Philadelphia Phillies Spring Training: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Bob KodoskyContributor IIMarch 19, 2012

BRADENTON, FL - MARCH 16:  The Parrot, mascot of the Pittsburgh Pirates, mocks manager Charlie Manuel #41 of the Philadelphia Phillies just prior to the start of the Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at McKechnie Field on March 16, 2011 in Bradenton, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

There are two kinds of baseball teams in the Majors, my friend.  There are the Phillies and then there are all of the rest.  The Phillies have enough drama for them all. 

A week in Clearwater made clear that this spring’s training camp is comparable to the best spaghetti westerns.  Go ahead and cue the soundtrack. 

The Good: 

Newly re-signed Jimmy Rollins has a fist full of dollars.  He leads the charge. 

In three games last week, against the Pirates, Twins and Braves, Rollins had three hits.  One cleared the fence.  Another drove home a baserunner.  

Rollins also scored two runs and stole a base.  He even tried to bunt for a hit. 

Vance Worley is not hanging them high.  He is mowing them down.    

In four innings against the Pirates, Worley did not allow a baserunner.  He struck out eight.  The sheriff is back in town.  He is the kid with the funky glasses. 

Then there is the new boss.  He is the same as the old boss.  Jim Thome comes off the bench now, but he still carries a big stick.  

Against the Braves, Thome came to the plate four times as a designated hitter.  He twice connected, once to the opposite field to drive in a run. 

BRADENTON, FL - MARCH 16:  Shortstop Freddy Galvis #13 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws over to first for an out against the Pittsburgh Pirates during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at McKechnie Field on March 16, 2011 in Bradenton, Florida.
J. Meric/Getty Images

The grizzled old veteran is a force opposing pitchers will have to reckon with. 

The Phillies young gun is Freddy Galvis.  He roams the range like few other middle infielders.  Against the Twins, he went deep in the hole to retrieve a grounder. 

Galvis snared it.  Then he rifled it to first with an arm that makes shotguns look obsolete. 

Carlos "Chooch" Ruiz, just keeps on rolling.  In three games he had four hits, including a double that drove in a run.  He also showed off his own howitzer, nailing the Twins speedy centerfielder Denard Span at second base. 

The Bad: 

Chase Utley’s knees.  The Phillies second baseman has not played in a game since Game 5 of the 2011 National League Division Series (NLDS). 

Utley has not taken fielding practice since late February.  He is scheduled to see a specialist.

Ryan Howard’s ankle.  Howard remains hobbled.  He too last played in the 2011 NLDS, tearing his Achilles tendon in the final at bat of the series. 

Howard developed an infection in the area of his injury last month and is wearing a protective boot.

CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 01:  Ty Wigginton #24 of the Philadelphia Philles poses for a portrait at the Bright House Field on March 1, 2012 in Clearwater, Florida  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Utley and Howard will begin the 2012 season as partners on the disabled list.

The Ugly:

Ty Wigginton at first base has only slightly greater range than the Rocky statue located near the Philadelphia Art Museum. 

Batted balls to Wigginton’s right and his left get by in equal measure.

“Chooch” tagging up on a short fly ball to left center.  It happened against the Braves.  It should never happen again.

Roy “Doc” Halladay giving up five runs, all earned, against the Twins, in under three innings. 

It all goes to show that the good guys don’t always win.  Sometimes they lose.  Sometimes they get hurt.  But they always manage to overcome the bad and the ugly.

The Phillies will do just that.