Results tagged ‘ John Lannan ’

Home Opener Disaster for Phillies

The day began so promising for the Phillies.  The sun was shining, people were smiling and the Home Opener was upon us:

The festivities continued with the traditional patriotism, Leap Frog jumpers falling from the sky and team introductions.  Retired Phillies Mike Schmidt and Dickie Noles joined their former rival from the 1980 Phillies-Royals World Series, George Brett on the field for some pre-game pitches.  All was well with the world…

And then the game started.

The Phillies actually looked like the World Series champs of old for about 4 innings.  Domonic Brown and Erik Kratz hit home runs; Chase Utley and Ryan Howard were hitting; and by the end of the 3rd inning, the Phillies had a 4-0 lead.

And then it all went downhill….fast.

Kyle Kendrick, who was solid to start the game, began getting hit hard by the 5th inning.  By the 6th inning, Kendrick was out of gas and pulled from the game.  But not before the Phils intentionally walked Billy Butler to load the bases with 2 outs.  This may have been the one call that sent the game into a real tailspin.

Because once the bullpen took over, all hell broke loose.  All 3 of those runs scored, thanks to Jeremy Horst.  Additional damage was done by the pen later, as the Royals scored in every single inning from the 5th on.

Ben Revere got called out when he looked safe (see photo)…Brown dove for a ball in the outfield and missed…it was a total disaster.

By the 8th inning, fans were scurrying to the exits like a herd of deer running from a hungry cougar.  It was ugly.

With this 4-13 loss, the Phillies have now dropped 3 of their first 4 games, allowing 29 runs in those 3 losses.  They seriously need a win tonight.

John Lannan makes his Phillies debut tonight at 7:05pm.  Best of luck to him…he’ll need it.

And here is the Photo Album from the game.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Weekend Prelude to Opening Day

The Phillies hosted two exhibition games this weekend, signaling the end of Spring Training and the start of the regular season on Monday. As they have the past several years, the Phillies planned a number of special events and surprises on Friday and Saturday.

Friday began with the On-Deck Reception, hosted by the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. There were players signing autographs, several Q & A sessions with players and coaches, and an on-field introduction of the entire team:

I personally got autographs from Domonic Brown (and a photo as well), Erik Kratz, John Mayberry Jr. and Antonio Bastardo. This was my first time attending this particular event and it was well worth the effort. The only bummer of the day was I discovered that the autofocus on my very expensive camera had died :O( Ugh. So I apologize in advance for 2 days worth of so-so photos, as I had to use my mediocre eye sight to manually focus a very large lens.

The prior to the evenings game, players wandered around the stadium greeting fans and some stopped for photos. I had my picture taken with John Lannan, Antonio Bastardo, Humberto Quintero and hitting coach Wally Joyner.

Cliff Lee started the game that night and looked ready to go for the season. But his real highlight was helping Cole Hamels man the Phanatic’s hot dog shooter between innings:

To be honest, the game was rather boring, so the hot dog-interlude was a very welcome distraction. The Phils lost 1-0.

More fun was happening prior to Saturday’s game as well. After some very stealth stalking on my part, I managed to get photos with a few new guys and a Hall of Famer: Mike Adams, Ender Inciarte and third-base-coach/HOF guy, Ryne Sandburg. That was pretty awesome. Both exhibitions games were well worth the trip because of these little extras.

The game itself, however, did not go well against a very potent Blue Jays line-up. The Jays beat up on Kyle Kendrick, who gave up 5 runs in 3 innings. John Lannan took over for the next 3 innings and held the Jays to 1
more run. It was not quite out of reach for the Phillies though until very late. Here are a few highlights:

And Cliff Lee finally got his turn at the helm of the hot dog cannon, with Hamels “feeding” the device:

The end result was a 10-4 loss. But luckily, the game did not count.

The Phillies announced the Opening Day roster afterwards. There were not too many surprises there:

Rotation (5): Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan.

Bullpen (7): Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams, Antonio Bastardo, Chad Durbin, Phillippe Aumont, Jeremy Horst and Raul Valdes.

Catchers (2): Erik Kratz and Humberto Quintero.

Infielders (6): Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Michael Young, Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis.

