of LSU; signed by Mike Stauffer . . . Four-year pro . . . Split season between Clearwater (44 G) and Reading (41 G); combined, .300, 85 G, 11 2B, 12 HR, 45 RBI . . . Hit .365 vs. LHP.

Scouting Report: “Shows power potential.  Makes good contact (37 SO, 257 AB). Has shown abilities to play both corner positions.  Good arm strength and good baseball instincts.”

3B Hewitt, Anthony . . . B-T: R-R . . .  6-1, 190 . . . 19 . . . Brooklyn, NY . . . Selected in 1st round, 2008, out of Salisbury (CT) HS; signed by Gene Schall . . . First-year pro . . . Made pro debut with Gulf Coast League Phillies, .197, 33 G, 7 2B, 1 HR, 9 RBI.

Scouting Report: “Very young.  Great athlete.  Ball jumps off his bat.  Power-plus potential.  Needs lots of playing time.  Will come slowly but has a high ceiling.”

3B Mattair, Travis . . . B-T: R-R . . . 6-4, 205 . . . 20 . . . Kennewick, WA . . . Selected in 3rd round, 2007, out of Southridge (WA) HS; signed by Dave Ryles . . . Two-year pro . . . Spent first full season with Lakewood, .254, 129 G, 20 2B, 4 HR, 52 RBI.

Scouting Report: “Good hands; makes the play coming in very well.  Needs experience in the field and at-bat.  Very good work habits.”

1B Murphy, Jim . . . B-T: R-R . . . 6-3, 245 . . . 23 . . . Pullman, WA . . . Selected in 17th round, 2008, out of Washington State U.; signed by Dave Ryles . . . First-year pro . . . Split season between Gulf Coast League Phillies (28 G) and Williamsport (31) with 3 games at Clearwater; combined, .281, 62 G, 5 HR, 30 RBI . . . Hit safely in first 9 pro games (.355).

Scouting Report: “College kid who overmatched the GCL. Has an idea at the plate.  Has power potential.  Handles himself well around the bag.”

3B Overbeck, Cody . . . B-T: R-R . . . 6-1, 195 . . . 22 . . . Atoka, TN . . . Selected in 9th round, 2008, out of U. of Mississippi; signed by Mike Stauffer . . . First-year pro . . . Made pro debut at Williamsport, 272, 75 G, 18 2B 12 HR, 57 RBI.

Scouting Report: “Good looking third base prospect.  Has the knack for driving in runs.  Like many first-year players, he needs a lot of playing time to polish skills.”

Day 2

With Valentine’s Day history, the Phillies switched to blue jerseys today.  They are the ones the team wears on road trips down here.  Actually, Valentine’s Day didn’t have anything to do with the blue jerseys today.  The real reason: jerseys are alternated every other day. 

Much the same as yesterday’s schedule: pitchers at Carpenter Field and position players at Bright House Field. 

Position players took BP and then the infielders took grounders.  Pat Gillick was an observer, leaning on the batting cage.  Focus was on watching Jason Donald take grounders at second, short and third.

Ryan Howard did his BP bit and then headed for the half-field for his daily fielding drills under Sam Perlozzo.    Ryan’s really working hard on that phase of his game.

Camp Notes
FOXSports.com, USA TODAY and Channel 10 joined the media mass today . . . Mike Schmidt and Garry Maddox join the camp tomorrow as guest instructors . . . Annual Clearwater Phan Fest will take place Friday night.


Day 1

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Phillies and a large crowd of fans wore red.  Well, it wasn’t because of the holiday.  The Phillies wear red jerseys and gray pants for their daily workouts that normally begin at 10 in the morning. 

The crowd was the largest I’ve seen for the first day for pitchers and catchers.  Most were dressed in red, jerseys or caps, or both.

World Series championship logos are mounted on the outfield fences of the four fields at Carpenter Field.  Nice touch.

Pitchers are divided into four groups.  Groups 1 and 3 threw off the mounds today.  Nothing like the popping sound of a baseball being caught.  Baseball 2009 is officially underway.

