And The Winner Is…
Shot Of The Day Award: The Phillies beat the Cardinals in the bottom of the 9th today on a Jason Ellison walk-off hit that scored Miguel Cairo from 2nd base. Ellison, a 7-year major league veteran who played for the Rangers, Mariners, Reds and Giants, is trying to make a new home in Philly. Ellison is now batting .222 this spring and the hit today gave him his first RBI. Cairo, on the other hand, has been hot this spring, batting .370 with 4 RBI and 2 home runs. After 13 seasons bouncing around the majors, Cairo signed a minor league deal with the Phillies for 2009.
The Pitching Prowess Award goes to Chan Ho Park, who got the start for the Phils today and managed 4 2/3 solid innings of no-run ball, giving up only 3 hits. It is looking like Park will make a real run at the 5th starters job, with his biggest competition so far, being JA Happ. Park seems determined to win the job, even consulting with Jamie Moyer after his outing to get more advice from the ageless wonder. During an in-game interview, Park joked that he wished he would be able to pitch at Moyer’s age. Park displayed some real personality in that interview and is actually a pretty loose and funny guy. Seems he will fit in well here in Philly, whether that be as a starter or in the pen.
Jayson Werth, Greg Dobbs and Cairo each had 2 hits in the game today; Werth does not appear to be bothered by any of the recently reported injuries, which included a hamstring and shoulder soreness. His first inning home run flew straight out of the stadium, over the Tiki Pavillion in left field.
But the real thrill today came when Chase Utley stepped to the plate to lead off the 1st inning for the Phillies. Fans jumped to their feet and cheered, happy to see Utley in his first official grapefruit league action. Utley played 4 innings, and although he did not get a hit in his 2 at bats, he looked very comfortable both at the plate and on the field. Message? Utley will be ready for Opening Day! And so, Utley gets my Comeback of the Spring Award :O)
And the Entertainer of the Day Award goes to…Matt Stairs.
Stairs gave the crowd a giggle when he stole 2nd base in the 8th inning. Probably the slowest guy on the team, Stairs kind of resembles a lumberjack more than a professional baseball player. Known mostly as a power hitter, in his 16 year career, Stairs has hit 254 home runs and stolen only 28 bases….that is 1.75 bases per year, on average. So, seeing him swipe a base during spring action was very entertaining. ;o)
Spanking of the Day Award: Team Puerto Rico gave a spanking to Team USA yesterday; final score 11-1. Ouch! Phillies teammates JC Romero (PR), Jimmy Rollins (USA) and Shane Victorino (USA) were on-hand for the beating, although Romero did not pitch in the game. Victorino was 0 for 3 and Rollins played the field but did not get an at-bat. Adam Dunn and Brian McCann each had a pair of hits for Team USA, but the rest of the team pretty much bent over and took the punishment. Team USA will get a shot at redemption tonight when they take on the Netherlands at 7:30pm tonight.
Next up for the Phillies
Monday at 1:15pm, the Phillies will take on the Yankees at George Steinbrenner field as grapefruit league action continues.
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