The Phils officially started spring training on Thursday, February 13, as pitchers and catchers arrived at Clearwater, followed this week by the rest of the squad, although a large number of players had been at Clearwater during the off-season, getting ready for the 2014 season, especially first baseman Ryan Howard, who has been trying to get back into playing shape.
On Friday, February 14, former ballplayer and ex-Phil manager Jim Fregosi passed away at age 71 from multiple strokes. Fregosi, who broke into major league baseball as a shortstop in September 1961, had an 18-year career playing for the Los Angeles/California Angels, the New York Mets, the Texas Ranger and the Pittsburgh Pirates. A six-time All-Star and a gold glove winner (1967), he would play in 1902 games, having a .265 career batting average (1726 for 6523) as he hit 264 2Bs, 78 3Bs and 151 HRs, knocking in 706 RBIs, while scoring 844 times. He would also walk 715 times. After retiring from baseball during the 1978 season, he would be hired as the manager of the team that he had begun his playing career, the Angels, starting a career that would end in 2000, during which he would be the manager of the Angels (1978-1981), the Chicago White Sox (1986-1988), the Philadelphia Phillies (1991-1996) and the Toronto Blue Jays (1999-2000), compiling a managerial record of 1028-1094 .484, as he managed a total of 2122 games. He would lead the Angels into the playoffs in 1979 as they won the American League West, but losing the AL Championship Series, 3-1, to the Orioles, and he would lead the Phils in 1993 to the World Series, before losing the series, 4-2, to the Blue Jays.
On the 16, the Phils finalized their one-year deal with A.J. Burnett, in which they would give the veteran pitcher $15 million dollars plus a $1 million buyout on a mutual option for 2015. Burnett also has a player option for $7.5 million if he exercises his option. With the buyout options and other incentives, Burnett could end up receiving a two-year contract worth $ 33.5 million. He also has a partial no-trade clause, in which he would have to sign off on any possible trade involving nine other teams. In order to make room for Burnett on their roster, the Phils placed left-handed reliever Joe Savery on waviers, awaiting reassignment. On Monday the 17, the A’s picked Savery off of waivers. Selected by the Phils in the first round of the draft back in 2007, Savery has pitched for the Phils for parts of three seasons (2011-2013), appearing in 41 games, with a 3-2 record and a 3.15 ERA, as he pitched in 47.2 innings, giving up 42 hits and 28 runs, 22 of which were earned, as he struck out 32 batters, while walking 19.
As spring training continues, former Phil Roy Holladay has come to camp as a special pitching instructor, offering advice to the team’s younger players. Hopefully they’ll listen to the future Hall of Famer.
The Phils (4-5, 4th), after leaving Citizens Bank Park with their first series win of 2013, will start a three-games series with the last place Marlins (1-8, 5th), the team with presently the worst record in the National League. The game will be played at Marlins Park and will start at 7:10 EDT.
The Phils will put on the mound their fifth-game starter John Lannan (0-0, 3.86), who is coming off a rather good start against the Royals on April 6, in his first start as a Phil, as he went seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits, while striking out five, holding off the Royals until the Phils were able to make a comeback in the ninth inning to win the game by the score of 4-3. He will be trying to win his first start as a Phil, while trying to lead the club to their first three-game winning streak. The Marlins will counter with Ricky Nolasco (0-1, 3.97), who is making his third start of the season, as he comes off a no-decision against the Mets on April 6, as he went five and a third innings, giving up three runs on six hits and three walks, while striking out three, in the Marlins’ 7-3 lost. He will once again be looking for his first win of the season, while the fish will be looking for their second win of 2013. The Phils will be trying to take advantage of the Marlins’ early season woes, while trying to move up in the NL East standings, while trying to keep from falling any further behind the first place Braves.
