U. of Tampa Sunday
Perhaps a sign of what was to come a year ago happened at Bright House Field when the Phillies lost to the University of Tampa on March 1. Yes, a college team. Well, the Phillies can get revenge on Sunday afternoon again at Bright House Field. Jeremy Hellickson will start and will be backed by a lot of the young prospects in camp.
Wheels’ Clearwater Report
Camp has been very interesting. Pitchers are playing pepper something I hadn’t seen in all my time in spring training. Pete (Mackanin) explained he wanted the pitchers to handle balls more often than the same old PFP (pitchers fielding practice). He also thought it was a good way for the pitchers to get to know each other. There are so many new faces. Plus, it gives pitchers a chance to handle a bat.
Pete added to that by having pitchers field ground balls at shortstop and second base, straight on, to their left and right. Can’t believe Lefty (Steve Carlton) would have done this drill. Again, I had never seen pitchers taking grounders. I saw LA (Larry Andersen) watching and had to laugh. He hated PFP.
One morning, Bowa was on the half-field working with J.P. (Crawford). They worked on fielding ground balls and flashing across the bag on double plays. Bowa was showing him how to catch the ball, set his feet, turn and throw. He also spent a long time just talking with J.P. There’s no better person to teach playing that position than Bowa.
Before the first full workout every year a meeting is held in the clubhouse and everyone gets introduced from the coaches, instructors, trainers, clubhouse and all the front office staff. Different people speak. The room was always so full that many of the non-uniform staff were hidden in the corners during the intros. On Tuesday, the meeting took place in the large Training Facility at the complex that houses a weight room and six indoor batting cages and pitching mounds. The players were seated and all of us who got introduced stood in the front. This way everybody saw everybody. This was another first for me.
My role in that meeting is to remind everyone of the annual team golf tournament at nearby Belleair Country Club that will take place next Monday. Somehow, I was put in charge years ago. We’ll have a draft on Sunday. For the first time I didn’t get any flack from the players. However, stand by. Or, maybe it’s just another example of all the new players.
On The Air
The Phillies Grapefruit League schedule starts next Tuesday, 1:05 vs. Blue Jays at Bright House Field. Two teams will meet seven times in Florida.
Game will be on radio, 94.1 WIP, the first of 15 on that station. Six more will be broadcast on MLB.com. Comcast Sportsnet will televise it, the first of six. TCN (The Comcast Network) will televise 13 other games. Complete spring training broadcasting schedule can be found at http://www.phillies.com/schedule.
Lowest uniform number in camp is 2, rookie outfielder Tyler Goeddel, a Rule 5 draft from Tampa Bay . . . Highest number, 94 reliever Dalier Hinojosa . . . Non-roster catcher Logan Moore is #84. His dad, Brad, relieved in 8 games with the Phillies in 1988 and 1990, 0-0, 1.08 ERA. Dad wore #37 (1988) and #46 and #48 (1990) . . . Annual Major League Photo day begins at 6:30 Friday morning . . . After the workout, the players will begin signing baseballs, bats and caps for the team’s Community Outreach department. An authenticator will be on hand for the weekend.
What Is It?
Gene Schall was an outstanding baseball player at Villanova, drafted by the Phillies and played briefly in the majors. He has a key role with the Phillies now. What is it?
Check his story at http://www.phillies.com/alumni..
The Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers) were the first major league team to hold spring training in Clearwater, 1923-1932 and again 1936-41.