On the twelfth day of Spring Training, the Phillies gave to me:
Grapefruit League game,
Schmidt shows up,
Doc steps aside,
Young James speaks,
Player Photo Day,
Everyone gettin’ ready,
Full Squad Workouts!
Talking Chase Utley,
An optomistic Howard,
Doc and Chooch Pressers,
Pitchers, Catchers and a healthy looking Utley!
It’s finally here! The first Spring Training game of the year. I love meaningless baseball. It’s some of the most relaxed games of the year. What other time of the year will the starting pitcher only go two-three innings? The closer comes in the fourth inning? And by the 5th, the entire line-up is filled with minor leaguers that you have never heard of? And while the game is going on, players that are done for the day are in the outfield running sprints and doing a cool down work-out. I really love the randomness that seems to be at the center of all spring training games.
Today, Chase Utley will play in his first official Spring Training game since 2010. That is a huge step for Utley and the entire Phillies team. Utley on the field 80% of the time is better than anyone else that they can put at second-base.
Yesterday, the Phillies played the Phillies in an inter-squad game. The Phillies won. And the Phillies lost. Darin Ruf went 2-2 with a pair of doubles. Domonic Brown went 1-2 with a double.
The highlight of the game came during Utley’s second at-bat. He fouled a ball off that shattered his bat, threw the bat shards over to the dugout and it got stuck in the ground. Everyone looked at the bat and just laughed. Utley than preceded to walk. Many on Twitter exclaimed that it was the most Utley-est at bat ever.
Michael Jack Schmidt is in camp for his annual two weeks of being a guest instructor. He is mustache-less, it’s quite sad and weird. Schmidt always has a mustache. Oh, and he said that Ryan Howard is actually listening and taking in his advice about hitting!
Some of the biggest controversy of the week has been who is the number one starter. For the first time in 10 years, Roy Halladay will most likely NOT being starting on Opening Day. Halladay is pushing Cole Hamels to take up the role of the team leader, since Hamels will be around for the next 6 years.
Part of that change of leadership is handing over the reins of Opening Day. And with the pitching rotation that has been set-up, it looks like Rich Dubee and Charlie Manuel agree with Halladay. Dubee said that he wants to split the lefties, so it looks like it’s going to be Hamels-Halladay-Lee. Yup, Cliff Lee will be a third starter. Only in Philadelphia.