After nine games, the Phils have three regulars with a .300 or better batting average, third baseman Michael Young (.375 (12 for 32)), second baseman Chase Utley (.333 (11 for 33)) and shortstop Jimmy Rollins (.316 (12 for 38)), with Utley presently leading the team with nine RBIs and is tied for the team’s lead in home runs with two (tied with Dom Brown) and for the team’s lead in triple with one (along with Young), while Rollins is the team’s leader in doubles with five. Utley and Rollins are tied for second place in stolen bases with three each, both trailing Ben Revere, who presently has four. Rollins is tied for second in RBIs with five with both Ryan Howard and Brown, as they all trail Utley. Rollins, for now, is batting a lot better as the second batter in the Phils’ line-up, looking like the Rollins of 2007-2008, while Utley appears to have gone back to what he was doing before his foot problems of the last two seasons (2011-2012). The biggest disappointment, at the moment, is Howard, who is presently batting (.200 (7 for 35)), despite him showing that he might have finally gotten it during spring training (.322 (28 for 87)), but seems to have gone back to swinging at the junk pitches of breaking balls out of the strike zone and high fastballs, as he have collected only one extra-base hit, a home run, as he has struck out a team leading twelve times. As long as he continue to go after the junk, opposing pitchers will not throw him any good pitches to hit, unless Young start to force them to start pitching to Howard by continuing to hit.
Phils’ shortstop Jimmy Rollins have just won his fourth Gold Glove Award. Jimmy, who have won previous gold gloves in 2007-09, with his win is now ranked third in franchise history with the most gold gloves won by a Phil, trailing only Mike Schmidt (10) and Garry Maddos (8).
During the season, Rollins, who continued to be an outstanding defensive player, only batted .250, with a .427 Slugging Percentage and a very low .316 On-Base Percentage (.743 OPS), as he went 158 for 632, including 33 doubles, 5 triples and 23 home runs, knocking in 68 runs, while scoring 102 times, as he appeared in 156 games. He also had 30 stolen bases, being caught only 5 times during the season.
Carlos Ruiz missed winning a gold glove as he was beaten out by the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina.
The Phils (10-12, 4th East) will conclude their four-game series with the Cubs (8-14, 6th Central), as they try to recover from being owned by Cubs’ starter Matt Garza (2-1, 2.67) yesterday for seven innings, being able to get only one hit and a walk against him in the ballgame, while the Cubs would be able to score single runs in the second, third and fourth innings off of Phils’ starter Kyle Kendrick (0-2, 6.59), who had a much better outing then he did April 23, against the D-backs, before getting two runs off of reliever David Herndon in the eighth. The Phils would finally get a run in the ninth off of a hit and three walks given up by Cubs’ reliever Carlos Marmol, before he would finally put out the fire. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and is to start at 7:05 pm EDT.
The Phils will send to the mound Vance Worley (2-1, 2.16), who is coming off a victory over the D-backs on April 24, as he went six strong innings, giving up only a run on five hits and a walk, while striking out six, in the Phils’ 8-5 win. Against the Cubs, Worley has a career record of 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA, while he had struck out seven Cubs. He will be trying to lead the Phils to a series split with the Cubs. The Cubs will counter with Chris Volstad (0-3, 6.14), who is coming off a lost against the Cardinals on April 25, where he went six innings, giving up four runs on six hits, while striking out just two, in the Cubs’ 5-1 lost. Against the Phils, he has a record of 2-5 with a 5.88 ERA, while he had struck out 45 Phils. He will be trying to get his first win for 2012, while hoping that the Phils’ offense won’t use him as a punching bag. The Phils will be trying to end the month of April, their first losing April since 2007, on a winning note, before going onto the road to meet the Braves and the Nats.
