As the Phillies continue to get ready for their first game of the regular season on Sunday, April 5 against the Atlanta Braves, their first game of Spring Training will take place in less than two days. On Wednesday, February 25, they will play a 1:05 pm Eastern Grapefruit League game with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Pirates’ Spring Training home of Bradenton, Florida, at McKechnie Field. The Phillies will open their Spring Training schedule with Jamie Moyer and Joe Blanton on the mound.
Meanwhile, Chase Utley has been participating in fielding his position and in batting practice, but not taking any swings while in the cage, although he has taken swings elsewhere, and not on the batting tee, as he tries to get himself ready for opening day, although the Phils will be keeping an eye on him to prevent the possibility of a set-back through Utley’s eagerness to start. At the same time, Pedro Feliz is also taking grounders, but he has not been taking any swings in the batting cage, as the Phils worry about his back. But, with such options as Eric Bruntlett, prospect Jason Donald, Marcus Giles and Miguel Cairo in camp, the Phillies should be able to start the season okay in the infield for a few days if either player isn’t ready for opening day.
Phils’ opening day starter, Cole Hamels, will not pitch in a Grapefruit League game until March 4, as the Phils plan to go slowly with their ace, so that he will be ready to pitch by opening day, as well as to prevent him getting injured during spring training, as last year was his first year in the major leagues that he did not get injured.
Ah, opening day can’t come soon enough for me. GO PHILS!!! REPEAT!!!