Monthly Archives: March 2009

Link it Up!

As you read this I am en route to or have already arrived in Florida, and no, I’m not there to cover the Phillies.  I figured I might as well leave you with a Link it Up! since internet access in the sunshine state will be sporadic at best and there will be a serious lack of posting in the next five days.  I should still be able to answer emails, from my phone, but I will not have access to emails at the site address.  shayrodd@gmail.com will do the trick, if you need to get in touch with me or just want to talk baseball…

Here is the latest, of our weekly feature, Link it Up!, where I provide you with links to stories of interest, importance, or humor, surrounding baseball or life.  Please follow the links and read the stories, I’m sure you’ll enjoy them.  Hopefully they can tide you over until my return.

Also, use the sidebar links.  Swing and a Long Drive is running an interview with me later this week, and Beerleaguer will never disappoint.

Here’s Link it Up!

1) An infomercial for a ladder goes bad: YouTube

2) Can this be the Phillies’ golden age?: Beerleaguer

3) An “interview” with our commander-in-chief: We Should Be GMs

4) John Finger fills us in on his chat with Chuck: CSNPhilly.com

5) Jimmy and Chase discuss Charlie’s bobblehead: The Fightins

6) Todd Zolecki has the deal on the Sarge’s hat line: The Zo Zone

7) J-Roll and wife star in Playboy: Long Drive: A Phillies Blog

8.) Former Phillies bust, Gavin Floyd, is a $15.5 million man: Balls Sticks & Stuff

9) Andy Martino continues informative, interesting news updates: The Phillies Zone

10) The ’09 mugshots are in: Swing and a Long Drive

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Saturday News

The Phillies went down to the Minnesotta Twins 2-1 in Clearwater today.  However, some good news did come out of the day:

Cole Hamels pitched a bullpen session this morning.  The session went well, according to reports.  Hamels threw a simulated two innings.  He took five minutes off between “innings.”  Hamels said afterward that he expects to throw a 50 pitch session in a minor league game Tuesday.

Hamels spoke about his session, “From the windup it felt good,” Hamels said. “The only soreness I have is from the injection, and that has been fading. Other than that, all the spots that were kind of causing me soreness didn’t cause me any discomfort at all, so I think that’s a good thing.”

So what does all this mean?  Will Hamels be ready for opening day? “Truly, I think that’s the last thing on my mind,” he said. “I just need to be game ready. I haven’t started throwing my curveball yet. I need to really focus on that, and I really need to be able to focus on locating my fastball in and out and throwing my changeup for strikes. That’s the only way I’ll be effective and good to this team is if I can go out there pitch healthy and get the job done.”

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Marcus Hayes, of the Philadelphia Daily News, reports that Scott Eyre was hit in the face with a batted baseball.  Hayes reports that “Eyre was hit on the point of his wiry goatee by a batted ball from John Mayberry Jr. during batting practice before today’s game with the visiting Twins. Eyre slowly buckled to the ground, where he felt a lower middle tooth loosened in its space.”

“I was picking up a ball and turned to the side to throw it,” Eyre told Geoff Jenkins following the incident. “I even looked into the cage, and I saw ‘Mabes’ in his stance. He must have been getting ready to hit the next one. Then I heard, ‘Heads up!’ but it was too late, and it hit me.”

Eyre appeared ok and pitched in the game.

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Programming Notes:

We’re currently assembling a round-table Phillies discussion that will unite bloggers, writers, and broadcasters.  Check back for that right before opening day.

Jason Weitzel, proprietor of Beerleaguer.com, edited the best Phillies preview I’ve ever read.  His Phillies 2009 Annual is available here.

Friend of the blog, Brian Startare, wrote his first book.  Flyer’d Up is available at your local Barnes & Noble or for your personalized copy, go here.

The site will be having a call-in radio show.  The first show is set for April 3.  We’ll have much more on that later.

We are still on Facebook and are in need of many more fans.  Please become our fan here.

If you have a site that should be considered for sidebar link consideration post it in the comment thread… not an email.  I will redo links, if necessary, next week.

Finally, I will be taking a one week hiatus from the blog beginning Monday.  The timing is rather unfortunate, but the trip was planned prior to even the start of the blog.  I looked into options to have someone take my place but it was not a realistic option.  Please use the sidebar links to the greatest blogs on the planet.  I think they can carry you until my return.

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Phillies to sport new uniforms/ patches

These are the Phillies’ new opening night uniforms.  Gold trim will surround the numbers and letters on the jerseys. They will be worn Opening Day only, and will eventually be auctioned off to benefit Phillies charities.

The Phillies also will be wearing a “World Series Champions 2008” patch on their home uniforms all season. They will not wear the patch on the road.

Information and graphic courtesy of Todd Zolecki’s Zo Zone

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Hamels to throw bullpen

Cole Hamels tossed with Jamie Moyer at a distance of 150 feet yesterday. The Phillies were very pleased with the way Hamels threw.  General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said that head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan was encouraged that Hamels was able to throw at that distance without any ill-effects.