Pat Burrell, who had played left field for the Phils from 2000-2008, and was a key member of the 2008 World Series Championship team, and the Phils have announced that he will officially retire as a Phil during the team’s weekend series with the Red Sox, May 18-20, after first signing a one-day contract. Burrell, the team’s no. 1 draft pick in 1998, would spend nine seasons with the ball club, playing in a total of 1306 games, with a batting average of .257 (1166 for 4535) with an OBP of .367 and an SLG of .485. As a Phil, among his 1166 hits were 253 doubles (14th), 14 triples and 251 home runs (4th) for a total of 518 extra-base hits (9th). He would also walk 785 times (5th). Burrell would knock in 827 RBIs (8th), while scoring 655 runs. Burrell’s main claim to fame as a Phil would be him hitting a double in the bottom of the seventh inning of game five of the 2008 World Series, which would lead to the game winning run. Burrell would then become a member of the 2009-10 Blue Jays, before joining the Giants later in 2010, becoming a member of their 2010 World Series Championship team, and then a member of their 2011 squad, before being released because of an aching right foot late in the season, and then announcing his retirement after the 2011 season. During his twelve years in the Major Leagues, Burrell would appear in a grand total of 1640 games, mostly as a left fielder and a DH (Rays), accumulating a career batting average of .253 (1393 for 5503), with an OBP of .361 and an SLG of .472 for an OPS of .834. He would have a total of 299 doubles, 16 triples and 292 home runs for a total of 607 extra-base hits, while he would walk a total of 932 times. Burrell would bring in a total of 976 runs, while crossing the plate 767 times.
Yesterday, the Nationals announced that they have signed Brad Lidge, one of the heroes of the Phils’ 2008 World Series Championship team, to a one-year deal worth $1 million dollars, plus incentives. Lidge, who had joined the Phils in an off-season trade with the Houston Astros in 2007, went 48 for 48 in save opportunities during the 2008 regular and post-seasons, before striking out Eric Hinske to give the Phils the championship. Plagued by injuries during the next three seasons (2009-2011), Lidge would pitch in four seasons for the Phils, the first three as their closer, compiling a record of 100 saves in 116 save opportunities, with a win-loss record of 3-11, as he pitched in 214 games, appearing in 203 total innings. During the 2011 season, after coming back from injury, Lidge would perform in mainly middle relief, appearing in 25 games, pitching in 19.1 innings, as he compiled an 0-2 record with 1 save in 1 save opportunity, with a 1.40 ERA. He would strike out 23 batters while walking only 13.
Originally a member of the Astros from 2002-2007, including being a member of the 2005 National League Champs, Lidge would appear in 592 games, all but 1 in relief, compiling a career record of 26-31, with an ERA of 3.44, while saving 223 games in 266 attempts, as he pitched in 594 innings. During his career, he would strike out a total of 789 batters, while walking only 276.
So long, Brad, good luck with your new team, except when you’re pitching against the Phils, of course. 🙂
The Phils have just announced that they have traded utility infielder Wilson Valdez to the Reds for left-handed relief pitcher Jeremy Horst.
Wilson Valdez, who had spent two seasons (2010-11) with the Phils, playing second base, shortstop and third base, as well as pitch a shutout inning in an extra-innings game (19), getting the win, played in 210 games for the Phils, batting .254 (154 for 606) with a .300 on-base percentage, as he hit 30 doubles, 7 triples and 5 HRs, while knocking in 65 RBIs. During last season, he batted .249 (68 for 273) as he appeared in 99 games, hitting 14 doubles, 4 triples and a home run, while knocking in 30 RBIs, while scoring 39 runs. Valdez, a career .243 hitter, has also played for the White Sox, the Mariners, the Padres, the Dodgers and the Mets from 2004-05, 2007-09, before joining the Phils.
Jeremy Horst, who the Phils are getting in return, is a 2007 Reds draft pitch, who made his major league debut last season. Coming out of the bullpen, he pitched in 12 games, compiling a record of 0-0 with a 2.93 ERA, as he pitched in 15.1 innings, giving up six runs, five of which were earned, as he gave up 18 hits. He also struck out nine players, while walking only six. He will come to spring training as a non-roster invitee. Horst, who is a left-hander, will likely be trying to become the late-innings left-handed specialist the Phils want to compliment Antonio Bastardo.
With the move, it is most likely that former Rule 5 pick, Michael Martinez, will be taking Valdez’s place as the Phils’ utility infielder. The less I’ll say about that, the better I’ll feel. Prove us all wrong, Mini-Mart!!!
Sorry to see you go, Wilson, and welcome to the club, Jeremy.