Results tagged ‘ DL ’

Steroid Drama Overshadows Philles Victory

There were many positives for the Phillies in last night’s 7-2 win over the RockiesCole Hamels returned to form and pitched extremely well.  John Mayberry Jr. continued his hot streak with 2 extra base hits, including a homer.  And Carlos Ruiz had 3 RBI and 2 hits, also including a homer.  Even better, the Phillies finally got through a game without committing an error.

But all those positives were overshadowed by some overwhelming negatives.  First, the lost of injuries for the Phillies keeps getting scarier.  Laynce Nix had a setback in his recovery, possibly reinjuring the same leg.  David Herndon underwent Tommy John surgery and is out for the year.

However, the biggest bomb dropped when it was announced before the game that rookie infielder Freddy Galvis would be suspended 50-games for violating the MLB drug policy.  He apparently tested positive for a trace amount of clostebol, an anabolic steroid.

Between this year and last, the Phillies have gone from first to worst.  They have seen their All-Star players and important role players decimated by injuries.  This is simply not what this team needed to hear right now.

To say this is disappointing is an extreme understatement.  Galvis was the one bright light in an otherwise dreary season for this team and now, that has been taken away as well.  I suppose the good news is that he can serve the suspension now, while he is in a back brace on the DL.  He probably would have missed at least 50 games anyway.

I do not pretend to know whether Galvis is innocent or guilty.  Although, you would think if he was juicing he would have hit a lot better than .226 with 15 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs and 24 RBIs.  We will probably never know for sure.

There are several reports in reputable medical journals that say this steroid can show up in urine in trace amounts after ingesting contaminated meat or after having “relations” with a woman who was using a particular cream for a “female condition” that contains clostebol.  In other countries, cattle are injected with this drug to “beef” them up, literally.

Even chicken are sometimes injected with steroids.  Studies in that area produced similar results, showing trace levels of the drug in those who consumed the meat.

So I suppose you have to be a vegetarian, Catholic priest with some mad baseball skills in order to avoid a false-positive test result?

And this is why I say we will never know for sure.  There are too many variables as we have seen in previous cases where athletes tested positive after taking a tainted substance.  Former Phillie J.C. Romero is a good example.  He won a law suit against the company who made supplements that were laced with a banned substance which was not on the label.  But even though MLB now acknowledges this issue, Romero still had to serve the suspension and will forever be judged unfairly in public opinion.

This by no means exonerates Galvis, but it does, once again, call into question the legitimacy of MLB’s drug policy.  A more recent example is Ryan Braun of the Brewers, who got off on a technicality involving the “transport” of his sample.

Now that MLB has made announcement about Galvis, we know that either there was no appeal or he already lost the appeal.  It is MLB policy to wait until that process is done before making the official announcement.

Regardless of what did or did not actually occur here, Galvis’ reputation is now mud.  And that is a real shame for a kid with so much potential.  And it is especially a shame for a fan base that has been desperately searching for a small glimmer of hope for this stumbling, last place team.

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Thome’s Hot Bat Helps Phillies to a Win

The Phillies finally won a game last night, although by the skin of their teeth. The 9-8 victory over the Twins broke up a 3 game losing streak in a month where wins have been hard to come by.

The return of Jim Thome from the DL seems to have sparked an offensive explosion. After hitting at a rate of .100 before he went on the DL, Thome now has 10 hits in his last 5 games serving as the DH against the American League. Thome has also hit 2 home runs in that span, the longest of which was a whopping 466 feet last night. The slugger has officially returned!

A bunch of Phillies had big offensive days as well. Juan Pierre, Hunter Pence and Carlos Ruiz all had 3 hist. And John Mayberry Jr. racked up 4 RBI on 2 hits, including a 3-run homer in the 1st inning.

That first inning was a bit unusual though. The Twins starter, P.J. Walters wound up leaving the game with 4 runs allowed without even recording a single out. It was later reported that he was experiencing shoulder pain.

So the Phillies caught a break and racked up 6 runs in one inning, adding 3 more later. But they still showed the same problems they have been dealing with all year. For example, they Phillies loaded the bases with NO outs in the 9th and once again, failed to score. They could not even muster a sac fly. That is just not going to win them ballgames.

