Opening Day is officially less than two weeks away! With the dawn of a new season upon us I can’t help but daydream about what 2011 has in store for the Phillies. Spring Training thus far has been and up and down kind of a ride. There have been a lot of positives namely Cliff Lee back with the team, Halladay being his dominating self, and the play of guys like Ben Francisco, Ryan Howard, and John Mayberry. There have also been a lot of negatives, the biggest being Chase Utley’s knee.
As incredible as Opening Day is going to be I know that Opening Night with Cliff Lee on the hill is going to be electric!
It is great to have Uncle Cholly signed through 2013. He deserved to be rewarded for his accomplishments with our baseball team! We love ya Cholly!
The Chase Utley knee saga continues to be vague and less promising with each passing day. It has gotten so bad that rumors have been circulating about ex-Mut Luis Castillo as a possible replacement!?! If you thought a Pirate cast away playing for the Phillies was bad, just think about a Mets cast away!
Chase left Clearwater on Wednesday to see a rehab specialist who is hopefully going to show him some new stretches and exercises to help the knee and avoid surgery. Is this good news? I don’t know what it is but I wish that something would happen. If it’s not getting better than the best case scenario might just be surgery and if all things go well we will get Chase back Mid to late July just in time for the stretch run.
Utley was back in camp yesterday and was participating in batting practice. He has been taking BP all camp so I don’t know if this is positive news or not.
Probably the greatest Phillies news of the week: The radio voice of the Phillies, Scott Franzke, has signed a contract extension with the team that will keep him in Philly through 2016! There was fear that he would leave after his contract was up at the end of the year. If you don’t know how incredible of a commentator Franzke is just YouTube his call of J-Roll’s walk-off extra base hit in Game 4 of the 2009 NLCS, wow! Maybe now Franzke can afford to upgrade from that beater of a truck he drives around.
The injury bug continues to bite in Clearwater this week. Adding to the list of Utley and Brown, we have Polanco and Lidge.
On Tuesday Polanco hyper-extended the same elbow he had surgery on last November. Polanco described it as “nothing bad.” It looks to be a day to day situation. Considering it is the same elbow that plagued him last year I still believe it is a situation to be monitored. Polanco participated in fielding practice on Thursday but is still too sore to participate in BP.
With all the injuries seeming to hit camp this spring should phans be concerned about age with this team?
Lidge who has been out with bicep tendinitis threw a bullpen session on Friday and reported no discomfort. Lidge is hoping to pitch another bullpen session this week and hopes to be back in game shape probably by mid week. Lidge said that there is no doubt he will be ready for Opening Day.
Lidge has had no velocity this spring with his fastball maxing out at 88 mph.
The Phillies bullpen is starting to shape up. Yesterday Vance Worley and Michael Stutes were reassigned to Minor League Camp. That leaves the Phillies with 15 healthy pitchers currently in camp.
On some sad news Jim Buck Jr., part of the Phillies ownership group, passed away on Tuesday night. Buck had been a part of the ownership group since 1981.
"His strength of character and steady leadership have been very important factors in the success of the Phillies today," said Phillies president David Montgomery. "Jim provided direction and consistent support for many of us in this organization. His wise counsel and warm friendship will be sorely missed.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Buck family.
By now I am sure you have all heard that the illustrious GQ magazine has made its list of the “worst fans in America.” Not only did Philly top the list but they put they put Eagle fans at #2 and Phillie fans at #1 on their special list. What a disgrace! As you can imagine the extremely overplayed Santa Clause reference was used. Is that all you got?
An insert from the GQ article:
“Philadelphia stadiums house the most monstrous collection of humanity outside of the federal penal system”
Wow, really!? All I can say is hate, hate, hate! Let the haters keep talking, we all know how truly passionate and REAL Philly phans are!