The Phils took the lead in the top of the first as, with the bases loaded, via a lead-off single by Ben Revere, who then went to third base on shortstop Jose Reyes’ force attempt throwing error to second base of Bobby Abreu’s grounder, while Abreu was safe at first and a walk to Darin Ruf, moving Abreu up to second base, and with one man out, Revere would score on catcher Erik Kratz’s passed ball, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead, while both Abreu and Ruf would move up a base. The Blue Jays would tie the game up at one-all in their half of the first as, with a runner on second, and with one man out, Jose Bautista hits an RBI double, knocking in Moises Sierra, who had earlier doubled. The Phils retook the lead in the top of the third as, with a man on first, and with nobody out, Ruf hits a two-run home run, his first home run of the spring, knocking in Abreu, who had started the inning off with a walk, giving the Phils a 3-1 lead. The Blue Jays would get a run back in their half of the third as, with a runner on first, and with two men out, Bautista hits an RBI double, his second double of the ballgame, scoring Sierra, who had earlier reached base on first baseman Ruf’s missed catch error of third baseman Cody Asche’s throw to first, making it a 3-2 Phils’ lead. The Blue Jays tied the game up again at 3-all in the bottom of the fourth as, with runners on the corners, and with two men out, Kenny Wilson hits an RBI single, knocking in Melky Cabrera, who was earlier safe at first base on a 6-4 force out, forcing out at second base Brett Lawrie, who had started the inning off with a single, then moved up to second base on Maicer Izturis’ single, then went to third on Kratz’s fly out to right, while Izturis, who had earlier singled, would stop at third base. The Blue Jays then took a 4-3 lead a batter later as Reyes hits an infield single to short, scoring Izturis, while sending Lawrie up to second base. The Blue Jays increased their lead in the bottom of the fifth as, with runners on the corners, and with nobody out, Lawrie hits an RBI double, scoring pinch-runner Kevin Nolan, who was pinch-running for Bautista, who had started the inning off with a single, then went to third base on Edwin Encarnacion’s single, giving the Blue Jays a 5-3 lead, while sending pinch-runner Andy LaRouche, who was pinch-running for Encarnacion, who had just singled, on to third base. The Blue Jays then made it a 7-3 lead as Cabrera hits a two-run double, scoring LaRouche and pinch-runner Jared Goedert, who was pinch-running for Lawrie. The Phils would get a run back in the top of the sixth as, with two men out, John Mayberry, Jr. hits a solo home run, his first home run of the spring, making it a 7-4 Blue Jays’ lead. The Phils then cut the Blue Jays’ lead down to 7-5 in the top of the eighth as, with the bases loaded, via Maikel Franco reaching first base on third baseman Goedert’s fielding error, a walk to Reid Brignac, moving Franco up to second base, and Kelly Dugan being hit by the pitch, moving both runners up a base, and with one man out, Franco would score on a force attempt throwing error by first baseman LaRoche to second base as he tried to throw out Dugan on Tommy Joseph’s ground ball, while Brignac would move up to third base on the error, as Dugan would be safe at second base and Joseph would stop at first base. That would end up being the final score as Marcus Walden would record his first save of the spring by pitching a 1-2-3 ninth.
Cliff Lee pitched two innings, giving up a run on two hits, while striking out three. Brad Lincoln collected his first hold of the spring as he threw an inning, giving up an unearned run on a hit, while he struck out a batter. Jake Diekman blew his first save of the spring before taking the lost (0-1, 18.00) as he pitched an inning, giving up two runs on four hits. Ethan Martin pitched to four batters, getting none of them out, as he gave up three runs on three hits and a walk. Michael Stutes, Mario Hollands and B.J. Rosenberg would combine for four 1-2-3 innings, striking out two batters (Hollands (1), Rosenberg (1)) between them. R.A. Dickey pitched two innings, giving up an unearned run on two hits, two walks and a passed ball, while striking out two. Esmil Rogers pitched an inning, giving up two runs on a hit and a walk, while striking out a batter. Brett Cecil (1-0, 0.00) got the win as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Dustin McGowan pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Aaron Loup pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit. Jeremy Jeffress collected his first hold of the spring as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk. Rob Rasmussen collected his first hold of the spring as he threw an inning, giving up an unearned run on a walk and a hit batter. Marcus Walden received his first save of the spring as he threw a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two.
