Live from Clearwater, Your Daily M.A.S.H. Report
A large contingent of players stayed back here in Clearwater.
Among those taking batting practice at Bright House Field this morning: Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Ty Wigginton, Placido Polanco.
Among those playing catch in the outfield at Bright House: Roy Halladay, Jonathan Papelbon, Vance Worley, Antonio Bastardo and Kyle Kendrick. Cliff Lee was jogging along the outfield at the Carpenter Complex.
Then there were the half dozen players dealing with injuries, rehabbing injuries or re-learning a position: Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Laynce Nix, Dontrelle Wilis, Jose Contreras and Jim Thome.
Let's go through them one at a time:
-- Ryan Howard is 15 days removed from a procedure to clean an infection out of the site of his surgically-repaired left Achilles. He popped into the clubhouse this morning with his son... and with a very large boot on his left leg.
Howard is expected to have the boot through at least the end of the week; there remains no timetable for when he can resume baseball activities.
-- Chase Utley was one of the few (only?) players that wasn't seen on the field at Bright House at all today. No batting practice. No shagging baseballs. No pre-workout stretch with his teammates. And.... no word from Utley on how he's dealing with his chronic right knee tendinitis.
He was in and out of the clubhouse quick.
-- Laynce Nix was originally scheduled to be the DH in Kissimmee today. But he was a late scratch as he deals with a minor left rib cage injury. Nix said it was just smarter to take another day to let the bruise heal.
He suffered the injury on a collision at the plate Monday.
--Jose Contreras played catch and long toss with Antonio Bastardo, one day removed from his first game action since June. Contreras threw in a minor league game Monday.
Contreras said he felt good and would likely throw in a second minor league game Thursday.
--Jim Thome spent most of the morning working on stretching in the left field corner at Bright House. On Monday, Thome played four innings of a minor league game at first base, a position he hasn't played regularly since 2005.
"A little sore today, a little sore," Thome said. "But that's to be expected."
Thome said he'll DH in the major league game on Wednesday (in Clearwater against the Twins) before playing first base in another minor league game Thursday.
-- Dontrelle Willis threw off the mound Tuesday morning. It was the first time he had taken the mound since giving up four runs on three hits and two walks Wednesday against the Astros. Willis complained of arm tightness after that game and took two days off from throwing.
"I feel strong again... it was definitely encouraging," Willis said after throwing 25 pitches Tuesday.
Willis will find out Wednesday what's next. It'll likely be another bullpen session or, perhaps, a minor league game.