News, insight and observations on the trails of the team that ended the quarter century-long parade drought in the City of Brotherly Love - the Philadelphia Phillies.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Burrell will be at Ring Ceremony in Philly
Pat Burrell, who played against the Phillies today in the Rays 12-5 loss, said afterward he has made arrangements to take part in the World Championship Ring Ceremony with his former teammates on April 8.
“I came over early (today) and (team president) David (Montgomery) and I talked,” Burrell said. “Fortunately for me it works out to where we’re going to be in Boston, so I can shoot over because the Phillies have a day game, (and) I’ll be able to come over and jump right back on a flight. We play at night. That’s just a coincidence.”
Jayson Werth, who hasn't played in any of the Phillies first three Grapefruit League games, was in the starting lineup when it was posted in the clubhouse this morning.
He's no longer in that lineup. (John Mayberry took Werth's place in right field and in the fifth spot of the batting order.) Werth has been scratched with soreness in the back of his right shoulder. He first felt the pain during batting practice Friday, and thus, it's not related to why he missed the first three games of the spring.
Werth said he sat out the first few games so manager Charlie Manuel could help him get "his legs" under him and in gear.
Werth doesn't believe the shoulder is anything serious - he can throw fine - and is aiming at making his Grapefruit League debut Monday when the Phils travel to Dunedin to play the Blue Jays.
More on this - I talked to Ruben Amaro Jr. and Werth about it - in tomorrow's Daily Times.
I'll say one thing for Adam Eaton - he's handled himself like a pro throughout the majority of his time in Philadelphia. He might have been a below average pitcher for the Phils, but he was a good guy (I'm sure that doesn't make Phils fans feel better, but I thought it was worth pointing out).
Pat Burrell is back today with the Rays.
It should be interesting to see what kind of reception he gets from a packed house at Bright House Field.
Also, in busy news day yesterday, Shane Victorino was added to Team USA for the World Baseball Classic, Jimmy Rollins spoke about today's union meeting and more.
As for the World Baseball Classic, Team USA's home base is here in Clearwater, If you're in the area, you can watch Monday's workout for free. Gates open at 11:30 a.m.
Rollins and Victorino are representing the World Champs on Team USA.
Adam Eaton released; Victorino replaces Sizemore on U.S. WBC team
Breaking news this morning: Adam Eaton has been released.
More on that in a second, but another nugget of news came down shortly before the Phillies-Reds game in Sarasota. Shane Victorino will compete for the United States' entrant in the World Baseball Classic.
Victorino, who didn't make the cut when final rosters were announced earlier in the week, replaces Cleveland's Grady Sizemore who opted out with soreness in his left groin. Victorino joins fellow Phillie Jimmy Rollins on the U.S. roster.
"Of course I want to play," Victorino said. "It should be fun."
Now to the bigger news from earlier:
The Phillies have decided to cut ties with the right-hander they signed to a three-year, $24.5 million contract prior to the 2007 season. Eaton, who was left off the postseason roster in each of the last two seasons, was 14-18 with a 6.09 ERA in his two years after signing the deal.
"I think you’re given a lot of opportunities and the opportunities I was given here, I appreciated," Eaton said. "For whatever reason, for both parties, it just didn’t work out. You turn the page - there’s a new chapter to begin, with some blank pages that need to be filled in."
Eaton will now likely wait out the 48-hour window other teams have to make a deal with the Phillies. If no team approaches the Phils during that time frame (which is highly likely, given his salary), Eaton can sign on with another club and join a new spring training camp before next week.
"I think if it were to happen you’d want it to happen now," Eaton said of the timing of being released. "Games have just started and there is still a lot of innings to be pitched. Obviously innings here weren’t in my favor. I’m sure wherever I do go, the team will have enough interest in me (to get innings)."
Eaton was asked if he upset that he did not live up to the expectations that came with signing a lucrative, multi-year deal as a free agent two years ago.
