March 2009

Wearing Green

Continuing a tradition started by Tug McGraw some 30 years ago, the Phillies are wearing green jerseys and caps today against the Reds.

13 players were notified after yesterday’s game they should report to the Carpenter Complex today.  That brings the number of players in the big league camp to 43. Need to get to 25 by April 5.

Todd Zolecki will keep everyone informed on the cuts and the news on Cole.  If you haven’t added the Zo Zone blog to your favorites, do so. 

Chad and Brad will pitch today.  Tomorrow, the Blue Jays journey three miles south from Dunedin for a 1 o’clock game.  Happ is getting the start in that game.  Jamie Moyer’s turn tomorrow will be in a AAA or AA game at the Complex.  Both games are against the respective clubs of the Blue Jays.

Two Phillies Class A teams will play the Blue Jays tomorrow at their minor league camp site, Englebert Complex in Dunedin.  All minor league games start at 1 in the afternoon.


Cole Alarm

An alarm went off this morning when we announced Cole Hamels is returning to Philadelphia to see Dr. Michael Ciccotti because of a tender left elbow.  Todd Zolecki will be on top of this story at all times in his Zo Zone blog.

Panic among Phillies fans should not set in.  It is still spring training and the 162-game season is a long journey.

Team left at 9:45 this morning for Tampa and the first of four games with the Yankees in the last 17 games in Florida.  Back home tomorrow and Wednesday (Reds/Blue Jays) and then a two-day, two-game trip to Florida’s east coast (Marlins/Cardinals).

Yesterday’s game with the Cardinals set a new Bright House Field record, 10,335.  Just think, 50 years ago, the Phillies spring training TOTAL attendance was 11,568.

Camp Notes
Keith Olbermann was back in Clearwater for the second time yesterday.  He’s a huge baseball fan who carries his own scorebook.  “I’ve seen the Phillies play three times in Philadelphia in my life, 1980, 1993 and 2008,” he said.  Guess we need to rent a limo and bring him to Philly this season . . . Matt Cord of WMMR FM in Philadelphia is reporting out of Clearwater today and the next two days . . . Next four games will be webcast on

Three More Weeks

Three weeks from tonight the Phillies open their season before a jam-packed, pumped up pack of fans.  As reigning World Champions, the Phillies get to launch MLB’s 2009 season by hosting the Braves at 8:05 p.m. on a Sunday night national telecast (ESPN2).

All fans attending the Modell’s Sporting Goods Opening Night will receive a red 2008 World Champions pennant.  Pre-game ceremonies will be announced later.

Chase and Pedro, both of whom underwent post-World Series surgeries, vowed they would be in the lineup when the season started.  Everything is pointing to that happening.  Both are in the lineup for this afternoon’s myphil27 telecast from Bright House Field.  Game can also be heard on WPHT 1210 AM.  You can also hear it and see it on

Yesterday, there were three intrasquad games at Carpenter Field.  In addition to seeing the young Phillies prospects, fans got to see Brad Lidge, Chad Durbin and Chase.  Today, Cole Hamels will be pitching there.

Phillies head for Tampa and a meeting with the Yankees, a webcast on this site.  Fans may want to stop by Carpenter for more minor league action.  Vance Worley, Joe Savery, Julian Simpson, Michael Cisco are among the pitchers who will be on the mounds in three 1 p.m. intrasquad games. 

Games against other minor league camps begin on Wednesday.

As of this morning, no one from the major league camp is scheduled for Carpenter but that can change.  There is no admission charge for activities at Carpenter Field.

Comment Corner
Thanks for those who have offered their opinions to Friday’s blog.  Many of the deceased Phillies are already in the Wall of Fame but there are others who are worthy and a Veterans Committee would be the way to go.  

Something we will consider for 2010.

Wall of Fame Feedback

Friday the 13th.  Don’t believe in that stuff.  Personally, Friday the 6th was worse.

Been getting e-mails about the Wall of Fame ballot.  Love fan feedback. Why were Mickey Morandini and Andy Seminick excluded from the ballot?

As explained yesterday, candidates for the ballot are reviewed every January.  Mickey and Andy are among the numerous Alumni considered.  But, we want to keep the ballot to 15 and have to draw the line somewhere.

Also have gotten some feedback about coming up with a “Veterans Committee” for deceased Alumni.  Your thoughts?

Camp Notes
Trip to Kissimmee tomorrow for a game with the Astros who are really scuffling.  Buses depart at 8 a.m. Game will be broadcast on WPHT 1210 AM and webcast here . . . Pooch 100.3 The Beat, another Philly radio station, will be here tomorrow . . . blog ratings for last week: MLB beat writers, The Zo Zone is 4th; MLB pro bloggers, Phillies Insider is 14th; Ballgirls, 26th; Fan blogs, Phillies Phollowers, 14th, Phillies Red Pinstripes, 26th .