Outfielders (5): Ben Revere, Domonic Brown, John Mayberry Jr., Laynce Nix and Ender Inciarte.

Inciarte is a Rule-5 guy; they have to keep him on the roster or offer him back to the D-backs. Only 22-years old, he has never played above High-A level. He offers some depth in the outfield for now. Plus, he is adorable, so I approve ;o)

So here we are, finally! Opening Day! Game time is 7:10pm Monday night in Atlanta.

And here are the links to my photo albums from the weekend: Friday’s On-Deck Reception and Exhibition Game and Saturday’s Exhibition Game.

Go Phillies!

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Phillies Putting All Their Eggs In One Basket

The Phillies have made a few egg-head moves in the last week or so.  First, they released utility infielder Yuniesky Betancourt, who will now reportedly sign with the Brewers.  And now they have released pitcher Aaron Cook, who appeared to be a lock as the unofficial 6th starter in the Phillies rotation.  Cook pitched in 6 spring training games, posting a 3.38 ERA over 18.2 innings.

Last year, Kyle Kendrick fit into this spot nicely, filling in when a starter was needed due to injury.  But Kendrick is #4 in the rotation now.  Cook performed well enough this spring to become the new Kendrick, but apparently a $100,000 bonus was too much for the Phillies to handle.  So instead of paying him, Cook was sent packing.

Granted, Cook did not pitch well in the majors over the past several years.  But neither did John Lannan, who coincidentally gave up 12 runs in his last 4 innings of work this spring.  And Lannan is starter #5.  Cook appeared to be improving and was the Phillies only veteran option to start a game in the event that a started gets injured.

The Phillies have now put all their eggs in one basket, filled with 5 starters, 2 of whom are on shaky ground.  Lannan is an unknown at this point; he has not been consistent this spring.  Even more frightening, Roy Halladay has been awful.  Last season, he pitched injured, and the results certainly showed it.  This spring, Halladay has been sick with a stomach virus, experienced a dead-arm, complained of fatigue and his velocity is way down.

If Halladay cannot get back to pitching like a major-leaguer, this team is in serious trouble.  And with Cook’s release, the only option they have if Halladay goes down is to toss a minor league pitcher into the fire and hope he does not get burned.  With the imminent arrival of the Easter Bunny this weekend and Opening Day on Monday, they had better hope their eggs do not start to crack.

 

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An Emotional Offseason

A recent Sports Illustrated article graded the Phillies offseason moves a “D.”  They summarized it by saying, “Though the trade for Revere gives the Phillies a cost-controlled centerfielder to grow on, they’ve taken steps backward with most of their other moves, and are more likely to repeat last year’s middling showing than contend in a division where the Nationals and Braves have upgraded in impressive fashion.

Ouch.

This assessment, however, may or may not be totally off-base.  I decided to rank some of these moves for myself using not grades, but my emotions about each event.  Roger Ebert once said, “Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.”  Let’s see if he is correct:

Happy: The trade for centerfielder Ben Revere.  He is cheap, young and has room for improvement.  My instinct says he will be a pleasant surprise.

Nostalgic Joy: Re-signing RHP Chad Durbin.  Durbin is a solid human being and he had a great 2012 with the Braves.  Plus he helped the Phillies collect their 2008 World Series championship.

Cautiously Optimistic: Signing Michael Young to play third base.  Young seems like another solid human being with a true passion for the game.  The question is whether or not he can still play defense.  I feel that a guy with this much experience and motivation should be able to work it out.

Conflicted: Adding Chase Utley-hater and lefty John Lannan to the starting rotation.  Obviously with the departure of Vance Worley, the Phillies needed a starter.  Lannan is cheap, but how well he will perform and his attitude are, at least for me, big question marks.

Confused: Signing outfielder Delmon Young.  This guy is a problem child who is also still recovering from offseason ankle surgery.  His defense is awful and he has been, not without cause, labeled an anti-Semite with a bad temper.  I get the low-risk, high reward school of thought here.  What I do not get is why the Phillies would rather mess around with this guy than finally give Domonic Brown a full-time shot at one of the corner outfield spots.

