Results tagged ‘ Lou Marson ’

Creeping Slowly Towards Opening Day…


While we wait for Opening Day to arrive, the Phillies got in some more grapefruit league action today, just barely squeaking out a win against the Blue Jays.  
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Trailing 6-4 going into the 9th inning, they mounted a comeback, scoring 3 runs.  The tension grew thicker in the bottom of the 9th when pitcher Gary Majewski loaded the bases, thanks in part to an error on Miguel Cairo.  But Majewski managed to avoid disaster and pitched out of the jam.

Chan Ho Park started the game and went 4 innings with 4 hits given up, 3 earned runs and 1 walk; he also struck out 7.  Not a great outing, but not bad either.  Yesterday, JA Happ pitched 5 innings against the Yankees and only surrendered 1 earned run on 5 hits, but he also walked 3 batters.  The two pitchers are still very close in the contest for the 5th starters spot, but after today, Happ may have a slight edge. 

For the offense today, Chase Utley and Jayson Werth both went deep; Werth had 2 hits and one RBI on the homer and Utley racked up 3 RBI, including his 2-run blast.  Pedro Feliz went 2 for 5, which is encouraging; he has been slow at the plate since rehabbing from his back surgery.  Looks as if he and Utley are nearly at full speed.

Ryan Howard Tattoo Update

So a few weeks ago I reported that Howard got a new tattoo in early March; sorry this took a while, but my friend who was with Howard when he got the tattoo had her computer blow-up. 

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She is back on-line and yesterday morning, she sent me the following information:  The tattoo is based on his nickname; it is a hooded Samurai warrior with swords and in the background, there is a large Japanese Dojo and a sunset.  Also interesting to note, a day or so after he got the tattoo, he was nailed with a ball in the arm, right where the new and still healing tattoo is!  The ball caused the tattoo to scar up, but apparently Ryan liked the effect and left it as is.  So, there you have it; a scarred up Samurai.

Battle of the Backstops

It was said at the beginning of Spring that the back-up catcher’s job was Chris Coste’s to lose.  So far, Ronny Paulino has done nothing to take the job away from Coste.  Paulino is batting only .185 in 12 games played with 3 hits in 27 at-bats.  Although Coste is off to a slow start after a hamstring injury, the Phillies know what Coste is capable of both at and behind the plate.  So, unless a miracle occurs for Paulino, it is likely that Coste keeps the job.

P2242901 Marson.jpgAs for the 22-year old catcher, Lou Marson, he has been sent to triple A.  Marson was happy about the assignment for several reasons; last year, except for a brief September call-up, Marson spent the year in double A, so this represents a promotion for him.  Also, as a back-up in the majors, Marson would not get a lot of playing time, thus limiting his opportunities to learn and develop as a player.  Marson told beat-writer, Todd Zolecki, “I’m moving up a level; I know I got called up in September, but I was in Double-A the whole year.  I’m moving up a level.  That’s all I can ask for.  There are a lot of guys that would like to be in my situation, playing every day.  I can’t complain at all.  I’m happy about it.”  This kid is so darn cute, you just want to pinch his cheeks. :O)  Great player, great attitude and he is really grounded for his age.  Let’s hope the Phillies keep him around.

(All Photos by Jenn)

 

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Blanton Mows Down The Marlins


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The Phillies Joe Blanton and the Marlins’ Chris Volstad battled today for King of the Hill.  Each gave up one hit and struck out 3 with the only differences being that Blanton pitched 2 more innings (6) than Volstad (4) and the only hit off Blanton was a bunt single.  Winner: Blanton.  And the Phillies went on to win the game, 5-1.

Chris Coste, who has been struggling to get back in the swing of things since his hamstring injury, officially got his first hit and first RBI of the Spring today.  Coste probably breathed a big sigh of relief after that; in an interview with Scott Palmer earlier this month, Coste told Palmer that he believes “hitting is so mental” and talks about his “mental and physical bat speed.”  The home run he refers to at the beginning was during a scrimmage.  See what Coste has to say about coming back from his injury:

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Most Phillies fans are pulling for Coste to keep his job as the back-up catcher to Carlos Ruiz, so this is a good step forward.  The other option is Ronny Paulino who the Phils picked up from the Pirates in the off-season, but Paulino does not appear to have the consistency at the plate that Coste does; Paulino is batting only a .200 so far this Spring.  Lou Marson could step in, but he is probably better off staying in the minors one more year to gain experience and get his at-bats.

Cole Watch

All eyes are on Cole Hamels as he begins to throw after a sore elbow sidelined him a few days ago.  Hamels did some long-tossing with Jamie Moyer today and reported afterwards that he felt good; no more soreness except at the site he received the cortisone injection.