Cardinals come to Bright House.  We return the favor next Friday, going to the east coast for two games in two days, including Jupiter . . . Myphl17 will televise the game.  Harry Kalas is expected in the booth.

Time to Vote

For the next two weeks, fans can help select the 2009 inductee into the Phillies Wall of Fame.

It marks the third consecutive year that balloting is taking place on this site.  Every January, we review the potential candidates and narrow the list to 15 Alumni. 

Down the road, the list of candidates will have some impressive names, Mike Lieberthal, Curt Schilling, Pat Burrell and several current players. 

If you have a favorite on this year’s ballot, speak up…..I mean vote.

Two buses left for Port Charlotte at 8:15 this morning.  Non-traveling group was in uniform at 9:30 for a short workout . . . Minor league camp in full swing for the second day.  They have so many players in camp that batting practice (1:20) will include all four diamonds plus the Joe DiMaggio Complex across the street from Bright House Field . . . Players from the big league camp will be folded in to the daily events going on at Carpenter Field, especially when they begin playing minor league exhibition games next Wednesday . . . Sunday’s 1:05 game here against the Cardinals will be on myphil17 TV.

BAT (Baseball Assistance Team) will meet with the players at 8 in the morning.  BAT is an organization that provides assistance for former players and baseball’s family who are in need . . . Another Philly radio station will be broadcasting live from Bright House Field, 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., Andie & Evans Show on WXTU . . . 1:05 game with the Pirates is another exclusive webcast on this site.

Minors Begin

While the focus is on a 12-noon scrimmage across the street at the Joe DiMaggio complex involving some of the Phillies wounded and the Braves at Bright House Field (1 o’clock), Carpenter Field sprung into action this morning, the first day of workouts for 167 minor league players.

Chuck LaMar oversaw introductions and orientation at 9:30 in the right field corner of Steve Carlton Field.  David Montgomery, Ruben Amaro Jr. and Charlie Manuel all spoke to the group of red-shirted players.  Player development is critical to the success of a major league ball club.  Just check the Phillies World Series champions for the number of home-grown players.

Because all four fields at Carpenter are in use from 9:30 until 4 p.m., that scrimmage game was moved to DiMaggio field, in case you were curious.  If you weren’t curious, you should have been.

In addition to the 167 players, there’s a 17-man athletic training staff, 30-person instructional staff and 9 members of the clubhouse crew.  If you think the 32-year-old Carpenter Field clubhouse is bulging at the seams, you are correct.  That is being corrected.  Starting on May 1, construction will include the remodeling of the clubhouse itself and adding a second floor to the structure.

Thank goodness for names on the back of uniform jerseys.  Probably the most appreciative are the instructors who have to deal with 167 players.  The uniform numbers range from #2 (INF Freddy Galvis to #92 (OF Angus Roeger).  Duplicate numbers are being used.  If you call out, “Hey #22”, four players will turn around (INF Derrick Mitchell, INF Daniel Hargrave, OF Javon Moran and OF Casey Craig).

Over the next couple of weeks, that 167 number will increase as the Phillies cut more players from their major league camp of 56 players. 

Workouts begin at 10 every morning.  A week from today, minor league exhibition games begin.  Generally, there are two minor league games per day at Carpenter Field, 1 p.m. starts.  If you go there, rosters and game schedules are available at the office entrance.  Fans are welcome and there is no admission charge.

Minor league camp closes on March 29.  100 players will needed to stock Lehigh Valley, Reading, Clearwater and Lakewood.  Another 50-60 will remain at Carpenter in extended spring training or rehab.   Unfortunately, the unemployment line will increase toward the end of the month because many minor league players will be released.

Camp Notes
How did Lidge, Feliz, Coste, Durbin fare in the scrimmage?  Check Todd Zolecki’s Zo Zone blog . . . Howard leads the Grapefruit League with 4 homers . . . Jason Donald is hitting .438 in his last 5 games . . . Tomorrow, the World Series from last fall continues in Port Charlotte with a 1 o’clock game against the Tampa Bay Rays (broadcast on . . . Back here Friday for the Astros.

First Cuts

Back in the swing again.  Spent weekend in the hospital checking out stomach and chest pains.  Good news: ticker is fine.  Stomach pain must have been related to reading about A-Rod every day.  I’m sorry, but I’m tired of reading about him.

Tomorrow is a day off for everyone in the big league camp.  Next door at Carpenter Field, 170 minor leaguers will be taking their photos starting at 7:30 in the morning.  Hope everyone is awake.

