Galvis: "It's a dream come true"
Freddy Galvis has arguably been the Phillies best player this spring.
So it's not too surprising that Ruben Amaro Jr. spoke with confidence in turning to Galvis in the wake of the news that Chase Utley will not be ready for Opening Day.
But it's at least a little surprising from the standpoint that Galvis has never played second base regularly until this month. Galvis has showed he has the tools and baseball acumen to handle it.
Earlier today, he sounded ready for the challenge, too.
"For me it’s hard. Losing Chase Utley, he’s a big guy for the team. But I know he’s going to get healthy soon, maybe a few weeks and I hope we get him better soon, but for me I feel real good right now. It’s a big opportunity. I think it’s my dream, to play in the big leagues. If I make it on the big league roster, that’s good...
"Everything’s moved fast. Three months ago I was thinking playing shortstop. Right now, it’s weird playing second base. But I have to, in my mind, move pretty fast. I was at shortstop and now I have to move to second base. But it’s a dream come true. Every young guy wants to be a big leaguer. I try to keep working hard and do the job."
I caught up with Charlie Manuel briefly before the game to ask about his reaction to the Utley news.
Q: I guess not having Utley on Opening Day isn't the news you wanted?
Manuel: Yeah I’m disappointed. It kind of sounds like he’s getting another opinion.
Q: Are you OK with Freddy as the backup plan?
Manuel: I’m ok with what we’ve got. I’ve always played with what we have. And what we have is what we have. And it’s up to us to work with that.
Q: Do you have enough offense though, with Howard out, too.
Manuel: We’ll wait and see.
For the Freddy Galvis story I wrote over the weekend (scroll up for the link), I spoke to Phillies first base coach and infield instructor Sam Perlozzo, who has worked extensively with Galvis this spring on the transition from short to second.
Perlozzo spoke glowingly about Galvis' ability, both the 22-year-old physical talent and his mentality, too.
Perlozzo on Galvis in general:
"He’s an intelligent baseball kid. You tell him one thing one time and he just has the ability to adapt to it.
We went out one day and talked about as many situations as I could think of that could happen, where a ball is going to be thrown to you when a guy is coming in, or when to get out of the way, or how to get out of the way sometimes and still be able to make the throw. We went over tons of things. But he picks them up. He wants it… I can see it in his eyes. I think the other years he’s been in camp, he knows he’s in camp. This year, I sense that feels like he belongs, that he’s a big league player. He’s sure of himself. That’s what has impressed me about him this year."
Perlozzo on Galvis' work at second this spring:
"I hope he gets a ton of action, because he needs to have things happen so he’s prepared for them the second time around. You don’t want to have something not ever happen and then it happens in a game and you have to adapt at that time. So I’d like to see him get tons of work. That first double play, we were looking for it for a while. We were looking for it, talking about it and I said its not going to be the first time until you get one. And then he got one. He handles that. And that, to me, that’s what I was concerned about. You don’t want to get in situation where its not there and you get hurt…. But he finally got one and he turned a great double play. He jumped and the guy went between his legs. That was a pretty good play."
Perlozzo on how Galvis has handled other aspects, like hitting, base running:
"The one thing about Freddy is he’s a team player. He’s in the foxhole with you. He’s in there as a team player, he’s going to bunt, he’s going to move runners over. He did it (Thursday) with a man on third… he hit a ground ball. He’s going to play the game of baseball for you as good as he can play it. If he doesn’t, it won’t because he’s not trying to do it.
"Certain guys on your team, that’s your job. You have to do those things. When I played I wasn’t a big guy who could hit the ball out of the ballpark, I had to be able to run, I had to be able to hit and run, had to be able to bunt. My average would go down because I’d move runners over all the time, but that keeps you in the game. Freddy is that kind of player. He’s willing, more than willing, to do it. And (he) enjoys it."