Hamels had this to say to concerned Phillies fans: “They have nothing to worry about. They don’t need to jump on the bandwagon of freaking out. I try to be honest with you guys and tell you the truth as much as possible. If I was in some serious pain I would let you guys know. I hope you can go by my word, but I know that’s a hard thing to do.”

His status for opening day seems doubtful, but I’m not too worried about his status for this season.  He is scheduled to throw his first bullpen session tomorrow.

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Interview: Scott Lauber looks at the Phillies

Scott Lauber covers the Phillies beat for the Wilmington News Journal.  He also runs the blog Philled In, an inside take on your WFC.  I caught up with him, from Clearwater, to talk baseball last night.

SHAY RODDY: Alex Rodriguez admitted to taking steroids from 2001-2003. What does this mean for the game?
SCOTT LAUBER: Well, obviously, it isn’t good. In my mind, it only darkens the cloud that has been hovering over the game for years. A-Rod always was presumed to be clean, and when Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s all-time homer record, a lot of people in the game were quietly rooting for A-Rod to eventually surpass Bonds. Now, even A-Rod’s numbers must be called into question. And if A-Rod took steroids, it’s only natural for people to wonder which other players cheated, too. It’s unfortunate for the players who really are clean because I think everyone falls under that cloud of suspicion now.

SHAY RODDY: Is he still a Hall-of-Famer?
SCOTT LAUBER: Tough question. Fortunately, we don’t have to decide yet. A-Rod is going to play several more years. I don’t mean to offer a cop-out answer here, but I think I’ll reserve judgment until I have to make a decision. (Full disclosure: I’m not a Hall of Fame voter yet. I’ve been covering the Phillies/MLB for four years, and only 10-year members of the Baseball Writers Association of America get a vote.)

SHAY RODDY: How has baseball changed for you since you started covering it?
SCOTT LAUBER: I started covering baseball full-time in 2000. Back then, I covered the Mets’ Double-A team for the newspaper in Binghamton, N.Y., which was a lot different than covering the Phillies. For one thing, I was the only writer who covered the team. The game itself, on the field, hasn’t changed much. Mostly, I’ve seen changes with how teams are built. At one time, it seemed like the big-market teams could buy their way into the playoffs each year. The Yankees always have been the highest-payroll team, and they’re payroll has topped $200 million for several years. But they haven’t won a World Series since 2000. To me, it shows that teams have to build from within, at least to some degree. The Phillies, for example, have a homegrown nucleus. I think that’s the way to do it. Then, you fill in the gaps with free agents. Obviously, the other change has involved performance-enhancing drugs. Players are tested now (they weren’t when I started covering baseball), and we just know so much more about what went on during the so-called steroid era.

SHAY RODDY: Who has surprised you most at Phillies Spring Training this season?
SCOTT LAUBER:I’ve been impressed with John Mayberry Jr. When the Phillies traded for him in November, I asked Ruben Amaro Jr. if Mayberry could be in the mix for a job this year. At the time, Ruben said, “We’ll see.” Well, what the Phillies are seeing is that Mayberry has major-league power, a strong arm and surprising speed. The only question is whether he (and other young players, like Jason Donald) is better off playing every day in Triple-A or coming off the bench in the majors. I think Mayberry can help the Phillies off the bench. I’ve also been impressed with Chan Ho Park. He came to camp in phenomenal shape, proving how much he really wants to win the No. 5 starter job. And, so far, he has outpitched everyone else in the running.

SHAY RODDY: Who will be the Phils’ opening day fifth starter?
SCOTT LAUBER: My answer to that question seems to change by the day. Today, on March 16, I’m going to say J.A. Happ. He was impressive last September, and he has pitched well so far this spring. Much better, in fact, than Kyle Kendrick. In some ways, I think the Phillies prefer using Park as a multi-inning reliever. But, if he winds up pitching better than both Happ and Kendrick over the next 2-1/2 weeks, it’s going to be difficult for them to send him to the bullpen. Carlos Carrasco has great stuff, but it looks like he needs more time in Triple-A. So, for now, I’ll say Happ will be the No. 5 starter, with Park in the bullpen. Ask me next week, though, and I may have a different answer!

SHAY RODDY: Ruben Amaro, Jr. took over as GM for Pat Gillick he’s signed every restricted free-agent and replaced the Phils’ only major loss (Pat Burrell). Have you been impressed with him as a first year GM?
SCOTT LAUBER: I have. Amaro was decisive in determining that the Phils were going to go in a different direction from Burrell, and he acted swiftly to sign Raul Ibanez. Some people think the Phillies overpaid for Ibanez, and that may be the case, given the sluggish free-agent market. But, for 2009, I think Ibanez will be an upgrade over Burrell. Park was a nice pick-up, and although it took longer than I thought, re-signing Jamie Moyer was critical. For me, though, the biggest achievement for Amaro & Co. was locking up several of the Phillies’ arbitration-eligible players to multiyear deals. I didn’t think they’d be able to get anything done with Ryan Howard, and I had my doubts about Cole Hamels. Amaro and new deputy Scott Proefrock were able to get both signed for more than one year, and that was no easy feat.

SHAY RODDY: Finish this sentence… The Phillies will…
SCOTT LAUBER: … be back in the playoffs in 2009.

