Baseball is back! Now some might not be as excited about the 1st Grapefruit League game, but I LOVE Spring Training games. They are filled with storylines and it gives you a chance to see how players young and old look after a long offseason. Plus considering the games results don't really count, its easy to just sit back and enjoy the game. Here are some of the main things I noticed from the first game today. Some may be important, some may not be. That's the magic of the Spring!
Good news for Hamels
We recived some good news prior to the 1st pitch today. Cole Hamels through a much anticiapted bullpen session and it reportedly went better than expected. Right now he is anywhere from 1-2 weeks behind schedule and shouldn't miss more than a start or 2 if he is setback free. I said this when the news about Hamels initially broke and I still think Hamels starting the Home Opener on April 7 is very realistic.
A nice Debut in the Booth
Today was also Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs first game in the booth. My initial reaction is very positive as they both are smooth talking and very intelligent baseball minds. Moyer seemed to be very comfortable and his pitching insight should add a lot to the viewing experience this season. Stairs did very good for his first time in the booth but his speech seemed a little rushed at times. They along with TMac had good chemistry in their first game together but I would rather just have 2 in the booth at a time. It seems as though they almost have to take turns talking as opposed to natural dialogue. Overall it was a terrific debut for the pair!
If you didn't watch the game today, you might be thinking "who?" But the 29 year old minor league free agent and non roster invitee was impressive in his 2 innings. His change up grew great reviews from both Moyer and Stairs and left established hitters like Jose Reyes puzzled. Manship owns a forgettable 6.42 ERA over parts of 5 MLB seasons. He is still a long shot to make the roster but should provide depth at Lehigh and could get the call at some point in the season.
Aumont still Wild
I think Aumont just threw another ball. Watching him pitch is unbelievably frustrating! The towering reliever has some of the nastiest stuff in all of baseball but he just can't seem to figure out how to consistently throw the ball over the plate. This afternoon he walked 2 and gave up 2 ER in his only inning of work. Sadly this spring may be his last chance with the Phillies and I really hope he can figure it out. Because he is just oozing with potential!
Roberto "don't call me Fausto" Hernandez
He might be on the bubble if it wasn't for 2 things, the 4.5 Million he's guaranteed and the injury concerns from other starters. Its hard to fairly judge him when the wind was blowing out like it was. Joey Bat's HR would have been out anywhere in any wind but the Rasmus double was helped by the wind. With the signing of Burnett, Hernandez seems to slide into the 5th spot. Hopefully he can improve on his 1st outing and give the Phillies some stability at the bottom of the rotation.
The Big Man looks good
The health of #6 might be the biggest factor in the sucess or failure of the 2014 Phillies. And so far so good! He has slimmed down and has said he feels the best he has in years! Yesterday in the intra squad game he went 2-2 including a mamouth HR off of Jesse Biddle. And then today he ripped a RBI single off of fomer Phillies J.A. Happ. The Big Man seemed to move well on the basepath. And just 2 games in, he has 3 hits off of a left handed pitchers.