Yesterday, in Clearwater, Phils’ manager Charlie Manuel have told reporters that he plans to use John Mayberry, Jr. more often in left field than at first base. He also said that while the presumption is that he would probably be using a platoon in left field of Mayberry and Laynce Nix, with Nix to face right handers and Mayberry to face lefties, he plans to have Mayberry also face some right handers. That sounds like a good move, as it will give Mayberry a chance to see if he can hit right handed pitching or not.
This means that while Ryan Howard continues to recover from his injury (of which he had told reporters he felt that he was 40% ready), first base would be mainly covered by Nix and Ty Wigginton, with Jim Thome starting one or two games per week. Hopefully that’ll be enough before Howard’s return at some point in May.
Other news: Rich Dubee announced that Jose Contreras threw a bullpen session off of the mound on Tuesday, and appear to have shown no signs of trouble with his right elbow, doing very well. If this is the case, and he continues showing no sign of trouble after his surgery, he should be the front runner for the role of the team’s eighth inning specialist. Let keep our fingers cross on that.
The Phils today have announced that they have just signed former Padres righthander Chad Qualls to a one-year, $1.15 million dollars contract.
Qualls, who had pitched for the Padres last season, will be joining the Phils’ bullpen of Jonathan Papelbon, Jose Contreras, Antonio Bastardo, Michael Stutes, Kyle Kendrick and Dontrelle Willis, along with several others, for spring training. Last season, as a member of the Padres, Quads would appear in 77 games, going 6-8 with a 3.51 ERA, as he pitched in 74.1 innings. He would strike out 43 batters while working only 20. An eight year veteran, Qualls had also pitched for the Astros, the D-backs, and the Rays, appearing in 537 games for a total of 543 innings, compiling a 38-34 record with an ERA of 3.78, as he would save 51 games in 89 attempts. Career-wise, he would strike out 426 batters while walking only 150.
Qualls will likely be an insurance policy in case Contreras, who is coming off right elbow surgery, is not able to join the club going north at the end of spring training.
Welcome to the club, Qualls. Okay, junior, how about adding a little bit more depth to the offense?
Earlier today, the Phils have announced that Dom Brown have had surgery performed on his right hand to remove the hamate bone. The operation was successful. Stitches should be removed in ten days, and a removable case then placed on his right hand. He should be out for four to six weeks.
With this, Ben Francisco should get the right field starter job.
The Phils have also announced, during the weekend, who their opening day starter against the Houston Astros (on April 1) at Citizens Bank Park, will be. And it comes as no surprise that it will be their ace and 2011 Cy Young Award winner, Roy Halladay.
It seems that several things had occurred as far as the Phils are concerned.
First, on December 2, the Phils tendered contracts to outfielder Ben Francisco and pitcher Kyle Kendrick to keep them from becoming free agents. Kyle Kendrick will likely be fighting with Vance Worley for the fifth starter’s spot during spring training, while Francisco will be involved in a platoon situation with Dom Brown, as…
on the following Sunday, December 5, it was announced that Jayson Werth had signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Washington Nationals. Although he was expected to leave, Jayson’s signing with another team within the NL East came as a complete surprise to everyone, including Phils manager Charlie Manuel, as everyone had expected him to sign with an AL team, like the Red Sox or the Tigers. Well, Jayson, congrats on the money, but be prepared for a lot of boos, after being given some respectful cheers the first time you come to town in a Nat uniform. (The Nats? I hope you know what you’re doing Jayson.) As for the Phils’ compensation in draft picks, they will get a player in the draft between the first and second rounds, and then a player from the second round, as the Nats’ first round pick did not fall among the first 15 players of the draft.
The next day, December 6, the Hall of Fame Expansion Era Committee announced that it had elected ex-Phil General Manager Pat Gillick (2005-2008) to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Gillick, who was also the GM for the Blue Jays, who won World Series Championships in 1992-1993, to go along with the Phils’ 2008 World Series Championship, as well as being the GM for both the Baltimore Orioles and the Seattle Mariners, in 27 years as a GM, had 11 teams enter the post-season.
The next day, December 7, it was announced that journalist Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily News (also formerly on the Philadelphia Bulletin) will receive the J.G. Taylor Spink Award from the BBWAA, for 50 years of meritorious contributions to baseball writing. He will be given the award during the induction ceremonies at Cooperstown, NY, on July 25, 2011.
Then, on December 8, the Phils announced that they had signed former Cardinal relief pitcher Dennys Reyes to a one year deal for $1.1 million, with a $1.35 million option for 2012. Reyes, who has pitched in the major leagues for fourteen seasons out of the bullpen, will be joining his eleventh team when he joins the Phils, as he finished 2010 with a 3-1 record with an ERA of 3.55, as he pitched in 59 games, with a save, as he struck out 25 batters, while walking 21. The Phils will likely be using him as their left handed specialist out of the bullpen, to compliment Antonio Bastardo.