And what has become another disturbing trend is the starting pitching. Cole Hamels, probably the Phillies’ best pitcher not on the DL right now, has really fallen apart lately. Against the Twins, with that huge 6-run lead after the top of the 1st inning, Hamels got knocked around, allowing 7 runs over 6+ innings. Antonio Bastardo allowed one more, all of which turned a 6-run lead into only a 1-run lead.

Luckily, Jonathan Papelbon nailed down the win, having to record 4 outs in order to do so. But I am sure he was just glad to be able to pitch in a save situation, which there have been very few of lately.

Despite all the drama, there were a few great defensive moments thanks to Michael Martinez who also just came off the DL after breaking his foot in spring training. He made the last out of the game by catching a pop-up that was over his head and about to drop in the middle of nowhere. And earlier in the game, he dove to snag a ball hit hard up the middle and in the same motion, made an amazing glove toss to Jimmy Rollins at second.

The return of Martinez is a welcome site now that Freddy Galvis is on the DL with a back fracture (ouch!). Mikey-Mart is about the same offensively as Galvis and his defense, while not quite as spectacular, is still very solid. So welcome back, Mikey!

Although it may be a long shot, the Phillies ‘could’ – maybe – possibly – win this series with a victory tonight. Joe Blanton is pitching and he has given up a minimum of 5 runs in each of his last 5 games. Let us hope that trend ends tonight. Game time is 8:10pm.

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Chase Utley & Our Great Expectations

It is official; Chase Utley will begin his rehab assignment with Class-A Clearwater today.  This gives him 20 days to return to the big league club, putting his return around or before July 2, 2012.

Are you totally psyched?  No?  Yeah, I am not terribly optimistic either.  It would just be wrong to expect the Utley of 2008 with 33 homers and a .380 on-base percentage to return.  He has battled chronic knee issues for 2+ seasons now.  And as of today, he has yet to play the field in a real game.

But in the back of your mind, aren’t you secretly praying, “Save us, Chase!  You are the only one who can!”?  However, great expectations are usually followed by great disappointment.  We cannot expect one man to save the Phillies season.  It is tempting though to think it could be possible, even if it is not likely.

So say Utley returns and looks like Mr. World-F*-Champions-era Utley.  The expectations will grow even stronger.  The problem with that is, some time down the road, those knees are going to start to ache again.  As his production decreases, the animosity will build among a fan base that is now used to winning.  And that is a recipe for producing some seriously upset fans.

My suggestion then is this: Lower your expectations.  Do not look for Utley to be Superman again.  Then if he does impress consistently, we can all be pleasantly surprised.

And now that I have just said that, my overactive brain is still concocting miracle scenarios for Utley to save this season.  I have tried telling my inner dialogue to shut up, but it is just not listening…

I mean, it is Chase Utley!  I have hundreds of Utley collectables, autographs and photos.  There is a shrine in my house dedicated to the man.  Heck, I even named my cat after him!  For God’s sake Mr. Utley, don’t let us all down!!

So much for tempering my expectations…

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

Phillies Offense Finally on a Roll…

In the last two games, the Phillies have scored a total of 15 runs.  Since the start of the season, it did not look like that sort of run production was ever going to happen.  But Wednesday’s 7-2 win over the Diamondbacks may actually signal the awakening of this offense.

Cole Hamels certainly helped the situation with another great start, putting the Phillies in position to win.  Through 8 strong innings, Hamels allowed only 2 runs on 4 hits and struck out 7 batters.  He also lit things up at the plate with a 2-run single in the 6th inning.

This game was a real team effort, with everyone in the line-up contributing, even if it was just a sacrifice to move runners.  The biggest stand-out though was Placido Polanco who looked like the player of old.  He was on base after every at bat with 3 hits, 2 walks and an RBI.

Carlos Ruiz also had a 3-hit game and Hunter Pence collected 2 hits.  Now if the Phillies can just get Jimmy Rollins going, this might actually be a descent line-up again.