And as fascinated as we are with the arm, more people seem to be interested in what the World Series MVP is driving these days.  Check out this photo from The 700 Level:Cole minivan.jpg

Yes, that is a minivan you see him driving.  Not very macho, you say?  Well then, add this to it: 

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Cole also owns a small, white, fluffy yip-yip dog.  Last Spring Training, I watched as his wife drove him out of the stadium; Hamels had her stop the car so he could say hello.  As he rolled down the window, the yipping dog put his tiny paws on the window sill and bounced around in Cole’s lap.  While I was too stunned to grab my camera, the photo to the right shows approximately what the dog looked like.

You may have varying opinions on the subject, but any man who is so unconcerned with his image that he drives around with a fuzzy ankle biter in his lap while traveling in a grocery getter, has got to be very secure in his own self-image; oh, and it also probably means he is filthy rich.  When you have that much money, really, who cares what anyone else thinks?  Just my opinion :O)

 

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Team USA Beats The Phillies

Watching Team USA with Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino playing against the Phillies was strange, to put it mildly.  Although, who to root for was easy – both!  Yet, the sight of Victorino sliding into base with a Phillies glove coming at him did feel wrong somehow; but even more confusing was watching Victorino and Rollins team up with rival New York Met, David Wright, Atlanta Brave, Chipper Jones and Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia.  Here are 4 of them celebrating after a Jones homer run plus, Victorino sliding into second and Rollins letting everyone know that he is working hard:

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Victorino and Rollins each had one hit for Team USA today and minor league Phillie, Joe Bisenius pitched for Team USA, giving up 1 run on three hits in his one inning of work.  Also for Team USA, Derek Jeter went hitless in his 6 innings, but showed off defensively, as usual.  Chipper Jones and Red, Adam Dunn led the charge against the Phillies, collecting 3 RBI a piece.  Below, see Jeter make a great leaping throw; Mike Cervenak slides into second trying to break up a double play, forcing Pedroia to jump over him; and J-Roll swings and misses:

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On the Phillies side, Eric Bruntlett and Cervenak each earned an RBI and Jason Donald woke from his slumber, hitting a solo homer in the 6th.  Catcher Lou Marson was the only Phillie with a multi-hit game, going 2 for 4.  The big score came from Ryan Howard, who knocked a 3 run homer in the 5th.  However, Howard had a very strange day.  In the first inning, Howard dropped a routine feed from Donald, allowing the runner to reach base.  Then, in the third inning, he got whacked in the helmet with a pitch, but appeared to be fine.  Later, Howard dropped a routine pop-up off the bat of Victorino and then also dropped a pick-off toss to first as Victorino slid back in safely, although, that looked to be a bad throw by Kyle Kendrick.  Here are a few photos of the events at hand; note where the ball is in the top 2 photos; the bottom photo is the home run shot:

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Aside from Howard’s fumbles, the big story of the day appears to be Kyle Kendrick who did not look good.  In 2 2/3 innings, he surrendered 5 hits and 4 runs, including the 3 run shot by Jones, which, by the way, I called as it happened.  As shaky as Kendrick was and seeing he could not keep the ball down or his emotions in check, once Chipped stepped to the plate, I told my neighbor what was about to happen and, wham!  3-run home run.  Kendrick has a lot of work to do if he is going to compete for the 5th starters’ position. 

Equally unimpressive was the outing of Antonio Bastardo, who gave up 5 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks.  Regulars Clay Condrey and Ryan Madson got some work in also and each looked ok, although Madson did walk 2.  In the end, the Phillies went down by a score of 9-6.

And now for the Photo of the Day – Team USA united!P3056461.JPG

The Phillies have both an A and a B game tomorrow against the Blue Jays; the B game is at 2pm at Bright House field and the A game is in Dunedin at 7pm.  Sadly, my time in Florida has come to a close and I will be hopping a plane back to the deep freeze of the Philadelphia area tomorrow.  I will continue my coverage from home, although be terribly depressed about it :O(  I know, I know…poor me.  Hee!  It was fun while it lasted!

 

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Team Canada Feels The Chill

Another chilly day in Florida today where Team Canada went down in flames against the World Champions; final score, 9-2.  Thumbnail image for P3046122.JPGThis is what happens when you stock your team with guys named…well, see for yourself: 

 
You can’t make this stuff up.  So many jokes…so little time.  What were his parents thinking?  And the Canadian team was also made up of guys like Matt Stairs, Justin Morneau of the Twins and this kid…the littlest Canadian:

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Maybe he is Stubby Jr.?   Well, Stairs and Morneau aside, it is no wonder Team Canada struggled against the Phillies.

Anyway, before the game, John Mayberry Sr., former Kansas City Royal, and father of new Phillie, John Mayberry Jr., wandered over to say hello to Charlie Manuel and the gang.  He was a proud papa today, watching his son move closer to making the 25-man roster.  Mayberry Jr. smacked another home run and went 2 for 3 with 2 RBI on the homer.  If Mayberry keeps this pace up, it will be difficult to send him to the minors come April.