"I don’t think upset is the right word. Underachieve? Yeah," Eaton said. "I wasn’t as healthy as I’d like to be (and) that’s been my focus this spring, to be healthy so I can do what I’m able to do. Anytime you’re weighing (shoulder) surgery options in the offseason before the second year of a contract - and maybe I should have done it, maybe that would have been the best case scenario. But I feel fine now.
"Unrealized - both sides - expectations for me coming in. One was achieved last year, but not in the way we thought. I thought when we signed the deal, that I would be an integral part in any positives going on on the field. For the most part, it didn’t happen that way. I did have moments of success, but for whatever reason they were short-lived."
Eaton said his agent has already contacted one general manager that is believed to have interest, so he may be at another camp before Monday. If a team picks up Eaton after he clears waivers, the Phillies will owe him him $8.6 million of the $9 million he is owed.
Eaton's base salary for the season is $8.5 million, but he also has a $500,000 buyout and the new team would have to pay him, at the very least, the major league minimum salary ($400,000).
We're underway here at Bright House Field... and Phils fans (who have shockingly not filled all the seats... yet) have been treated to a taste of the future in the first half inning of Phils-Jays.
Fifth starter candidate Carlos Carrasco looks sharp. He blew away Marco Scutaro on strikes to begin the game and then got Joe Inglett looking on a slider.
The 21-year-old Carrasco ended the 1-2-3 inning by inducing Jose Bautista into a one-hopper to third base. On the play, Jason Donald - who could be your Opening Day third baseman in 2010 - easily handled a short hop and fired to first.
The Phils also went down 1-2-3 as Jimmy Rollins, Jason Donald and Raul Ibanez all flied out.
If you're making plans to go to Sarasota for Phils at Reds Friday (I know a few people who are), here's a heads-up so you're not disappointed at game time: Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz and Jayson Werth (and Chase Utley, of course) are not making the trip.
This is pretty typical of spring training, though. Teams generally don't being all of their star power with them to every road game.
That said, Tampa is bringing Pat Burrell to Clearwater Saturday.
I mentioned three things to watch for yesterday's spring opener. Here's the Thursday morning quarterback analysis of each.
1. Jason Donald at 2B. From what I saw, and I admittedly didn't watch the game like a scout (and spent the middle innings talking to Jamie Moyer), Donald handled himself fine. I wanted to see him turn a double play since the pivot at 2B is different than his usual spot at short, but it never materialized. Donald is at third today, where I believe he'll end up moving full time at some point this year.
2. Geoff Jenkins' stroke. He cut down the leg kick and also trimmed back on the long-ish swing in the offseason, and the initial results were promising. Jenkins singled and walked against the Pirates in two at-bats. Of course, one (half) day of work is a pretty small sample size.
3. Veteran relievers looking for work. Uh, not a good start here for the major league-experienced guys trying to make an impression and earn a spot in the Phils Opening Day bullpen. Scott Nestor, who the Phils claimed off waivers from the Marlins shortly after the end of the season, gave up three runs on three hits and two walks in one inning; Joe Bisenius gave up four runs on two walks and two hits in an inning.
We've arrived here at McKetchnie Field in Bradenton, home of the windiest press box in the Grapefruit League. (Now that the Rays have moved... a large portion of their old press box was outdoors.)
It's Phils-Pirates today in the first Phillies game since Oct. 29. I'm sure you remember that game, ended with Brad Lidge falling to his knees and looking skyward, I believe.
You won't see Lidge today. He's not due to get into a Grapefruit League game until Saturday against the Rays (and Pat Burrell, possibly).
Today Jamie Moyer takes the hill first, for either two innings or 45 pitches (which ever comes first). Joe Blanton will follow Father Time out to the mound for a similar workload.