Thursday is an off-day with a 4-game home series beginning with the Cubs on Friday.  You know what the cure for a suffering offense is?  That’s right…the Cubs.  Cross your fingers…

Injury Updates:

As you may have heard, relief pitcher Mike Stutes is on the DL.  He has not looked the like the vibrant pitcher he was since about the final month of last season.  While this is concerning, his replacement, Michael Schwimer looked very sharp in Wednesday’s win.

As for Ryan Howard, he is still taking it easy.  But his wound is finally healing which means he may be able to start real baseball activity within the next week.

And my favorite topic of discussion, Chase Utley: Reportedly, Utley is feeling no knee pain while batting and some pain while fielding.  He took batting practice in Arizona with the team and many were encouraged by his swing.  However, here is a word of caution about all the optimism…

As a person with chronic knee issues, worse that what Utley has, I can tell you this; I also feel no pain while swinging a bat…ok, in my knees at least ;o)  The joint rotation does not bother me.  However, running and anything involving impact, like chasing ground balls, is a whole other story.

I have not been able to play serious baseball since I was 16 years old after blowing out both my knees.  But it was not because I could not still hit; it was because I could not run.  All these years later, I can still hit, but I still cannot run and never will.  Are you following my thought process here?

Granted, I have worse issues that Utley.  But my point is, yes, he looks good hitting.  But the real test will be impact movements, like running.  The fact that Utley still has some pain while fielding is not a good sign.  Running is generally more strenuous than fielding due to the repetition of the impact on the knees.  So if it is hard to field, running will only make that worse.

I am a huge Chase Utley fan and I would love nothing more than to see him get better and back to his old self.  However, all of this makes me very nervous.  If he comes back too early, he can do more damage to his knees.  But we all want him to come back sooner than later and I am sure he does as well.

So be optimistic; but be cautiously optimistic.

 

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Phillies Infield Grasping at Straws

After trading utility infielder Wilson Valdez for a minor league pitcher in January, things have gone steadily downhill since then.  In an interview on 97.5 The Fanatic earlier this month, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. finally admitted that the Valdez trade was “foolish.”  His exact quote was, “It was foolish to trade Wilson Valdez” and Amaro then admitted if he could go back in time, he would take Valdez back.

I knew that in January.  Why didn’t Amaro?  Obviously, he did not see the train coming before it ran him over this spring training.  You cannot predict injuries, but even I knew that Chase Utley would be a big question mark this year after last year’s chronic knee issues.  Sure enough, he is out and no one knows when he will return.

Adding to the disaster at second base,  Michael Martinez has a broken foot and will be out until at least May.  To begin with, I’d have taken Valdez over Martinez anyway.  But again, Valdez is gone.  And first base is going to be an adventure as well with Ryan Howard out until…???  No one knows.

Now the Phillies are stuck with a rookie short stop as their starting second baseman.  Don’t get me wrong, Freddy Galvis is a wonderful prospect, but can he handle this type of pressure so early in his career?  Switching positions makes this even harder on a very young player who may not be ready for the big leagues yet.

Galvis may be just fine.  But this is certainly not the kind of uncertainty the Phillies wanted to start the season with.

Pete Orr may wind up being the back-up for Galvis, although the roster will not be set in stone until probably Sunday night.  We do know outfielder Juan Pierre has made the team, but the rest of the roster is still in limbo.

You can see the Phillies are very worried though…today they signed a Nationals reject, just in case.  Andres Blanco, a 27-year-old utility infielder who hit .224 with the Rangers last season, was given a minor-league deal.  This is the Phillies idea of a back-up plan.  Yikes.

A few other bonehead moves by Amaro this offseason include signing outfielder Laynce Nix to a 2-year deal.  This guy has hit above .255 only ONE time in a nine-year career.  And this spring, he is hitting .200.  And how about first baseman Ty Wiggington?  His career has been on a steady decline the last two seasons, hitting .248 and .242 respectively.  This spring, Wiggington has hit .190.