Nervously Nauseous: I am just a wee bit sick to my tummy about the 2-year, $12 million deal the Phillies gave to RHP Mike Adams to be the 8th inning guy.  I like Adams if he is healthy.  However, he is recovering from thoracic outlet surgery.  This is the same surgery that Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals had and his career looks like it may be over.  That is a little scary.

Utter Disappointment: Carlos Ruiz’s 25-game suspension for using a banned substance.  He did not use steroids, which is a relief.  But still, getting caught with ADHD meds when he was forewarned about it after a previously positive test is very disappointing.  He knew he’d probably get caught again and did it anyway.  *Sigh.*

Sad: Losing Vance Worley in the Ben Revere trade.  I wish him luck in Minnesota!

Indifferent:  Everything else.  A lot of minor moves were made, mostly involving minor league deals and guys past their prime.  Unless someone makes a real impact in camp, I cannot imagine there will be much to say about these miscellaneous people.

And my final emotion of the day…

Elation!  Spring Training starts tomorrow!

 

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Phillies Sign Pitchers Lannan and Adams

I am guessing that John Lannan and Chase Utley will never be BFF’s, but Lannan signing with the Phillies may at least prompt a truce.  In 2007, Lannan threw the pitch that broke Utley’s hand, essentially ending his run for the MVP award that year.

In 5 plus years in the majors with the Nationals, Lannan has hit Phillies’ batter’s 11 times; 3 of those were directed at Utley.  I would venture an educated guess that these two guys do not like each other.

Regardless, Lannan is on-board for 1 year and $2.5 million to take the place of Vance Worley, who was traded to the Twins earlier this month.  It sounds like a low-risk, high reward situation, as long as Lannan can stop himself from whacking his new teammates with the ball.  The temptation may linger until he gets used to his new location.

As for Mike Adams, this sounded like a good signing until I heard the terms.  We will get to that in a moment.  Adams is a very solid relief pitcher who has a lifetime 2.28 ERA over 8 seasons.  However, he is 34 years old and coming off a surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, a condition in which a rib bone presses against a nerve, causing pain and numbness in the arm.

Does this sound like a guy you would sign to TWO years and $12 million?  Not so much.  And yet, that is what the Phillies are giving him.  While this is not fully in the range of a Freddy Garcia-type disaster (whom the Phillies gave $10 million to in 2007 to do basically nothing), the potential is similar.  If Adams does not recover from surgery or comes back as a lesser pitcher, this deal is a huge bust.

But the Phillies are once again rolling the dice and praying for the best case scenario.  Let us hope they come out on the winning end this time.

By the way, if you missed my 2012 Phillies Photo Tribute slideshow, here it is again for your entertainment.  Enjoy!

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Lannan photo by Nick Wass (AP)

Slideshow photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Phillies Swat the Nats with Some Big Sticks

In his second start back since coming off the DL, Roy Oswalt looked healthy and in control.  Thanks to an early lead given to him by the offense, he was able to relax and really settle back into the rotation.

Through seven innings, Oswalt gave up three runs on six hit and a walk for a quality start.  While Oswalt pitched, the Phillies offense did more than their share to help out.

Ryan Howard continues to rip the cover off the ball.  Tonight he went 2-for-4 with four RBI, including a 2-run homer.  That puts him at 95 RBI on the year, which leads the league.

 

Also with a multi-hit night, Shane Victorino shows no signs of slowing down.  He is now batting .313.

The Phillies scored runs in a variety of ways tonight, taking advantage of Nationals errors, running the bases well and taking walks.  Oswalt walked twice, and one of those forced a run home.  Pitcher John Lannan lasted only three innings, allowing seven runs, six of which were unearned due to Nats bloopers.

By the eighth inning, the Phillies has the game well in hand, leading 8-3.  Only, there was still one issue.  Hunter Pence did not yet have a hit.  And as has been the trend since Pence joined the team, if he does not hit, the Phillies do not win.  Pence alleviated all worries of a Nats comeback with an RBI-single in the 8th.  Whew!

Michael Stutes pitched the final two innings to secure the Phillies 11-3 win over the Nats, splitting the series at one game apiece.