Since the results of these games mean little, what should you look for outside a box score? Here are three things I plan on checking out:
1. Jason Donald at 2B. The Phillies top minor league infielder is close to being major-league ready. He had a breakout year at Reading last summer and carried that success over to the Olympics and the Arizona Fall League. But he has never played at second base in his career, other than a few innings in the AZ Fall League. While I think his future is at 3B, he'll get the opportunity to show what he can do at second with Chase Utley on the mend.
2. Geoff Jenkins' stroke. Jayson Werth didn't make the trip and Jenkins is starting in right field. Jenkins, who struggled to find an offensive rhythm a year ago, cut down his stroke and front leg kick. It should be interesting to see him put it into use for the first time in a game. If there's a candidate on the team for a bounce-back year offensively, Jenkins seems as good as any. With fewer at-bats, he might actually be more productive.
3. Veteran relievers looking for work. With J.C. Romero's 50-game suspension going into effect on Opening Day, the Phils will need another arm in the pen. They have a handful of spring training invitees in camp with major league relief experience, including Scott Nestor, Dave Borkowski, Mike Koplove and Blaine Neal, all who are with the team today. It may be their first job audition of the spring.
Here is the reason the Phils had the ability to increase their payroll by 26 percent
WARNING: This isn't your typical, news/notes blog item. It was a quiet morning inside the clubhouse (the team is trying to get through work quick today to get out to the team's annual golf outing).
So rather than the normal blog stuff, here's an observation from walking around camp, taking in the sites and sounds... and a revelation on how the Phillies can afford their suddenly-steep payroll.
Wandering around the four fields that make up the Carpenter Complex - behind Bright House Field in Clearwater - gives you the same feel of checking out all the action on multiple Little League Diamonds within a few short steps from each other.
Except rather than seeing how Tommy is throwing his fastball or if the fat kid can hit another homer, you get to see Carlos Carrasco throw gas by Greg Dobbs or Ryan Howard take a crack at Brett Myers.
But like the Little League diamonds, there is a concession stand. The smell of grilled hot dogs fills the air as you shuffle from one field to another.
There's also a small stand that's selling Phillies merchandise, which has obviously been hot since the World Series.
While strolling by, however, I almost spit out my hot dog when I heard a fan ask about the hats. I'm pretty sure vendor said the official World Series hat was $38. Thirty. Frickin'. Eight. Dollars.
As a baseball cap connoisseur, I know nice hats can come at a price. I'm sure I've shelled out $25-$28 bucks for a nice-looking lid in the last decade.
But THIRTY-EIGHT DOLLARS?
I just looked on-line at the MLB shop at Phillies.com to get some kind of confirmation. I can't find that hat I thought was the one the vendor was talking about (the black one players wore on the field on World Series-clinching night).
But there are two official World Series hats (the kind players wore DURING the games) that are on sale for $35.99.
Even in today's tough financial climate, I'm sure there are people who don't mind dropping a couple of Andrew Jacksons down to score a solid baseball cap. I don't begrudge you at all.
But, let's face it - there's a reason the Phils can afford to shell out over $132 million in payroll this year, up from $104 million last year.
Business is booming - in ticket sales, merchandise, etc. - in Philliesville.
Oh yeah, here's some news-you-can-use from the clubhouse: the lineup for tomorrow's Grapefruit League opener, Phils at Pirates in Bradenton - was posted this morning. 1. Jimmy Rollins, SS 2. Shane Victorino, CF 3. Raul Ibanez, LF 4. Ryan Howard, 1B 5. Geoff Jenkins, RF 6. Matt Stairs, DH 7. Jason Donald, 2B 8. Eric Bruntlett, 3B 9. Chris Coste, C
Jamie Moyer will start. Joe Blanton is also scheduled to pitch.
Jayson Werth, Chase Utley, Pedro Feliz and Miguel Cairo are among those who won't be making the trip.
Headed to Clearwater this week? Here's the pitch...
When the Phils begin their Grapefruit League schedule this Wednesday, Jamie Moyer and Joe Blanton are scheduled to pitch against the Pirates at Bradenton, along with Joe Bisenius, Scott Nestor, and non-roster invitees Dave Borkowski, Mike Koplove and Jake Woods.
