Philadelphia Phillies: All the Initial Reports from Spring Training
2013 was disappointing for the Philadelphia Phillies, and it is safe to say that I was not the only one waiting for Spring Training to get underway. We are all hoping that this season will be better than last, and how the Phillies perform in Spring Training can give us a pretty good indication of what we might see coming our way this season.
That’s why I’m here to help out. I have put together a list of the important things that have gone down already even though we are only three games into the affair.
Cole Hamels Is Looking Strong
On February 27, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that left-handed starting pitcher Cole Hamels is recovering well. He is hoping to be ready for the beginning of the season and is planning on missing two regular-season starts at most.
This is important. He is going to need to be the anchor of the Philadelphia pitching staff especially after the retirement of Roy Halladay. The top of the rotation needs to be strong since the bottom is full of questions right now. Hamels will be an important part of that plan.
Jonathan Pettibone Is Not Looking so Strong
Jonathan Pettibone did a decent job last season as a rookie, and in my personal opinion, had a pretty good chance of making the rotation again this season. However, Dennis Dietch of the Delaware County Daily Times is reporting that he didn’t throw off the mound last Saturday and is still experiencing shoulder soreness since last August.
Last year, the Phillies were decimated by injuries, and while I would in no way argue that losing Pettibone would be anything like losing Roy Halladay last season, injuries are not good, and losing is difficult.
Bobby Abreu Is Back for Now
As a Phillies fan growing up in the late 1990s, there wasn’t a lot to get excited about. However, you always knew that Bobby Abreu would be a consistent force, and Dennis Dietch of the Delaware County Daily Times included a nice profile on Abreu trying to make the team out of Spring Training.
He is not the same player he was when he was with the Phillies years ago, but at the very least, he is a disciplined hitter with a high on-base percentage. Will he make the team after Spring Training? I would not count on it, but you never know.
Ryan Howard Is Back in Action
Ryan Howard had a very frustrating season last year as he alternated between injury and ineffectiveness. He is working to put all of that behind him and to return to his 100 RBI form according to this article by Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News.
There is no doubt that he would be a major help for the Phillies who had a difficult time scoring runs last season. He probably is not the same hitter that we knew a few years ago, but he is still a power hitting left-handed bat. We shall see if that comes to be. He is doing all right so far.
The Phillies fell to the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 in the first game of Spring Training. Rotation contender Roberto Hernandez gave up two runs in two innings while the Phillies altogether gave up all four runs in the first three innings. After that, the bullpen settled down and only gave up three hits and no runs the rest of the way.
Offensively, there was not much to report. Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd, who both need to produce high levels this summer, drove in runs which was encouraging. Obviously, in the first game, everyone was still a bit rusty.
The Toronto Blue Jays bested the Phillies again in the second game of Spring Training by a score of 7-5. Darin Ruf hit a home run which is a great sign. You have to wonder where he will fit into the lineup, but there is no doubt that he will. Part of me has to wonder if he could take some innings from Ryan Howard if he gets off to a rough start particularly against left-handers.
Cliff Lee saw his first action of the spring and pitched two innings while surrendering one run and striking out three. Again, like I argued with Hamels, the Phillies will need a great amount of success in the top of the rotation to compensate for perhaps some of the questions at the bottom.
The Phillies finally pulled out their first victory of the season over the Detroit Tigers 10-6. Jimmy Rollins had a great day at the plate, clubbing a three-run home run in his only official at-bat—he drew a pair of walks beside that.
Also, Darin Ruf drove in another pair of runs. He is off to a great start this spring, and hopefully the Phillies are beginning to put together some winning ways that will carry over into a successful season.