The final game of the series is scheduled for Sunday at 1:35pm which is to be preceded by the unveiling of the new fan-funded Harry Kalas statue.  However, the weather is calling for a lot of rain, threatening the game.  Cross your fingers!  If the rain holds out, I will return with photos.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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Phillies Sweep Nats With Another Great Halladay Performance

Happy Cinco De Mayo!  To celebrate, Roy Halladay pitched another great game and the Phillies swept another series, taking the Nationals down in three-straight games with a 7-3 victory.

Through seven innings, Halladay was his usual, amazing self.  He allowed only two runs on six hits while striking out 10 batters. 

The Phillies offense broke the game open in the third inning, scoring six runs and chasing Nats starter John Lannan out of the game before even recording an out in the inning.  Lannan is now 0-10 against the Phillies in his career while Halladay is the polar opposite against the Nats with 10 wins.

Raul Ibanez led the offense tonight.  He is so happy to be out of the slump that his bat was on fire.  Ibanez went 3 for 4 with a double and a home run plus three RBI.  The home run was hit off Nats pitcher, Todd Coffee, which went into the second deck in right center field.

Right before the home run, Coffee was mysteriously stricken with a bloody nose, which delayed the game.  The Nats trainer stuffed tissue up his nose as they waiting for the bleeding to stop.  What exactly started the bleed?  My guess is that Coffee had a mind-blowing, brain-straining premonition of the upcoming Ibanez homer.  Quick, someone get that man a tampon before he bleeds all over the mound!  Gross.

 

All of the starting position players except Ryan Howard had a hit in the game.  And two players hit career milestones at exactly the same time.  With a double steal in the sixth, Jimmy Rollins collected his 250th career stolen base.  And for Shane Victorino, it was his 150th career stolen base.

Before the game, Roy Oswalt returned and threw a bullpen session.  He is probably going to start on Saturday, but nothing is official yet.  Oswalt spent just over a week in his home town in Mississippi helping clean up after tornado damage and checking on his family, all of whom are just fine, thankfully.

A new series starts tomorrow with the Atlanta BravesCliff Lee will pitch against Derek Lowe, who was arrested for DUI and reckless driving last Thursday.  This is just one of the recent Braves personal disasters.  Earlier this week, Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell was suspended two weeks without pay for making lewd gestures and homophobic remarks at a group of fans during a game.

 

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Go Phillies!

 

 

Ibanez photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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Halladay Never Quits As He Dodges A Big Bullet

Tonight’s Phillies game against the Nationals looked more like a game of dodgeball than baseball.  Bats and balls were flying everywhere as players dodged out of the way or dropped the ball like it was on fire.

In the fourth inning, Jimmy Rollins reached base when Ian Desmond dropped an easy ground ball.  One batter later, Desmond nearly football tackled Rollins who was on his way to third base.  As J-Roll rolled to the ground, the umpire called interference on Desmond and Rollins was safe at third.

Both Rollins and Ryan Howard had ball-handling issues as well.  The ball got stuck in each of their gloves at one point but they each recovered.

More flying objects threatened in the bottom of the fourth inning.  Danny Espinosa shattered his bat on a swing and pieces of the bat flew right at Roy Halladay, who was standing defenseless on the mound.  Luckily, the bat just grazed his glove.  Right behind him, Wilson Valdez fielded the ball cleanly despite the flying debris an turned and amazing double play to end the inning.

 

Dodgeball Phillies.jpg

Ryan Howard tried to dodge a ball in the fifth when pitcher John Lannan hit him in the hand.  Nightmares of Chase Utley’s broken hand in 2007, who was also hit by Lannan, swirled in the air.  But Howard was fine and a run was walked home as a result.

Oh, and Roy Halladay was pretty good tonight, too.  With the offense spotting him three runs, Halladay mowed down Nats batters one by one.  Even Jayson Werth, who was great on Tuesday night, could not dodge the bullets from his former teammate.

Werth finally got a hit in the ninth inning, as Halladay was then the one trying to dodge a bullet.  With one run in, Werth on third and only one out in a 3-1 game, Charlie Manuel went to the mound to get Halladay who it appears, refused to leave.  Manuel gave Halladay his wish and left him in.  The next batter hit an infield single to cut the Phils lead to 3-2.