On the 9th, the Phils took three players in the Rule 5 Draft, with the first one, Michael Martinez, an infielder, coming from the Nats organization, via their Syracuse Triple-A affiliate. Phils’ GM Ruben Amaro Jr. jokingly commented that picking him up was the Phils way of getting back at the Nats for taking Jayson. (I just hope the last laugh ain’t on the Phils with this one.) The Phils would also pick up Chris Frey from the Rockies organization and Justin Friend from the A’s in the minor league part of the Rule 5 Draft. I guess it’ll be a while before we see if any of these guys pan out with the Phils.
Also during the week, the Phils brought Dom Brown back from the Dominican League, as they did not think that he was getting the seasoning that they thought he would need to be ready for spring training. Instead, they plan to do it during spring training itself, to get him ready for the regular season.
Lastly, the Phils had announced on Saturday that shortstop Jimmy Rollins had on Thursday undergone minor surgery on his left wrist. They also announced that he should be able to participate in spring training next year.
Last Friday, the Phils announced that the operation on Placido Polanco’s left elbow, to remove bone spurs and to repair the lateral extensor tendon, was a success and that they expect him to recover in six to eight weeks, in time for him to prepare for spring training.
The Phils are still waiting to hear back from Jayson Werth and his agent, Scott Boras, on what Werth is looking for, contract wise.
Speaking of contracts, the Phils announced on Tuesday that first base coach Davey Lopes is leaving. Lopes says that he’s leaving because the team isn’t offering him what he thinks he is worth, based on what he does for the ballclub, besides his first base duties, as he is the main reason that the team have had a highly successful stolen base percentage. In fact, they have lead the league during the four years that he was with the team. His input will be missed. Good luck wherever you land, Davy.
The Phils, this off-season, will be looking to add some new blood to the bullpen, as well as looking for a strong right handed bat to replace Werth, if they are unable to resign him. They will also be, according to Ruben Amaro, Jr., be looking to improve the way the offense operates. (I hope they do, as that was a major handicap this past season.)
Although the Phils have been knocked out of the playoffs last Saturday, things have been busy during the last week or so since the 2010 National League Champions San Francisco Giants celebrated their victory at Citizens Bank Park. Saturday night, Sunday and Monday the Phils cleared out their lockers before heading off to their respective homes.
On Monday, General Manager Reuben Amaro, Jr. held a press conference announcing that while he was happy that 2010 was a successful year, the fact that they had failed to get into the World Series, as everyone was expecting, have left a bitter taste in his mouth, and he was planning to make some changes as far as the offense was concerned.
During the week, the Phils bought out J.C. Romero’s contract, paying him $2500,000 for the last year of his contract, while letting go both Greg Dobbs and Jamie Moyer, allowing the three to become free agents, although willing to take Romero back if nobody else comes knocking at his doorstep, with a minor league contract. (Sorry to see you go, guys. Wish you luck.) Paul Hoover have also opted for free agency after being assigned to Lehigh Valley.
The Phils have finally contacted Jayson Werth, via his agent Scott Boras, to see if there was any way that they can keep him here. (I’m not holding my breath. Boras equals large amount of money, and I do not think that the Phils are in that particular neighborhood.)
Placido Polanco will be having surgery to fix up his left elbow at some point today, and should be ready for spring training next year.
Roy Halladay, who plans to give his hurt groin a rest, for now, have been named the National League Clutch Performer of the Year and the Players Choice for NL Outstanding Pitcher.
Utley’s recovery remains 4-6 months
Hip surgery successful; Feliz’s back surgery also goes well
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
Well, at least it isn’t any worse. Come back feeling better, guys.
PHILADELPHIA — A day after surgery on his right hip, the prognosis for Phillies All-Star Chase Utley’s return remains at four to six months.
Providing further details, the Phillies said in a press release on Tuesday that the three-time All Star had surgery Monday morning to trim the labrum and a bony lesion in his right hip at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
Dr. Bryan Kelly performed the procedure, which was described as an “arthroscopic debridement.” Kelly said the surgery went well and the findings were consistent with the tests performed before the operation.
“Our early reports are that it was very successful surgery,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said at Monday’s red-carpet premiere for the release of the DVD commemorating the 2008 World Series champions. “It was favorable.”
The team also provided a medical update for third baseman Pedro Feliz, who had a lumbar discectomy performed Nov. 20 by back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles. That procedure also went well, and Feliz will return home to complete a rehabilitation program, which is expected to require eight to 12 weeks.
Utley’s return target date remains unclear. A six-month recovery would keep him out until June, though the four-month time frame could have him ready by Opening Day. With those extremes, the realistic approach might be looking late April or early May.
Through June 3, the All-Star second baseman was batting .321 with a .684 slugging percentage and was leading the Major Leagues with 21 home runs. He had become the early favorite for the National League Most Valuable Player Award. But after that, his production dropped, and he hit .272 with 12 homers.
“He’s strong and will come back and be fine,” reliever Ryan Madson said. “We don’t want him to rush back, though. We want him to be ready.”
Depending on Utley’s progression, the team may line up backup plans for a short-term replacement. Former Phillies Nick Punto and Tadahito Iguchi have been linked as possibilities. (H/T Phillies.com)
Good to hear that the opeartions on both Utley and Feliz went well. Okay, guys, especially you, Utley, take this time to fully recover. That would be best for both you and the team as a whole.