If you're headed to Clearwater for the first home game - Thursday against Toronto - you can check out two of the pitchers competing for the fifth starter spot. Carlos Carrasco and J.A. Happ are in line to see the first few innings of work.
Kyle Kendrick, another fifth starter hopeful, will pitch Saturday at Bright House against the Tampa Bay Rays (who may or may not bring Pat Burrell into town). Chan Ho Park is scheduled to share work with Brett Myers Sunday against the Braves at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.
Although Hamels is in good health, according to Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee, the team will give him a long leash and not rush him into too much work this spring.
------------------------------------------------------------------------ Remember Marcus Giles? He's in camp with the Phils, and could be the front-runner to be the right-handed bat off the bench team officials have been looking for in the last three months.
This blog wasn't functioning yesterday, so since it was a quiet morning inside the clubhouse today, here's a quick rundown on the busy day that was Saturday in Clearwater:
Chase Utley is getting closer to game ready...
For the second time this week - and the first that wasn't done in stealth-like fashion - Utley took batting practice in the indoor cage at Bright House Field. Utley, who underwent hip surgery in November, has visions of being ready by Opening Day. Although the original prognosis was the recovery would take 4-6 months, it looks like he could be ready well before Opening Day.
He showed no ill effects in the cage during a session he said lasted about "60 pitches."
Not the most vocal player, Utley was asked how it went afterward.
"It went well," the All-Star second baseman said.
Utley said the session lasted about 60 pitches. Head team athletic trainer Scott Sheridan watched the BP from behind the cage.
Charlie Manuel even peaked in and, afterward, wore the look of a man not the leats bit concerned in his surgically-repaired second baseman.
“He’s close,” Manuel said. “It won’t be long before we can turn him loose in a game.”
After throwing his first live batting practice session, J.C. Romero said he'll play for Team Puerto Rico in next month's World Baseball Classic. "I hope just playing for my country, being able to help the team, that will ... get me back on track, back to basics and forget about all this bull that goes around the game,” Romero said, hoping the WBC gets his mind off the 50-game suspension he'll serve at the start of the Phils' season. “Hopefully when I get back from Puerto Rico I can see things from a different perspective.”
Cole Hamels wasn't in camp today (he's due back Monday), but don't be alarmed. According to Phils officials, he is tending to a family matter. The Phillies, however, said they will take it slow with their ace this spring. Including the postseason, Hamels threw 262 2/3 innings last year - the most of any pitcher in baseball.
"We're going to give him a little extra time. He took extra time off (this winter), and rightfully so," pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "But he's basically on his same track as other spring trainings."
You know those pictures you see of a player on the jumbo-tron/phanavision when a player steps up to the plate at Citizens Bank Park. Those pictures are born today.
So if you see Jayson Werth looking like he just woke up on the jumbotron when he steps to the plate in June, it's probably because that was the case on a cold February morning at Spring Training.
Picture day does have it's funny moments. Besides a bat (for hitters) and a glove (for pitchers), the only other thing players need to bring is the name plate above their locker.
Can you imagine Jimmy Rollins having to use a name plate? Like they don't know who he is.... or what would Chase Utley say when they ask him to display the name plate? (Easy on those responses, this is a family blog... I think).
Of course, Charlie Manuel would rather not be bothered.
"What the hell.... I've already got dressed four different times since I woke up," the Phils manager said as the clubhouse clock read 9:01 a.m.
Later today, the guys on the playoff roster will take a group shot, wearing tuxedos, for a photo spread in Philadelphia Magazine. No ladies, there won't be a swimsuit edition.
The only other item of note today, as we count down the day before the first Grapefruit League game (Wednesday): today is the first day of live batting practice.
It's actually an underrated part of spring training, something you won't see at any other time this year (barring a blockbuster trade, of course). During the live BP sessions, you can see Jimmy Rollins take a crack at Cole Hamels or Ryan Howard take his cuts off Brad Lidge.