The good news is, both guys were cheap and Wiggington was given just a one-year deal.  But in case anyone is wondering, Valdez is hitting .318 in 44 at-bats this spring with the Reds.  Just saying…

Ok, so maybe all these new guys will surprise us all and get some big hits?  But I do not see any of them volunteering to pitch the 19th inning and risk making a total idiot out of themselves for the team.  That guy is gone….Wilson!  Miss you already…

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Valdez Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Earthquake or Cole Hamels Going to the DL?

Earthquake or Cole Hamels going to the DL?  Sadly, it was both.  But clearly, this is the universe’s response to the Hamels DL move.  The universe, and all Phillies fans, are NOT happy.

However, the Phillies are saying that Hamels will start on Monday.  But the move gave them a chance to add a player; utility man Pete Orr has been recalled from Triple-A.

As for the earthquake, it originated in Virginia and was around 5.9 on the Richter scale.  Reports have come from as far north as Massachusetts and  as far south as North Carolina.  I am in Dover, DE and the entire house shook for about 30 seconds.  I jumped up and moved away from anything that could fall on me, grabbed my son and went outside to see what happened.

Everyone in the neighborhood was doing the same thing; standing in their front yards, looking around, trying to figure out what happened.

And here is some reaction from Phillies, reporters & others:

 

Roy Halladay thumbed his nose at the earth and kept right on working out…classic.

Here is the line-up for tonight’s game:  Victorino CF, Polanco 3B, Utley 2B, Pence RF, Mayberry 1B, Francisco LF, Valdez SS, Schneider C, Worley P.

 

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*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Jimmy Rollins Headed to the DL

In last night’s Phillies loss to the Nationals, shortstop Jimmy Rollins was lifted from the game early after an injury.  I tweeted a photo collage of J-Roll from the 2nd inning where he did a 360 move from catch to throw on a grounder, after which he was seen grimacing in pain.

It turns out the initial injury occurred as he ran to first base in the 1st inning.  Rollins tweeted me back with this information:

 

And then shortly after, he received the results of his MRI which led to these tweets:

 

So Rollins is on the DL with a grade 2 groin strain.  This is sad news :O(  Rollins has been having a very good year so to see him shut-down now is disappointing.

Placido Polanco is expected to come off the DL today, so the two players will most likely be swapping spots with no additional roster moves.

This also means continued playing time for both Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez, who have done a fantastic job filling in at third base.

I wish J-Roll all the best in his recovery; hopefully, he will be back very soon!

 

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*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Victorino to DL as Braves Come to Town

Only 2.5 games ahead of the Braves in the NL East, this weekend series is a big one for the Phillies.  And now, one of their biggest offensive threats will not be joining them.

Earlier today, centerfielder Shane Victorino was placed on the disabled list, retroactive to Monday, July 4th.  He would be eligible to return on July 19th.  This is his second trip to the DL this year.

This move comes one day after Victorino was voted into the All-Star game by the fans.  Obviously, he will now not be participating in the All-Star festivities due to the sprained thumb.

The injury occurred after Victorino stumbled on the astro turf in Toronto this past Sunday.  Initially, it looked like Victorino twisted his ankle:

 

Later, it was revealed that he jammed his thumb during the fall.

Pete Orr has been recalled from Triple-A to take Victorino’s place on the roster.  Still, this is a huge blow for the Phillies who also have Placido Polanco in limbo with an aching back.  Polanco was supposed to see a specialist yesterday, but there is still no word on the outcome.

So the Phillies will enter this important 3-game series with five veteran pitchers on the DL, their centerfielder on the DL and third baseman in limbo.  On top of that, the Braves have a very good team and a much better bullpen then the Phillies.

Buckle-up Phillies fans; this is going to be a long, crazy weekend.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Dis-ASTROS-ous Series Ends In A Sweep


1-Electric-Bill.jpgDid the Phillies forget to pay their electric bill this month?  Because they are suffering from a serious and prolonged power outage.  When sluggers Ryan Howard and Chase Utley finally came off the DL in mid-late August, everyone was relieved to finally see the Phillies line-up back in order.  But the relief was short lived as the team has been on a downward spiral ever since. 

And now, the Phillies have lost ground in the NL East race, falling 3 games behind the Braves and missing key opportunities to catch up.  This 4-game sweep at the hands of the Astros may come back to haunt them in September.

