Spring Training Ends and the Season Finale of The Walking Dead

As spring training comes to a close, tonight is also the season ending episode of The Walking Dead. Coincidence?

Despite having some talent in the farm system, Ruben Amaro, Jr. has insisted upon drawing from his pool of walkers, I mean The Walking Dead, sorry, maturely-aged veterans. He’s given several players over 30 long-term contracts and acquired others over the age of thirty that were released by their previous teams.

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The age factor is most obviously illustrated by the latest player photos that were released today. Take Chase Utley for example:

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The one exception to the deader is better, I mean seasoned-veterans are better rule is Cody Asche. Two years ago, I had the pleasure watching him play here in Clearwater and now he’s in the Show. He was given a chance out of necessity and he’s stepped up.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’d rather lose games because of a young guy’s learning curve rather than because Amaro keeps acquiring players over the age of 30. Statistics show that the prime baseball years are 27-30 so why does Amaro keep acquiring players or extending the ones he has long past their expiration date? There are exceptions to the age/expiration date, like Mariano Rivera as a reliever, that is a position that allows for that…but when’s the last time we had a player that was an exception instead of the rule?

The Phillies did not score in their last three GAMES. Then again it’s spring training and like team leader Jimmy Rollins said, “Who cares?”

I do, or did. I’m so frustrated with the state of things, that I now root for players, not the team. I’ll root for Cody Asche and pitcher Mario Hollands, both of whom I’ve watched progress. Both are young, the FUTURE of the team, not the walking dead of today.

I hope I’m wrong…dead wrong.

 

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Pitchers and catchers and position players, oh my!

Day 2 of pitchers and catchers dawned bright, sunny and WARM! We arrived to find Jessie Biddle, David Buchanan, Mario Hollands and the rest of their group receiving instruction on the half field next to Bright House.

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They then went inside.

Over at Carpenter, the remainder of the pitchers were stretching and readying for the same drills as yesterday. While Sebastian Valle and Lou Marson were tossing on Ashburn field.

We heard that Bright house was open for batting practice for position players.

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Darren Ruf was fielding balls in the outfield, as was Kelly Dugan (below)

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Marlon Byrd managed to hit several into the bullpens.

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Cody Asche was there as well.

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Ryan Howard looked like he was moving well.

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Chase Utley looked to be in a good mood as he walked in to take his swings.

It was a good day to see some familiar faces.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Pitchers and Catchers, Day 1

In Philly, they woke to inches of snow. In Clearwater, we had sun but it was cold (relatively speaking) in the 50s with winds gusting to 30 mph.

The cold didn’t seem to bother the pitchers, catchers or even Chase Utley who also was seen on the field.

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Despite the cold and wind, the guys seemed to be having a good time on their first day.

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Mario Hollands, a lefty, non-roster invitee, smiled as he ran through his drills.

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Jesse Biddle, also a non-roster invitee, looked serious.

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David Buchanan also was working hard.

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Jonathan Papelbon also participated.

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Despite having shoulder tendinitis, Cole Hamels was an active participant in the drills.

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Kenny Giles, who I last saw topping the speed gun in Dunedin at 101mph was in Hamels’ group.

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Sabastian Valle, recently left off the 40-man roster, was working hard.

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Carlos Ruiz looked svelte and ready to take on all comers.

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It was also good to see the return of catcher Lou Marson.

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Veteran Cliff Lee did two runs through the drills, once with the other veterans, once with the younger players.

20140213-182701.jpgAnd finally, in case you missed it, here is the most recent roster given out this morning…although it’s already out of date as Chad Gaudin was released this morning after failing his physical.

So there you have it in a nutshell. Day one is in the cold books.

2013 Spring Training Work Groups List Released

The 2013 Spring Training Working Groups list has been released:

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Thome Heckled

Tonight I witnessed something I’ve never seen before. A home town player being cruelly taunted, heckled and just chewed out by SEASON TICKET HOLDERS.

I know the ticket holders and they are some of the most faithful and loyal of fans, my only guess is that they are not fans of watching rehabbing, older major leaguers and would rather watch the young “kids”. I don’t know but it was brutal.

This is just a sample of what was shouted at Jim Thome:

“Need help holding the bat up, OLD MAN?”

“Why don’t you just retire already?”

Thome looked back at the hecklers which prompted:

“If you can’t take it why don’t you just LEAVE!”

Thome managed to smack a ball and he ran as best he could to first. The 2ndbaseman made an error and it allowed Thome to make it safely. To which the head heckler shouted:

“Way to make it to first on an ERROR, FAT BOY!”

I was kinda embarrassed. It was beyond the usual ribbing you might give an opposing player, let alone one of your own. I was really taken aback by the viciousness of it all.

For the record, Mario Hollands who was called up from Lakewood, had five hitless innings but was pulled based on his pitch count. He was relieved by Brody Colvin and the game closed out by Hector Neris. The Threshers went on to win 5-1.

I hope Thome had some extra padding around his ego.