Still, Halladay stayed on the mound.  Next up was another former Phillies, Matt Stairs.  Normally one who swings away, Stairs froze as three straight strikes flew by.  Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez suffered the same fate as he struck out looking to end the game, despite protests to the umpire.

The Phillies won by a score of 3-2.  As for Roy Halladay, bullet dodged.

Phinally! Moyer Gets #250

It took 6 tries, but the Washington Nationals proved to be the magic potion for Jamie Moyer who today became the oldest major leaguer in history to record 250 wins.  Moyer is exactly 46 years and 194 days old today.  The only run Moyer surrendered in 6 innings of work this afternoon was a solo home run to Josh Willingham, who hit 2 on the day; the second was off reliever Clay Condrey.  Incidentally, Randy Johnson of the San Francisco Giants will also go for a career milestone against the Nationals this Wednesday; Johnson is looking for win #300.  I am actually going to that game in DC to see if I can catch two historical events in one week :O)  Wish me luck…

By the way, Moyer is a saint!  Look at how he takes the time to show this little girl how to pitch right before the game and then gives her both the ball he signed and the pitched ball she threw:



Moyer 053109 ed.jpgAnd maybe that sporty new buzzed haircut helped him out today too :O)

As for the rest of this afternoon’s events, the 4-2 win over the Nats completed a 3-game sweep for the Phillies.  Lending a helping hand towards this victory was Chase Utley who seems to have taken up a personal mission to make Nats pitcher John Lannan’s life a living hell; Lannan is the same pitcher who broke Utley’s hand 2 years ago and since then, Utley has made him pay for it.  Utley went 2 for 3 with a walk and an RBI in the win.  Chris Coste helped out, while making the most of a rare start; Coste hit a home run, a single and had 2 walks.  And Ryan Howard, hot off his grand slam yesterday, nailed an RBI triple in the 7th to give his team some cushion going into the late innings.

Some photos for you -  Howard tosses to first; Utley slides in safe; Howard slides in for a triple; Victorino runs the bases:



053109 ed.jpgAnd welcome back Brad Lidge!  “Light’s Out” Lidge has now notched 3 saves in a row, after a very rough start to the season with 4 blown saves.  He is throwing his slider for strikes, cutting down on the walks and starting to look like the Mr. Perfect of 2008 once again.  One more “Phinally!” on the day :O)

Here is the Photo Album from today’s win and historic #250 for Moyer!

The Phillies now head off to the West Coast to begin a 10-day road trip which will include the Padres, Dodgers and Mets.  A step up from playing the Nationals, but the Phillies have been hot on the road this year.  So the anticipation mounts as rookie Antonio Bastardo prepares to make his first major league appearance on Tuesday night against the Padres, in place of the injured Brett Myers.  But first, Joe Blanton takes the mound tomorrow night at 10:05pm (yikes!).  So much for getting any sleep this week…

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Photos by Jenn

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As The Ankle Turns

The soap opera that is the Curse of Cole Hamels continues…  First, he hurts his left elbow in Spring Training and misses his Opening Day start; then in his last start, he gets hit in his pitching shoulder (left arm) with a line drive; and yesterday, he turns his left ankle while fielding a bunt that he knew ahead of time was going to be coming.  The batter turned and squared to bunt before Hamels threw a pitch.  So, is this man made of glass or is he just cursed on the left side of his body?  Will he ever finish a game in 2009?  Maybe we should cover him up in bubble wrap and then seal him in a hermetic chamber.  Just a thought…Hamels ankle.jpg

Cole tossed one warm-up pitch after the turned ankle and then, in obvious frustration, he tossed the ball at manager Charlie Manuel and walked off the field in dramatic fashion.  Cue the cheesy soap opera music…  The good news is, the MRI’s were negative and it appears to be only a sprain.  Hamels told the media he expects to be ready for his next start, but that remains to be seen.  After being very disappointed last year when he did not make the All-Star team, it looks like this year will be no different after this roller coaster start to the season.

