Pitchers and Catchers Report, Day One of Phillies Spring Training 2015

This is NOT how you want to start “Spring” Training. It was only a high of 50 with 25mph winds blowing in from the North. It was sunny, but it really didn’t help very much. Sadly, tomorrow will likely be worse as there is a “hard freeze” warning here, meaning it will be under freezing for several hours. So it’s a little iffy if I will be there much tomorrow and if I am there, for how long.

The chilly weather didn’t deter the Phillies Phaithful who braved the elements to see their favorite players. Usually on the first day, the program starts with a talk to the pitchers and it traditionally was given at “Seven Mounds” or the pitching mounds behind the main complex building. Ross and I thought that they may get a late start and would have the meeting inside. We got to the complex at 11 to find that they were out at 10 and were already into the PFPs or Pitcher Fielding Practice.

Jake Diekman
Jake Diekman
Kenny Giles
Kenny Giles
Camels Looks Unamused
Hamels Looks Unamused
Cliff Lee
Cliff Lee

 

Jonathan Papelbon
Jonathan Papelbon 

The first day is always a blast for me. Baseball Ross and I have been going to Spring Training for so long that we have gotten to know a lot of the regulars and it’s almost like a family reunion. That first day is always full of handshakes, hugs and catching up.

I also got to see a few of my favorite minor leaguers, which to me is my favorite part. I’ve known a bunch of these guys for what has been their entire careers and it’s nice to be remembered for always being there.

After the MLBers were done around noon, Ross and I left to get warm and grab something to eat and on our way home we passed the complex to see some players out. We were treated by getting to watch some of our MiLBer friends pitching live batting practice.

Carlos Alonso
Carlos Alonso
Cord Sandberg
Cord Sandberg
Colin Kleven
Colin Kleven
Seth Rosin
Seth Rosin
Austin Wright
Austin Wright

It looks like our minor leaguers reported to camp healthy and in great shape. Carlos Alonso smacked two almost out of the park, one died half way up the fence BUT it had been hit INTO THOSE ROARING WINDS! One of the guys remarked to him, “Hey Los, how about saving some?”

Colin Kleven looked really sharp and had a really crisp breaking pitch. He left a big smile on pitching coach Steve Schrenk’s face.

That’s it from Day One.

 

 

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Rosters Released and Player Releases

It looks like the rosters have been released for all the Phillies minor league teams. Here’s the links:

Lakewood BlueClaws

Clearwater Threshers NOTE: as of publication time they have NOT updated the roster on their website

Reading Fightin’ Phils

Lehigh Valley IronPigs

And finally, according to Baseball America, the following players were released:
RHP Zach Cooper, RHP Colby Shreve, RHP Mike Stutes, LHP Kyler Burke, LHP Nick Hernandez, C Justin Dalles, C Josh Ludy, C Bob Stumpo, 2B Sam Dove, 2B Jim Negrych, 3B Logan Pierce, SS Ronny Cedeno, OF Bobby Abreu

So there you have it.

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Final Workout Group Posting

Here it is…

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Phillies Minor League Workgroup List-Updated as of 3/10/2014

This morning the updated workgroup listing for the Phillies minor league camp was released:

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Fall Instructional League Play is Underway

Ahh, fall is in the air! The air is cool, low to mid 80’s, mostly sunny, nice breezes such a changed from the mid-90’s and stifling air of the Gulf Coast League.

The Fall Instructional League got off to a late start as the first several days of play had to be postponed/cancelled due to severe rain.

Yesterday was the first game that we were able to attend. It’s been interesting to watch because several of the players who will be playing in the Arizona Fall League have made a stop here in Clearwater to get tuned up before heading West. They played my hometown Dunedin Blue Jays. During the game, I got to see Kelly Dugan bat. The game itself was rough to watch with the Phillies losing 8-6.

The Orioles, today’s opponent, had not played in SIX days. In this short league, approximately a month (depending on team) a loss of six days is detrimental to a team. Today’s game was a scheduled twelve innings to help the Orioles get in much needed work.

What I liked about today’s game was the fair number of Arizona Fall League players who played today. Those players are leaving today for Arizona so many of them got in one last practice before leaving on a jet plane.

