Thursday, March 20, 2014

Darin Ruf is hurt, most likely suspending the Darin Ruf Dilemma for a while

The Phillies were going to need to figure out a solution to their reserve outfielders, particularly when it came to a right-handed-hitting outfielder. The choices were unpopular John Mayberry Jr., who is signed to a $1.5 million deal, but capable of playing all three positions with relative competency, and Darin Ruf, who batted .247 with 14 homers in 293 plate appearances last season in his first extended big-league look, but whose outfield capabilities are limited to the corners and not exactly sparkling.

Well, scratch Ruf for a while. He strained an oblique taking batting practice cuts before the Phils' split-squad game in Kissimmee Thursday. That's an injury that cost Chase Utley a month last season.

Since the Phils expect to carry an extra bench player for a couple of weeks, Mayberry is a virtual lock. This also should give both Bobby Abreu and Tony Gwynn Jr. to coexist on the roster for a bit. If anyone was thinking about an out-of-the-box decision along the lines of Mikael Franco getting a couple of weeks in a big-league uniform, that's not going to happen. Perhaps if the Phils' top offensive prospect were tearing the cover off the ball this spring that could be something to consider, but that isn't the case.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Getting to know the leader in the clubhouse as Phillies' 5th starter

I wrote this story about Jeff Manship the other day. I'd make him the slight favorite in the battle to replace Cole Hamels in the rotation for April. David Buchanan & Mario
Hollands are in the mix, but probably hindered by their lack of big-league experience. Sean O'Sullivan is the other veteran who could push for the gig.

If it's Manship we will have all sorts of Jefferson Manship references at our disposal, which is nice.

Annnnnnd... Cole Hamels had a setback

   Cole Hamels, after a couple of strong bullpen sessions, was supposed to throw to hitters today. That didn't happen, and it had nothing to do with the rain in Clearwater.

   He had a setback. He insisted it wasn't the recurrence of the shoulder tendinitis this winter that required a cortisone shot and a suspension of his throwing and lifting programs. This, he said, was more of a fatigue issue.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mike Schmidt joining Comcast SportsNet's Broadcasting Battle Royale for "Sundays With Schmidt"

Apparently the Phillies’ television broadcast this season is going to have more combinations than a six-man tag team event at Wrestlemania.

At first it seemed that the overhaul of the booth had ended when Chris Wheeler and Gary “Sarge” Matthews were unceremoniously given the boot by the overlords at Comcast SportsNet and replaced by former Phillies Matt Stairs and Jamie Moyer thanks to control seized by the massive cable entity when it shelled over $2.5 billion in a new television contract.

Already Stairs and Moyer were on a strange schedule where they would work 30 regular-season games together, then split the rest of the games in a two-man booth with play-by-play guy Tom McCarthy. Now there’s another wrinkle added.

According to a report by the Philadelphia Daily News, a Comcast SportsNet content partner, Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt will be in the booth on home Sunday games this season. A person familiar with the situation within the obsessively controlling confines of Comcast SportsNet did confirm that Schmidt was on board, although they requested anonymity based on the company’s meddling desire to dictate when such things are announced.

Later in the day, Comcast put out an official release on Schmidt’s 14-game agreement, which has been given the original moniker, “Sundays with Schmidt.”

The news came on the morning of Stairs and Moyer’s first broadcast, Wednesday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Blue Jays.