With Opening Day just two weeks away, each major league team's roster is finally taking shape for the 2012 season. Many teams have made cuts already and more cuts are sure to come in order to even out the 25-man rosters. However, there are still uncertainties for each team, and it's difficult to argue that no other team has more than the Philadelphia Phillies.
The last week or two gave Phillies fans information they would like to wish wasn't true. Ryan Howard's return timetable from Achilles surgery has been pushed forward. Initially aiming for an early May return, we'll be lucky to see The Big Piece back in action by the beginning of June. Then there's Placido Polanco, who jammed his finger sliding back into first base on a pick-off attempt. Fortunately, that injury is minor, but the same can't be said for any of the remaining injured infielders.
This week began with some big news regarding Chase Utley. Originally hoping to play in his first spring training game sometime this week, Utley instead left camp to visit a knee specialist, which means that his knee troubles are worse than they have been made out to be. And if that wasn't enough, the team's top utility infield candidate, Michael Martinez, fractured his foot thanks to a hit-by-pitch from the Baltimore Orioles' Jim Johnson (and with the words "top candidate" am I in no way supporting Martinez).
In addition to the team's infield woes, there are other burning questions that still need to be answered. Who will fill the final 25-man roster spots? Will the bullpen consist of an additional lefty to Antonio Bastardo? Will the team make a trade before the season opener in Pittsburgh against the Pirates?
The goal today is to answer these questions to the best of my ability. Since I don't know what's going on behind the scenes, I'll give my best guesses as to what will occur in each scenario. Either way, by the first week of April, most, if not all of these questions will be answered in some capacity.
Let's see what we've got.