I'll be sure to include any highlights in the notes in tomorrow's paper.
I spoke with Chase Utley a week ago - when it was still kinda quiet in Clearwater - and he was hopeful to start swinging a bat.
In the week since, he's been busy taking his rehab work up a few notches. From dry swings to hitting off a tee, to softer grounders to hitting soft toss, Utley has progressed quite a bit in the last week. He spoke with the media this morning and got the big question out of the way from the start.
Hey, Chase, what are the chances you're starting at second base on Opening Day?
"The chances right now? I don’t want to jinx myself, but fair to quite fair."
Has his optimism changed since he's increased his rehab workload?
"Yeah, the more I do and the better I feel, there's no doubt I'm going to feel more optimistic. I've been taking ground balls, it's good to be back on the field... (the hip) hasn't bothered me whatsoever."
More from Utley in tomorrow's Daily Times, plus I chatted up with one of last falls playoff heroes. In the news biz, we call this a tease... so you'll just have to pick up your paper/log onto to delcotimes.com tomorrow to check that out.
Phillies Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt is in camp and in uniform, serving in his roving hitting instructor role.
Schmidt was asked, among other things, about the current, defending World Champs chances to have staying power.
"Dynasty may be a little bit of a harsh word, I don’t want to say that, but I think the mentality of this team led by Charlie of course, the heart beat of the team with Chase, Jimmy, Ryan... the guys surrounding them with great timing in their careers, Jayson Werth comes to mind. Cole Hamels is potentially, down the road a Steve Carlton-type kid. The ingredients are there for this team to win and be a post-season ball club for a long time."
I chatted with the 21-year old prospect after his workout yesterday, and I must say, I was taken aback by the change in his self-confidence from a year ago. It's not like he was a scared kid last spring or anything, but he appears a heck of a lot more comfortable in the big league uniform... and confident in his abilities. You can read the story, obviously, but I think there's a better chance he can win a rotation spot than some people may think. He's dominated in the last two stops (Lehigh Valley, Venezuela) that he's made.
Feb. 14 was the day Phils fan circled on their calendar because it the was day pitchers and catchers reported to Clearwater.
But today - Feb. 17 - is the first full-squad workout, meaning it's no longer just Cole Hamels, Brett Myers and company working out. Jimmy Rollins will pick up a bat for the first time, Shane Victorino will get his legs in gear and, sooner or later, the underrated live batting practice sessions will take place on the back fields at the Carpenter Complex.
Before everyone hits the field, however, Big Chuck gives his annual "Go Get 'Em" speech.
Shortly after 9 a.m. this morning the media was shuffled out of a packed clubhouse as Charlie Manuel strolled into with a mini, yellow legal pad in tow. He brought notes for his start-of-spring training speech.
We don't have a transcript - we tried to steal it, but Charlie is pretty crafty - but here's a look at what he said Saturday regarding his thoughts on what the team needs to hear as they defend their '08 World Championship and begin 2009.
Manuel broke down how he addressed pitchers and catchers before Saturday's workout. "I talked about 10-15 minutes or whatever. I was trying to find an ending to it and finally I just asked (pitching coach Rich) Dubee, ‘Do I need to say anything else?’ He said, ‘No Chuck. You covered it.’ That was kind of where it was at.
"It was about winning and winning again and the fact that we won last year. But that’s behind us now. If you’re thinking about yesterday, well that means you’re not doing nothing now. Our ultimate goal now is to win again. Before it was to win a World Series. Now it’s to win again, repeat.
"We’ve got the talent and I just want to keep the same way of playing, the same attitude and how we go about our business and we’ll be OK. I said 2-3 years ago, I know the guys on our team and that we would compete. If we play like we can and of course you’ve got to stay free of injuries and it’s a long season, but we have a good chance of repeating.