Rich Dubee addressed the group of pitchers (30) and catchers (7) at 9:30.  The daily schedule is posted on a bulletin board in the Bright House Field clubhouse.  Players are expected to check that every morning.  “The schedule is organized, compact and intense.  You need to know what is going on each day,” said Dubee.  “Remember, nobody will be making the club today.”

While the pitchers and catchers were working at Carpenter Field, a bunch of position players took BP at Bright House Field.  Ryan Howard was among that group.

Media Crowd
From the Philadelphia area:
Inquirer, Daily News, Wilmington News-Journal, Delaware County Times, Allentown Call and the Associated Press, KYW Radio, Channel 6, Comcast SportsNet.

The TV Crews and still photographers were set up on the north side of Bright House Field waiting for the players to exit the clubhouse.  The first uniformed person to appear?  Bullpen catcher Tim Gradoville.

From the Tampa area:
St. Pete Times

ESPN.com, Yahoo.com, CBSsportsline.com, MLB Productions.  Sports Illustrated was in camp yesterday for a photo shoot with Cole Hamels.  He’s going to be a cover story.  SI is also doing a Charlie Manuel story.




Trophy Update

Last night, the World Series Trophy made a stop at the Concord Mall in Wilmington (DE) through radio stations WDEL and WSTW.  Debi Mosel, a kindergarten teacher in Wilmington was there and filed the following report for Phillies Insider:

“Concord Mall was full of people! There were big people, little people. Very young people, old people, and ages in between. Some were in strollers, some were in wheelchairs. Some were sitting, many were standing. But they were all there for the same reason: to see the Trophy.

“Fans were invited to come see the Trophy and possibly even get their picture taken with it between 6 and 7:30 p.m.  Phillie Phanatic was also in attendance.

“I arrived at 5:15 to get something to eat before checking out the crowd. Everywhere you looked there were people in red and white shirts, and not because of the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday. After my evening meal, I headed down the mall to where the Trophy was supposed to be set up. By 5:40, hundreds of people were already lined up, with tickets, to get their picture taken with the Trophy.

“Someone I knew said she had been in line since 2:45. Her ticket number was 22. Last week she had gone through the same thing at another nearby mall. She’s obviously a huge fan.

“The Trophy arrived at the display area just before 6, escorted by Phillies personnel, mall security and even a Delaware State policeman. Once the Trophy was spotted, the crowd cheered. Those people who weren’t in line stood behind the barrier and on top of benches to get a glimpse of the beautiful, shiny symbol that proclaims the Phillies as the best baseball team in 2008.

“One Phillies employee told me that they had to close the line at 6:10.  I learned that happens at every Trophy appearance. Everyone already in line was guaranteed a chance to get their picture taken with the Trophy, even if the line lasted longer than 7:30.

“Some fans were disappointed because were no more tickets.  They were told there would be more dates in the coming weeks and that they could stand near the display and take photos of the Trophy.  That satisfied most everyone.

“Phillie Phanatic also helped keep the fans happy as he traveled all over the mall.  The crowd was estimated to be over a thousand people strong—and they were all wearing smiles.

“I ran into several young Phillies fans from my class. When asked what they thought of the trophy, Daniel, Nicholas and Gregory all replied, “It was COOL!”  Aidan, a five-year-old son of a friend, answered my question with a very enthusiastic nod of approval.

“Thank you, Phillies, for sharing your Trophy with your fans. You have made your fans proud!”

Heading South 
The Trophy will make its debut in Clearwater a week from tonight at Bright House Field as part of the 10th annual Phan Fest.

More details will be posted soon regarding that event that begins at 5:30 p.m.

New Blog 
Todd Zolecki is the new beat writer on this site, having coming to MLB.com from the Philadelphia Inquirer.  He’s one of the best bloggers in the business, The Zo Zone.  

His addition is a real pus for Phillies fans.


Future Phillies V

(Fifth in an eight-part series on young prospects in the Phillies minor league system, catchers.  Next: Corner infielders).