First full minor league workout is Wednesday.  Fans are free to watch the daily workouts.  Minor league exhibition games begin a week from today.

First batch of cuts in the big league camp were made today.  Todd Zolecki will keep everyone abreast of the latest news in his Zo Zone blog.  Check it day and night.

Mitch Williams will be here on Wednesday for an autograph signing at 10:35 a.m. inside the west gate.  He’ll also be selling his “Wild Thing” salsa.

Happy Birthday
Friend Dick Allen turned 67 yesterday.  Still looks as if he could hit one over the roof at Connie Mack Stadium.  He may also swing and miss.

Two Games Today

Two games against the Blue Jays today, “B” game at 2 in the afternoon at Bright House Field and at Dunedin at 7 tonight.  Only the night game will count in the standings and stats

Todd Zolecki got an early jump on everyone by posting lineups for both games in the Zo Zone at 8:16 a.m.  Wonder if he skipped breakfast to get the early post.

Players in the “B” game needed to be in uniform at 12 noon.  Batting practice is 20 minutes later.  Gates will be open for fans to leisurely enjoy a baseball game under perfect Clearwater weather conditions.

Those on the travel roster were told to be in uniform by 3:45.  Batting practice will take place at Ashburn Field at 4:10.  Busses leave at 5:30 p.m.

Today was Joe Blanton’s day for his “side work” which means long tossing and throwing off the mound.  Rich Dubee had him on the half-field at 11 this morning with bullpen catcher Tim Gradoville.  Wonder if Dubee gets paid by the hour.  He’ll watch Brett and Robert Mosebach in the “B” game and then drive with Charlie to Dunedin to see Chan Ho Park pitch.

Camp Notes
MLB Security Department will meet with the players at 8 a.m. tomorrow . . . Jamie Moyer starts against the Tigers at Bright House Field (1 p.m., WPHT 1210 AM radio broadcast) . . . Blanton starts Sunday in Orlando against the Braves (also on WPHT) . . . Games can also be heard on . . . OF Rich Thompson (#93) will join the Dunedin travel roster and four minor leaguers will be available for the “B” game.

Blue Helmets

USA is on the way to Toronto.  The World Baseball Classic team beat us today at Bright House Field as the long ball dominated the scoring.  After the game, they boarded a charter flight.

USA faces Canada in Round 1 of Pool C, 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Toronto’s Rogers Centre, home of the Blue Jays.  Game will be televised on ESPN.  Crowd is expected to be in the 40,000-range.

It was strange to see J-Roll and Shane in grey uniforms with USA across their chests.  Jimmy was in his usual #1 spot in the lineup; Shane, in the 9 hole.  Wonder if he ever batted 9th before?  Fans cheered extra loud for the two Phillies.  The Mets’ David Wright got mixed reviews, as would be expected.

Comments on the game are in the Zo Zone blog.

Tomorrow, Phillies and Blue Jays in a “B” game at Bright House Field (open to all fans).  First pitch is 2 p.m. Same two teams meet in an “A” game in Dunedin at 7 o’clock. 

Brett Myers will start the afternoon game and Chan Ho Park the night game.  As Todd Zolecki reports, John Mayberry Jr. will start in center field in the night game, a first for him.

Blue Helmets
Last year, the Phillies wore an alternate uniform for home day games.  They are back with one change, gone will be the red batting helmets.  Say hello to blue ones.


WBC Opponents

World Baseball Classic teams visit Bright House Network, Canada today and USA tomorrow. 

Game with USA starts at 12:05 p.m. and the team then leaves for Toronto and the start of the WBC on Saturday.  Because of the early start tomorrow, Bright House Field gates will open early at 9:35 a.m.

Tomorrow’s USA-Phillies game means fans can root for both teams. 

MLB Network is in camp, Trenni Kusnierek, the on-site reporter.  Her story on the Phillies will air at 8 p.m. tomorrow.

Camp Notes
Minor league pitchers and catchers report to Carpenter Field tomorrow.  Position players report on Monday.  Total number of players expected, 164 . . . Jody Mac of ESPN 950 AM in Philly is broadcasting live from French’s Tiki Bar tomorrow from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m . . . Howard Eskin of WIP will be in the same location from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and again on Friday . . . “B” game with Blue Jays on Friday is 2 p.m. at Bright House Field.  No admission charge . . . In response to a fan inquiry, box scores of “B” games are not kept.  Usually, the pitchers are on a pitch count and sometimes normal game conditions aren’t followed (putting runners on base to start an inning, is one example).  PR department always has a person at the “B” games to record some stats.  Best place for “B” game information in Todd Zolecki’s blog, the Zo Zone.