"I know how hard it is and I know other teams are going to be gunning for us, and I know how good we’ve got to play and I think they do too. Think down the stretch our pitching was the most consistent it’s been since I’ve been here.
"I told them today that either we should have learned how consistent we can be or that we just got on a good role. We’ll find out. Basically, we’ve got the same club. We always need to stay free of injuries and definitely we need depth with our pitching. We do have the young talent to get that this year."
Last year I attempted to post links to all my stories on the blog each morning. Well, our website has made a lot of very nice upgrades in the last year (you found the blog, right?!) so here's the skinny: I'll occasionally post links, but you can normally get all of you one-stop, Phillies-story shopping done at this address: delcotimes.com/sports
One more item. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and company have obviously done a very nice job this offseason, knocking down all their arbitration-eligible players and sealing multi-year deals with rising stars and soon-to-be free agents.
So realize when you watch this clip, it's all in good fun. It is pretty damn funny.
On Sunday, Jayson Werth, Matt Stairs and Eric Bruntlett arrived to camp.
On Tuesday, a day before the first, official, full-squad workout everyone else checked in, too. Shane Victorino, Greg Dobbs, Pedro Feliz and newcomer Raul Ibanez were all inside the clubhouse at Bright House Field before 9 a.m. And then shortly after 9, Jimmy Rollins arrived. There was at least one unofficial pool on what time J-Roll would arrive - most people had time slots between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m.... on Tuesday.
Jimmy at camp on Monday was a bit of a upset.
The sight of Jimmy strolling through with his equipment bag on his shoulder and a smile on his face and delivering handshakes all around continued the theme this spring: coming off a World Series championship, welcome to Camp Happy.
One other morning note: a bunch of scribes chatted it up with Feliz, who had back surgery in November. Pete Happy says he hasn't started swinging yet, but fully expects to be good to go for Opening Day. More on Feliz in Tuesday's Daily Times...
Perhaps the Phillies have found their right-handed bat for the bench. Perhaps not.
Either way, here's the skinny: the team has signed veteran infielder Miguel Cairo to a minor-league contract.
Cairo, a career .266 hitter in 13 big league seasons, hit .249 with no home runs 23 RBIs in 108 games with the Seattle Mariners last season.
The versatile Cairo, who played everywhere but center field, catcher and pitcher last year, has played second base the most in his career, so he could compete with spring-training invitee Marcus Giles as possible insurance for Chase Utley, who is recovering from hip surgery.
Not really. But as I sit in the press box on this lazy Sunday in Clearwater, that's what I feel like I'm watching. Three hulking lefties - Ryan Howard, Geoff Jenkins and Matt Stairs - are taking cuts off minor league coach Jerry Martin. Andy Tracy, who spend some time with the big league club, too, joined the trio for early-morning BP. It's Stairs first day in camp. His 10th swing of the spring nearly brought back memeories of Chavez Ravine (Phils fans won't soon forget his game-winning home run in Game 4 of the NLCS against the Dodgers).
An interesting thing to keep an eye on this spring is if the Phils break camp with both Stairs and Jenkins. The team has admitted they're looking for a right-handed bat off the bench, but in order to make room for that guy, they may need to trade a lefty.
(and yes, I took that photo with my phone from the pressbox. not great (no zoom on the iphone), but hey, I'm a writer, cut me some slack).
J.C. Romero: 50-game suspension is "insane, not fair, ridiculous."
Today is a joyous day for fans of Major League Baseball all across the world.
It's the official first day for pitchers and catchers to report to spring training.
Phils pitcher J.C. Romero checked into Camp Clearwater yesterday. This morning, he was in good spirits but still not happy with the ruling that will leave him out of the Phillies bullpen until June 1. Last month, Romero received a 50-game suspension for failing a drug test last summer. Romero took a supplement he bought from a GNC store, without realizing it contained an ingredient not kosher with MLB's drug policy.
Worse, the ingredient was not even on the product label.