The Phils had six hits in the game, with Ben Revere leading the team with three hits, all singles, followed by John Mayberry, Jr. (Single, Home Run). Darin Ruf had the other Phil hit, a two-run home run. Tommy Joseph had the other Phil RBI on a bases loaded throwing error while their final run came in on a Erik Kratz’s passed ball. The Phils also had five walks in the game (Bobby Abreu (2), Ruf, Maikel Franco, Mayberry), a stolen base (Mayberry (1)) and a hit batter (Dugan), while the defense committed two errors (Franco (2), Wil Nieves).
The Phils (0-2) will play their next game in Clearwater at Bright House Field against a Detroit Tigers (2-0) split-squad at 1:05 pm EST. Kyle Kendrick (10-13, 4.70 (2013)) is scheduled to start for the Phils, while the Tigers plan to send Jose Alvarez (1-5, 5.82 (2013)) to the mound. The Phils will try to gain their first Grapefruit League win before the start of March.
As the Phils’ 2013 season wounded down, with the club wounding up in fourth place in the five-team NL East with a 73-89, .451 record, 23 games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves, the Phils first post-season move was to make interim manager, Hall of Famer Ryan Sandberg, the team’s 52nd manager, by signing him to a three-year contract on September 22, 2013. The Phils’ next move was to announce on September 30 that Rich Dubee was not returning as the team’s pitching coach, ending a nine season relationship with the Phils, as the team started to look for a new pitching coach. On that same day, they announced that they were promoting from the team’s Minor League system, Paul Fournier, as the team’s new strength and conditioning coach, replacing Doug Lien, who had held that position for the previous six seasons, as the club hopes to improve the team’s overall health.
The Phils next move was to make a shake-up in their 40 men roster as they outrighted infielders Michael Martinez and Pete Orr, right-handed pitcher Zach Miner and lefthander Mauricio Robles on October 3, while, on that same day, the Indians picked up right-hander Tyler Cloyd off of the waiver-wire, while the Astros picked up leftie Raul Valdes, opening up six spots on the roster.
Two days later, on October 5, the Phils announced that they would not be renewing the contract of bullpen catcher, Mick Billmeyer, who had been with the club since 2004, first as the catching instructor, then as the bullpen coach in 2009, before becoming the bullpen catcher in 2012. The next Phils move came from out of the blue as, on October 8, former Phils’ player and one time Phils’ manager, and fan favorite, Larry Bowa, rejoined the team as the new bench coach, while another ex-Phil, Pete Mackanin, would join the team as the new third base coach. The Phils also announced that Steve Henderson would remain as the team’s hitting coach while Wally Joyner would leave as the team’s assistant hitting coach, later being hired by the Detroit Tigers as their new hitting coach, while John Mizerock would later become the new assistant hitting coach and Jesus Tiamo would become the new catcher coach, as Juan Samuel would stay on as the team’s first base coach, while Rod Nichols would remain the bullpen coach.
The next move occurred on October 17 as John Lannan decided to become a free agent after he had been outrighted by the club, after refusing assignment.
Then on November 5, the Phils announced that they were hiring Scott Freedman to help the ballclub better understand the use of analytics in the evaluation of players. Seven days later, on November 12, the Phils announced their first free agent signing, as they signed right fielder Marlon Byrd to a two-year contract worth $16 million dollars. Byrd, who is a right-handed batter, and an ex-Phil, has played in the majors from 2002, having played for the Phils (2002-05), the Nats (2005-06), the Rangers (2007-09), the Cubs (2010-12), the Red Sox (2012), the Mets (2013) and the Pirates (2013), appearing in 1250 games, hitting .280 (1222 for 4367), knocking in 533 RBIs as he scored 600 times. Among his 1222 hits were 252 doubles, 32 triples and 106 HRs, while he has also walked 307 times. The Phils plan to use him in the line-up behind Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, the later of whom the team hopes will bounce back from several injuries plagued seasons and regain his form as the team’s RBI and home runs leader. The Phils next announced on November 15 that they have given four players minor league contracts with invites to spring training: right-hander Shawn Camp, left-hander Cesar Jimenez and outfielders Clete Thomas and Leandro Castro.
The Phils then announced on November 18 that they have resigned present catcher Carlos Ruiz to a three-year deal worth $26 million dollars with a team option of $4.5 million or a $500,000 buyout for 2017. The next day, the team announced that they have signed a minor league contract, with a spring training invitation, to infielder Reid Brignac, who would be competing for a utility infielder position with Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis. On November 20, the Phils announced that they were adding four minor league prospects to their 40-man roster to keep them from being picked up by other teams in December’s 5-Rule draft: outfielders Aaron Altherr and Kelly Dugan, catcher Tommy Joseph and left-hander Rob Rasmussen.
