Full squad on tap Saturday

This was the last day before Saturday’s full squad reporting day, even though the lineup has already been here for most of the week.  Saturday morning is also the annual spring training clubhouse meeting.  The doors will be closed to the media as the players hear from Ruben and Charlie. Expect the skipper to once again challenge his players to work hard and never stop learning about the game.  He will also motivate the younger guys who weren’t with the club last year to play well enough that they force him to make some tough roster decisions.

Then, 59 players will head out the back door of Bright House Field for the four fields at the Carpenter Complex.  They’ll work out from about 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day this weekend.  Live batting practice may enter the picture on Sunday. 
On the schedule for next week is Photo Day on Tuesday morning.  That’s when photographers from Philadelphia area newspapers, wire services and licensees will set up stations in the indoor batting cages at Bright House Field.

Among the licensees will be the baseball card companies. You know, those are the cards we older fans put on the spokes of our bike wheels.  Now they’re safely secured in sealed notebooks and appraised for their value.  On that subject what do you think a Dominick Brown rookie card will sell for twenty years from now?  Probably a lot.
Raul Ibanez will have a new look on his card.  Raul now has a full black beard to go with his shaved head.  Ryan Howard told him this morning that it looks like he’s escaped from prison.  He said, “Hey Raul, even your whiskers look mean!”
After today’s workout, the starting pitchers headed for the golf course where they met up with John Smoltz.  The former Braves ace is still an excellent golfer, and their day on the course was taped for a future airing on MLB Network.   Bragging rights were on the line so you can expect some serious trash talking tomorrow when the full squad officially reports for spring training..

Mike Schmidt begins a two-week stint as a guest instructor on Saturday . . . Larry Bowa will be signing autographs from 12 noon to 1 p.m. Saturday in the Majestic Clubhouse Store at Citizens Bank Park . . . 3.3 million tickets have been sold after a record 70,000 tickets were purchased Thursday, the first day of individual game ticket sales.  15 of the 81 home games are sold out  . . . If you are in the Clearwater area, there’s a Big East/Big Ten challenge baseball doubleheader on Saturday at Bright House Field; Ohio State vs. Louisville at 4 p.m.; Iowa vs. Pittsburgh at 7:30 p.m.

(Scott Palmer contributed to the blog today. Be sure to watch his video interviews from Clearwater on phillies.com, Monday through Friday.  Phillies Insider will return on Monday). 

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