D’Arnaud, Travis . . . B-T: R-R . . . 5-11, 195 . . . 20 . . . Lakewood, CA . . . Selected between 1st and 2nd round, 2007, out of Lakewood HS; signed by Tim Kissner . . . Three-year pro . . . Spent most of the season at Williamsport (.309, 48 G) before late-season promotion to Lakewood (.297, 16 G); combined, .305, 64 G, 6 HR, 30 RBI . . . Ranked #7 in Phillies minor league system by Baseball America.

Scouting Report: “Has a chance to be a good hitter with power.  Much improved behind the plate.  Wants to learn and is a good worker.”

Gosewisch, Tuffy . . . B-T: R-R . . . 5-11, 190 . . . 25 . . . Scottsdale, AZ . . . Selected in 11th round, 2005, out of Arizona State U.; signed by Therron Brockish . . . Four-year pro . . . Spent season at Clearwater, .218 in career-high 102 G, 3 HR, 34 RBI.

Scouting Report: “Takes pride behind the plate.  Handles the staff well.  Needs to work on hitting skills.”

Marson, Lou . . . B-T: R-R . . . 6-1, 198 . . . 22 . . . Scottsdale, AZ . . . Selected in 4th round, 2004, out of Coronado HS; signed by Therron Brockish . . . Five-year pro . . . EL in-season and post-season All-Star at Reading, .314, 94 G, 5 HR, 46 RBI; led EL in OBP (.433), second in hitting . . . Phillies minor league player of the month (May) . . . Starting catcher for Team USA in the Futures Game . . . Played for USA in Summer Olympics, winning a bronze medal; hit .308 . . . Paul Owens Award winner as best player in Phillies minor league system . . . Ranked #3 in Phillies system by Baseball America.

Scouting Report: “Mature hitter for his age and experience.  Drives the ball to right and right center.  Power will come with experience.  Plus base runner.  Handles a staff well.  Has a chance to be a plus receiver. Driven to get better.”

Naughton, Joel . . . B-T: L-R . . . 6-1, 178 . . . 22 . . . Queensland, Australia . . . Signed as an amateur free agent, 8/32/03, by Kevin Hooker . . . Four-year pro . . . Spent season at Lakewood, .275, 86 G, 2 HR, 33 RBI . . . SAL in-season All-Star

Scouting Report: “Made strides defensively, including blocking balls in the dirt and throwing.  Needs to get stronger and catch a lot of games.”

Valle, Sebastian . . . B-T: R-R . . . 6-1, 168 . . . 18 . . . Los Mochis, San Aloa, Mexico . . . Signed as an amateur free agent, 10/6/06, by Tomas Herrera . . . Two-year pro . . . Spent first year in the states playing for the Gulf Coast League Phillies, .281, 48 games, 1 HR, 18 RBI . . . Ranked as #7 best prospect in GCL by Baseball America.

Scouting Report: “Very young player.  Gifted hitter for his age.  Not a lot of experience behind the plate.  Matured as a player a lot.  Just needs to play.”

Meeting Day

Ruben Amaro Jr. oversaw a day-long meeting at Bright House Field today with his staff, Charlie Manuel and his staff and the minor league instructors in the big league spring training camp.

The meeting was held in a large suite at the five-year-old park.  50 persons were sitting around a very long table.

The meeting is annually held before the pitchers and catchers report.  They report tomorrow for physicals and then hit the field on Saturday.

Head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan reviewed those players with medical issues.  Most closely monitored will be Chase Utley and Pedro Felix, each of whom had surgeries since the end of the World Series.  Chase yesterday began to take ground balls and jogged.  Precaution is the priority for both infielders.

Each of the 63 players in camp was evaluated with opinions offered by numerous staffers.  “We want opinions from you,” stated Ruben at the beginning.  “We need to know how you feel about certain players, their plusses and minuses.”

Tomorrow, many of today’s staff meeting will play golf, a long-time tradition in Clearwater arranged by Bill Giles. 

Tomorrow is also the day Ryan Howard will be available to the media.  When he signed his three-year-contract over the weekend, he was unable to meet with the media in Philadelphia.  So, Greg Casterioto, Director, Baseball Communications, arranged for a media conference in the Media Room.  Ryan will work out on his own first and then face the press. Todd Zolecki will cover that news on this site.