The following day, November 22, the Phils signed Bob McClure as their new pitching coach, replacing Dubee. On that same day, they announced that they have signed infielder Andres Blanco to a minor league contract, with an invite to spring training.
On December 4, the Phils made a trade with the Blue Jays, receiving right-handed pitcher Brad Lincoln in exchange for catcher Erik Kratz and minor league pitcher Rasmussen. Lincoln, who has pitched for the Pirates and the Blue Jays (2010-13) has appeared in 97 games, 22 of which was as a starter, for a record of 9-11 with a 4.66 ERA. With one career save in two attempts, he has pitched in 220 games, giving up 228 hits, 123 runs, 114 of which were earned, as he struck out 167 batters while walking only 77. The Phils will likely use him in the bullpen. After the trade, the ballclub would sign catcher Wil Nieves to a one-year deal on December 5, as the team’s back-up catcher. Nieves, who has played for the Padres (2002), the Yankees (2005-2007), the Nats (2008-10), the Brewers (2011), the Diamondbacks (2012), the Rockies (2012-13) and the Diamondbacks again (2013), has appeared in 385 games, hitting .242 (249 for 1029), with 46 doubles, 2 triples and 8 home runs, as he knocked in 103 RBIs while scoring 78 times. He has also walked 59 times. On that same day, the Phils signed right-handed pitcher Jeff Manship to a minor league contract with a spring training invitation.
Then, on December 9, Roy Halladay announced his retirement from baseball, ending a 16-year career with the Blue Jays and the Phils, as he didn’t think he would be able to pitch after his most recent arm injury. Halladay, who said that he had signed a one-day contract with the Blue Jays to end his career as a Jay, and had paid a full page ad in the Philly newspaper thanking the Phils fans for their support during his time as a Phils (2010-13), had appeared in 416 career games, 390 as a starter, with a career record of 203-105, with a 3.38 ERA and a career save, had completed 67 games, 20 for shutouts, as he pitched in 2749.1 total innings, striking out 2117 batters as he walked only 592, as he gave up 2646 hits and 1135 runs, only 1034 of which were earned. He also threw a perfect game and a no-hitter in the post-season, both of which occurred during his first season as a Phil (2010). Thanks for being a member of the Phils, Roy, and being a class act, and wish you luck getting into the Hall.
On December 12, through the Rule 5-draft, the Phils would acquire right-hander Kevin Munson from the Diamondbacks’ Reno club, while they would lose right-hander Seth Rosin to the Mets, who would then trade him to the Dodgers for cash in the major league portion of the draft, and shortstop Jonathan Roof to the Red Sox in the Triple-A part of it, both from their Reading affiliate.
Next, on December 18, the Phils signed a one-year deal with right-hander Roberto Hernandez for $4.5 million dollars, plus performance and award bonuses. Hernandez, who has previous pitched for the Indians (2006-12) and the Blue Jays (2013), has appeared in 216 games, 177 as a starter, with a 59-82 record, with a 4.67 ERA. He will be part of the Phils’ starting rotation, along with Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick and Jonathan Pettibone.
In January, the Phils made a new TV-deal with Comcast for 25-year, which included broadcasters Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews not returning to the broadcast booth. On the 14, the Phils had four players file for salary arbitration: outfielders Ben Revere and John Mayberry, Jr. and pitchers Antonio Bastardo and Kendrick. The next day, January 15, the Phils announce that former manger Charlie Manuel would be returning to the team as a consultant to general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. On the 17, the Phils announced that two of the four arbitration eligible players have signed one-year deals: Mayberry, who had agreed to a 1.587 million dollar deal, while Kendrick had agreed to one worth 7.675 million. The Phils then signed two minor league deals on the 21, one to veteran right-hander Chad Gaudin, and one to former Phil and veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu, with both being given spring training invites. On that same day, the Phils and Bastardo agreed to a one-year contract worth $2 million dollars. Three days later, on the 24, Ben Revere signed a one-year deal with the Phils for $ 1.95 million dollar.
With that, the last bit of news is that the Phils might be replacing Wheeler and Matthews with former Phils Matt Stairs and Jamie Moyer, both of whom have impressed the Phils in their separate interviews to join the broadcast team, and that finally, yesterday, the equipment truck has started heading south for the spring training facilities in Clearwater, Florida from Citizens Bank Park in Philly. It is now six more days before catchers and pitchers are suppose to appear in Clearwater.
Can’t wait for Spring Training to officially start. 🙂