Romero met with the media for the first time since the incident this morning. Read more in tomorrow's Sunday Times for the complete Romero story, but here's a little taste of what J.C. had to say:
On length of suspension: "It's ridiculous. I keep saying it. I don't think I should be suspended 50 games. It doesn't make any sense to me. They have some rules they have to follow, and it's very unfortunate that I have to be the one paying the price. In my mind, I think it's insane. I think it's unfair. I'm being, they say, negligent, but then I'm being accused as somebody who takes steroids. That doesn't fly too well. But it is what it is."
On being told last spring that stuff bought at GNC were okay to use: "Since all this mess started, that’s what they make sure they emphasize to us. I think to the Latin players, the simple fact was they (said) they weren’t responsible for the supplements that you buy in Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, so I guess that’s why they wanted us to make sure we buy it over here in the states. Before this case, they didn’t have any reason to believe that somebody could test positive offer supplements bought at GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, etcetera."
Eaton speaks, lots of folks arrive, ST preview, etc.
Several new players have filed in this morning - J.C. Romero, Chan Ho Park, Carlos Carrasco, among others.
Perhaps the most surprising: Adam Eaton has checked in. More later...
UPDATE: I'm still in a holding pattern, waiting to chat with Eaton. As you probably recall, Eaton was not with the team during the postseason... he was sent home after the Phillies wrapped up the regular season.
UPDATE AGAIN: Eaton spoke.
The long and short of it is this: (A) he doesn't regret not traveling with the team during the playoffs (he knew he didn't have a chance to pitch and thus, turned down the chance to stay fresh with others, like Kendrick, in Clearwater). (B) He sees this spring as a chance to show other teams he can pitch. (C) He wasn't at the parade, but would have came if he was invited.
Since pitchers and catchers officially begin working out as a group tomorrow, a herd of them have filed in this morning. Many are getting their annual spring physicals out of the way.
Among those checking in, Brett Myers. My first reaction when looking at Myers - how skinny did this guy get? Apparently he lost 30 pounds.
Myers is in a contract year (he can file for free agency at season's end). If his fit and trim look means a more focused, consistent effort on the mound, that would be a boost for the Phils.
Here's a rundown when others showed their faces in the clubhouse:
J.C. Romero, 8:45 a.m. Suspended for the first 50 games, he'll chat with the media tomorrow morning.
Carlos Carrasco, 8:55. The team's top pitching prospect, he'll compete for the fifth's starter spot this spring and could be a darkhorse if he dominates in Grapefruit League action.
Another right-handed bat off the market; Gill the Phil in the house
If there is one hole on the current, defending World Champions roster, it's on the bench.
Of the half dozen or so guys in the mix for reserve duties, only Eric Bruntlett and Chris Coste hit from the right side. In addition, Coste is a catcher, and thus, not likely to be called upon to pinch hit if the team carries two catchers.
So who's still out there on the free agent market? Every day the list dwindles. I just read this morning that veteran Kevin Millar, who spent the last few seasons in Baltimore, signed with Toronto.
Ty Wigginton recently finalized a deal with the Orioles. Rich Aurilia returned, once again, to the Giants.
Rocco Baldelli, a popular name in the rumor mill but unlikely to be a Phillie because of the limited amount of at-bats the right-handed bench guy would likely get, is on board with the Red Sox.
Despite new names signing every day, there is still no shortage of viable options.
The Phils would prefer to give the opportunity to Nomar Garciaparra, but the long-time, former star Red Sox shortstop hasn't made up of mind about retirement.
Moises Alou and Mark Grudzielanek are two other veterans still on the market.
But don't be surprised if the Phils stand pat... and possibly bring three catchers up north in seven weeks. By acquiring an experienced, major league backstop in Ronny Paulino in early December, the team could make Chris Coste their top right-handed bat off the bench and still not lose their backup catcher in the process with Paulino.
Anyway, that's just me thinking out loud here at 8:34 in the morning inside the quiet press room at Bright House Field.