Howard has only 3 hits in his last 10 games and has struck out 20 times.  In 16 at-bats for the Astros series, Howard got only 1 hit.  Utley has had only 7 hits in his last 34 at-bats since coming off the DL.  Other key players during the Astros 4-game series did not hit either; Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco had just 3 hits each.  They have consistently failed to hit with runners in scoring position too, with the worst offender being Jayson Werth.

So was the firing of hitting coach Milt Thompson in July really necessary?  Apparently not, because they are still not hitting.  Right now, the Phillies batters could not hit the side of a barn. 
hitting a barn.jpg


They have lost their fire and their intensity.  That was no more evident than today in the 5th inning when Werth tried to tag and score on a shallow fly to right.  Not only did Werth not even bother to slide, he never even touched the plate.  Werth should have slid hard and tried to take out the catcher to get that run.  Instead, he gave up and basically accepted defeat.

Kyle Kendrick looked half asleep on the mound too.  Ever since JA Happ was shipped to the Astros, Kendrick had relaxed more and more each start, to the point where he is just not present on the mound.  Maybe he figures there is no one left to take his job so why bother kicking it up a notch?  Kendrick has allowed 15 runs in his last 4 starts, with 4 of those runs coming in 6 innings tonight.

However, the real offenders this series were the Phillies hitters who got absolutely nothing done.  Except maybe for getting picked off on the base paths multiple times, failing to gets bunts down and not bothering to slide in order to score.  The way they have played is disgraceful.

If the Phillies take this sort of attitude and performance into San Diego tomorrow, they are going to be crushed.  They have 3 games with the Padres, 3 with the Dodgers and then a make-up in Denver against the now hot Rockies.  Cross your fingers.  Game time tomorrow is 10:05pm.

 

Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Phillies Overcome 7 Run Deficit To Beat The Dodgers

Before today’s game against the Dodgers, Shane Victorino was activated off the DL and lefty Antonio Bastardo was sent to AAA to make room.  Victorino did not start the game as Charlie Manuel had already told Ben Francisco he would start tonight.  Victorino did pinch hit in the 8th and drew a walk.  Francisco had a much more interesting game…more on that shortly.


P7260632 Blanton2.jpgPitcher Joe Blanton started the game and sadly, had another Blah-anton-type outing.  He allowed 3 runs right off the bat in the first inning.  After 5 2/3 innings, Blanton had walked 4 batters, allowed 8 hits and 4 runs total.  The hole was dug deeper by relief pitcher Chad Durbin who did not provide any relief.  Durbin allowed a 2-run homer in the 7th to put the Phillies down 6-2.

But the damage did not end there.  JC Romero pitched the 8th inning and while Romero has had trouble of late, this time it was the defense that let him down.  Mike Sweeney missed a ground ball at first to start the inning.  Carlos Ruiz had an error as well and two unearned runs scored.   Jose Contreras came in to relieve Romero and gave up another run.

Down 9-2 going into the bottom of the 8th, it looked like this game was over.  Then suddenly, the hits started coming.  It began with 4 straight hits: singles from Placido Polanco, Sweeney, Jayson Werth and a double from Francisco.  Wilson Valdez got another hit for the 4th run of the inning.  The 9-6 score seemed a tad more manageable.


4 Pre-Game (13).jpgThe Dodgers sent their closer in for the 9th, Jonathan Broxton.  The same 4 players that ignited the 8th inning rally started another one in the 9th.  Polanco was hit by a pitch; Sweeney and Werth both walked.  Francisco got on base after an error and 2 runs scored.  Just like that, the bases were loaded with no outs for Carlos Ruiz with a 9-8 score.  Ruiz smashed a walk-off double to win the game!

The Phillies came back from a 7 run deficit to win the game and take 2 of 3 games in the series.  When asked how he felt after the game, Ruiz told Gary Matthews, “I’m happy, I’m so happy.”  Well Chooch, we are SO happy too!  Werth then ran up behind him and dumped a bucket of Gatorade over Ruiz’s head.  I supposed shaving cream pies are out of fashion now.

Next up: the Mets in New York for the weekend.  Game time tomorrow is 7:10pm.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

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