The real shame of it all is that Hamels was off to a great start in these last few outings, only to be pulled due to injury.  Last night, he had only given up 4 hits and not surrendered a run before leaving in the 5th with only 1 out recorded.  Chad Durbin came in to take over for Hamels though and pitched a superb 3 2/3 innings of 1-run ball.  That run, an Adam Dunn solo shot, was the only hit recorded off Durbin.  Kudos to Durbin for saving the day!  What an effort to pick up his teammate!

Also doing a lot of the heavy lifting last night was Chase Utley; Utley took his revenge on John Lannan, the same pitcher who broke his hand 2 years ago.  In the 3rd, Utley took Lannan deep for a 2-run shot and then completed the humiliation with a solo shot in the 5th.  That’s what you get for breaking this super-star’s hand!

042809a.jpg

Pedro Feliz hit a 3-run homer in the 3rd, continuing his hot streak.  Feliz is now batting .333.  And Raul Ibanez is relentless in his pursuit to call Philly his new home, blasting a solo home run in the 8th.  Ibanez and Utley are now tied for first place in home runs in the majors with Albert Pujols and Adrian Gonzalez; all four players have 7 homers.

042809b.jpg
 

Congrats also to Jimmy Rollins who finally recorded his first stolen base of the season last night!  J-Roll was 1 for 4 at the plate and seems to be in the midst of waking up offensively and getting his batting average out of the gutter; it currently stands at .195, which should change very soon.

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And now on to our Fan of the Game:  This is Buddy from Philadelphia and he is a big Phillies fan.  Buddy was especially high on Raul Ibanez, as I heard chants of “Pat who?” echo throughout the outfield.  Well, we do still miss Pat Burrell, but Ibanez has left no doubt that not only will that role be filled, but he will give us a more consistent bat and so far, great defense as well.  Let’s hear it for RAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUL!

I have posted a Photo Album from the game; these will be a bit different than what you usually see from me as I had a seat in straight away centerfield at the top of the section last night.  A different, and much more distant, perspective for sure.

Romero Sues

JC Romero is suing the company of the supplement he took that was tainted with an unlisted ingredient which caused him to test positive for steroids and resulted in a ridiculous 50-game suspension.  He is also suing the manufacturer and one of the people named in the law suit is Patrick Arnold, a chemist who has already spent time in jail after the BALCO scandal.  Just a few things to note here: Supplements are not regulated by the government and therefore, even if MLB approves of a supplement, it can still cause a player to test positive if it has been tainted in the manufacturing process.  Romero did get an ok from the MLBPA to take the supplement, but did not call some 800# to check again, and so MLB decided he was negligent.  He got the same suspension as would a person who actually took steroids.  Disgusting.

I have been thinking this over for the last few days now and trying to put those thoughts into words.  This has been an emotional ride for JC, his family, his teammates, and his fans.  As for myself, I know personally what an honest and forthright human being JC is and can tell you that not only is he innocent, but he is a victim here.  I hope he takes these people for all that they have and that this sets a precedent for other players who may be victimized by this system.  MLB needs to revisit their policies and create a fair regulation process.

There have been some questions about why Romero is not suing MLB.  What may not be widely known is that when he first tested positive, he was offered a reduced suspension, 25 games to begin immediately, if he agreed to waive his rights to an appeal.  However, he would have missed out on playing in the World Series if he took the deal.  Not wanting to let down his team and knowing he was innocent, he turned down the deal and chose his TEAM over his own personal well-being.  He knew that if he lost the appeal, he would get the 50 game suspension and lose out on more than a million dollars in salary.  And still, Romero did the right thing and should be commended for that.  This is a man who always does the right thing and yet, MLB punished him for it.  The reason he is not suing MLB is probably because as another term of going to appeal, he most likely had to waive his rights to future litigation.  A very sad an unfortunate set of circumstance; so again, I hope he slaughters these companies in court.

Next Up

So the Phillies will work on their 2nd straight sweep tonight, trying to beat the Nationals again starting at 7:05pm.  While you are watching the game, log on to VOTE for your All-Stars!  Vote a maximum of 25 times per day, per email address.  Get the Phillies to St. Louis!!  And as always, feel free to leave your comments and thoughts below.  Go Phillies!

Photos by Jenn

 

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