SHAY RODDY: Finish this sentence… The Mets will…
SCOTT LAUBER: … face the Phillies in an epic NLCS.
SHAY RODDY: Should we be worried about the Marlins or Braves?
SCOTT LAUBER: Absolutely. The Marlins have excellent young pitching (Nolasco, Johnson, Volstad, Sanchez and Miller are all very good) and a dynamic middle infield with Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla. And it seems like they always give the Phillies a tough time. All the Braves have to do to be better than last year is stay healthy.
SHAY RODDY: What’s the Phils biggest concern?
SCOTT LAUBER: Honestly, I think it’s putting last season behind them. One of the relievers told me recently there was some good-natured chatter in the bullpen during the World Series about how they could possibly get pumped about playing another regular-season game after going through the excitement of the playoffs. So, I think the Phillies will have to guard against a post-championship letdown, even on a subconscious level, especially because every team will be gunning for them. It’s very difficult to repeat. It hasn’t happened since the 1998-2000 Yankees. A National League team hasn’t repeated since the 1975-76 Reds. An NL team hasn’t even won back-to-back pennants since the 1995-96 Braves. So, clearly, the odds aren’t in the Phillies’ favor. But, barring any unforeseen injuries, I think they have the best all-around club in the NL East. I think the offense will be more consistent than it was last year, and the pitching should be pretty good. But they can’t get off to a slow start and put themselves in a hole. You can’t rely on a September surge every year.

SHAY RODDY: You co-authored a book with Gary “Sarge” Matthews, a former Phillies outfielder and current broadcaster.  How did that go down?
SCOTT LAUBER: The whole process was really a lot of fun. And, obviously, as an author trying to sell a book, it had a great ending. I had never written a book before, but the publisher, Triumph Books, got me and Sarge together back in June. We sat down several times a week and tried to touch on every key point in the season. For me, it was just really interesting to get Sarge’s perspective on things. As an ex-major leaguer and broadcaster, he sees things a little differently than I do, as a writer who didn’t play baseball beyond high school. It was a great experience for me. As a sportswriter, you don’t root for a team. You root for a compelling story. And there was no better story to write about last year than the one the Phillies gave us.

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Phils thumped by Yanks 12-0

The Phillies got rocked by the Yankees today at Steinbrenner Field, 12-0.  It wasn’t pretty.  Sloppy defense (2 errors) and lack of hitting (six hits; 0-for-3 with men in SP) irked Phils’ manager Charlie Manuel.

“We made mistakes,” Charlie said. “We made a helluva lot of [bleepin’] mistakes.”

“I think any game like that pisses you off and the best thing you can do is [bleepin’] get out there and get on that [bleepin’] bus and forget about that sonofabitch. That was a horse[bleep] [bleepin’] game and if I played in a [bleepin’] game like that, I’d definitely [bleepin’] take some good inventory of myself. That was a horse[bleep][ bleepin’] game. They don’t get much worse than that. It was terrible.”

The Phillies will look to bounce back tomorrow against the Reds at 1:05.

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Cole Hamels back to Philly

Here’s the scoop:  Cole Hamels left Clearwater tonight for the Philadelphia area to have his left elbow examined tomorrow by team doctor Michael Ciccotti. General manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. said that Hamels complained about “a little bit of a persistent soreness” in his elbow. “We thought it was important at this time for Dr. Ciccotti to check it out,” Amaro said.

“We thought it was important for Dr. Ciccotti to check him out and see if there is anything more serious than what we think it is. He’ll decide once he sees him tomorrow morning if he needs to do any testing or any further testing. We did do a physical on him before we ended up finalizing the multiyear deal with him and felt comfortable with the diagnostics and such. But, you know, he’s had a little bit of persistent soreness and we want to be cautious about it and have him checked out.”

Hamels also downplayed it.  “It’s not a big deal,” Hamels said, “It’s something I don’t want to have to deal with through the season… I have it every spring training, but normally it lasts about a week to two weeks.”  He says this time it has lasted for “several weeks.”

But is his opening day start in jeapordy?

“It’s a possibility, I guess,” Amaro said. “But again, we won’t know anything until the doctor sees him. Right now he’s still on course to do that. We’ll see if there are any further issues.

More good news:  At about 9:45 this morning, Jim Salisbury, of the Philadelphia Inquirer, saw Hamels long tossing in the Bright House Field outfield.  Salisbury estimated the distance to be 125 feet.  This means the Phillies aren’t scared to have him throw.  More reason to believe it’s not a severe situation.

When Hamels met the media at 11 AM, he had this to say: “When I’m in games I feel fine. It’s coming out of the games, having it stiffen up. Normally, when I’m done I’m able to do stuff. It was still kind of lingering. Maybe it will kind of go away over time. It never got worse, but it never completely went away.”

Oh, and that opening day question… Hamels will be ready to go.  “Twenty days until Opening Day,” Hamels said. “My body and shoulder is pretty much ready. It’s just trying to get that mild discomfort out.”

Quotes courtesy of: The Phillies Zone, The Zo Zone, High Cheese

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