Kenny Giles started. While I understand why some people may have some concerns about him, I still get a kick out of watching him pitch. When I’ve seen him play in Dunedin (one of the few stadiums with a radar gun) He’s thrown over 100mph. While today’s game at Bright House lacked a gun, I loved to hear the ball snap against the catcher’s glove. There’s a certain pop when a ball really has velocity and you can hear that with Giles’ pitching.

I also got to see Luis Encarnacion’s first game as a Philllie. If you want to see video of his first hit or an amazing bare-handed grab you can go to Baseball Ross’ Blog HERE.

Kelly Dugan played, Austin Wright and Kyle Simon pitched, so who needs to go to Arizona to see some of the best Arizona will have to offer?

The game itself was however disappointing in score, with a final of 9-1 in favor of the Orioles. The twelve innings went just over four and a half hours, not bad for free baseball. The weather was perfect. So I guess a “bad day” of baseball is better than the best day of almost anything else, I’m not complaining.

Tomorrow is an off day as they do not play on Sundays. I’ll be back on the beat Monday.

A Great Time in Reading, Even Though They Lost

Twilight in Baseballtown
Twilight in Baseballtown

Back in Baseballtown, it was good to be home.  There’s something special about First Energy Stadium, to me. I love it’s brick, the way the players have to cross the concourse to get from the locker room to the field, the BEST hotdogs in all of baseball, the ostriches.

Wait! Ostriches?

The Ostrich

Ok, I’m not sure I like the ostriches. There’s a whole load of reasons and I’m not really into the “rebranding”, but I’m not going into that now. Let’s just look at this picture of a large bird in a little truck and leave it at that.

I really had a good time. I got to see my favorite players, Derrick Mitchell, Jesse Biddle, Kelly Dugan, Austin Wright, and Seth Rosin before the game.

Derrick Mitchell led off. Now before I start, I want to go back to two years ago this week. Back then Baseball Ross and I lived in Harrisburg, PA and we went to a lot of games in Reading. I had talked to Derrick Mitchell that night and had complimented him on his home run the night before and asked him to hit one for me for my birthday. He laughed and said, “It doesn’t work that way.” Well that night it did. He hit a home run for me for my birthday. I always tell Derrick that that was one of the coolest birthday presents I had ever gotten. (If you want to read the blog from that night and see the video, you can click HERE)

So Derrick was up to bat and then…it happened (again) he KILLED a ball right over left center near the 370 sign.

Derrick Mitchell sends one over the fence
Derrick Mitchell sends one over the fence

Another homer…and what is this week??? That’s right, my birthday.  After the game, I saw Derrick, he had remembered that my birthday was this week and he even said, “I felt really good after that first one, I’d have hoped to hit you a second for your birthday.” It blew me away, that he could remember! (And people wonder why Derrick is my favorite.)

I also have to mention a funny thing that happened after the game…I was talking to Derrick as I mentioned above and a kid about ten years old kept interrupting while Derrick and I were talking. When Derrick left to go back to the locker room, we said our goodbyes and he gave me a hug. The kid then looked at me and asked me if Derrick was my dad! (ROTFL) Considering that I had been feeling, err older since it is my birthday this week, that kid really made me feel good.

I got to see Kelly Dugan and Maikel Franco in their Fightins uniforms for the first time as well…

Maikel Franco
Maikel Franco
Kelly Dugan
Kelly Dugan

Another cool thing that happened was that I got to visit the press box. I had the privilege of becoming friends with a talented local writer who kindly invited me to visit him in the press box. It was my first time in a press box during a game. I found it quite cool and was grateful to have had the chance to check out the game from that very different perspective.

Something that Ross and I love is the Berks hot dogs. When you see as many games as we do, you get stuck eating a lot of food from the concessions. Over the years, you get to appreciate the places with good food and loathe others where the food is not palatable. I love the concessions in Reading. The Berks hotdogs are the best in baseball.

Reading lost that night, but while I wish they had won, I still had a great time. I saw my favorite players, had a homer hit for my birthday, saw my new friend in the press box, saw my favorite usher and had a great hot dog. We saw a beautiful sunset (picture at the top of the page).

It was an awesome night in Baseballtown.