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Cole Hamels made his first start of spring training today and pitched 2 innings, giving up 2 hits and a walk.  He started off looking a bit shaky, but settled in and did not allow any runs.  Scott Eyre also pitched an inning and was much sharper than his last outing.  Eyre sent them down in order, striking out 2 batters.  Below, you will see Hamels, Eyre and Greg Dobbs sliding into 2nd; Dobbs, who went 1 for 4, also made an amazing solo double play during the game; he made a diving grab, threw himself at 1st base, sliding forward to tag the bag with his glove before the runner could get back.  Nicely done :O)

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Rookie Jason Donald had a rough day, and has been having a less than spectacular spring at the plate overall.  Today he went 0 for 3.  Donald is getting a lot of playing time to see if he can handle 3rd base should they need him to step in for Pedro Feliz, who is still recovering from back surgery.  But Donald seems to be pressing at the plate and is not producing so far.  Andy Tracy tried to cheer him up after he exited the game today…you will also see Lou Marson fouling off a pitch and Miguel Cairo sliding into home:

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As for the competition for the back-up catchers position, Chris Coste has only made one start so far due to a hamstring injury, which is giving Ronny Paulino an opportunity to snag the job.  Paulino has not been too impressive, which is good news for Coste, but he’ll need to get back on the field if he is going to keep the job.  Coste did take batting practice today and looked solid, so it looks like he should be up and running soon. 

And now for the Photo of the Day – Chase Utley warming up for batting practice; take a look at the reflection in his sunglasses:P3045954.JPG

The Phillies will take on Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Team USA tomorrow at 12:05pm!

 

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Spring Training Practices Winding Down


P2232834.JPGSo far, the mood in Phillies practice has been very upbeat.  Shane Victorino was all smiles as he tossed balls to children in the crowd earlier today.  Cole Hamels returned to the team, having taken care of his “personal issues” and spirits were high.  There are a few story lines causing some stress among the natives , including the battle for the 5th starting position.  Kyle Kendrick threw a good session today and Scott Eyre helped him keep the mood light.  Either that, or Eyre has mistaken Kendrick for a cute little baby…

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Other developing story lines include the competition among the rookies trying to make the team. 
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Jason Donald, who may replace Chase Utley if he has a setback and is not ready to go for Opening Day, is keeping pace with the big boys.  Lou Marson, understanding the team is heavy on catchers, keeps up his hard work in the hopes that he makes an impression for future call-ups.  And Mike Cervanek , who made his major league debut last year after 10 years in the minors and independent leagues, has been hustling to get some attention.  Cervenak could be the right-handed bat the Phillies need, plus he is able to play 3rd, 2nd and 1st bases.  Having been a member of the World Series squad, the coaches already know Cervenak, but this will be a case of perseverance on his part to make the team.

P2232753.JPGWith so many good looking men wandering about the practice fields, it makes you wonder where a few of these guys are getting their hair style advice.  Women do seem to love the beard, but Eric Bruntlett may want to consider a trim.  It’s hair gone wild!  And then in the plain “hair has gone away” category, new Phillie Raul Ibanez may want to consider a new look.  Here are a few for him to “try on.”

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Only one day left of practice before the games begin on Wednesday; the Phillies will take on the Pirates in Bradenton, FL for the Spring Training opener at 1:05pm.  Stay tuned for game coverage!

And on to the Photo of the Day…it’s an unusually chipper Mike Schmidt:
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Phillies Close Out Regular Season With A Sweep

The Phillies ended the season today with a series sweep of the Nationals, winning today’s game by a score of 8-3.  This game very much resembled a Spring Training game, as all of the rookies and back-ups got the start.  It was a lot of fun as the whole team, having already clinched the Division, was very relaxed and they were all having a good time.  Most fans even stuck around after the game to dance, catch prizes from the Phanatic and the ball girls and just revel in the glory of a great season and the Phils’ 2nd consecutive NL East Title.  Signed balls, tee shirts and I don’t know what else, flew through the air as the fireworks erupted above.  The only question that still lingered was, will it be the Brewers or the Dodgers?

That question was answered shortly after the game as the Brewers won and the Mets, for the second straight year, lost and will again not see the post-season.  Another sad collapse for Mets fans; a bright spot for Phillies fans as I think we can all agree that the Brewers will be the better match-up in the playoffs.  And so it is; the Phillies will face the Brewers on Wednesday in Philly – Time TBD.

As for today, there were a lot of great moments for the youngsters and back-ups playing; Lou Marson went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI, including hitting his very first Major League home run.  What a night for his first start in the Bigs!  Right after Marson hit his homer, on the very next pitch, pinch hitter Matt Stairs followed with one of his own!  Nice.  And the fun continues…So Taguchi looked like the player we all assumed he was at the beginning of the season; he went 3 for 5 with 3 RBI and was great on defense as well.  The other “guchi,” Tadahito Iguchi, and Eric Bruntlett each had 2 hits in the game.  Jayson Werth pinch hit in the 4th, whacked a single and then followed it up with his 20th steal of the year as he swiped 2nd base.  That put him in the 20-20 club with more than 20 homers (24) and 20 stolen bases.  Impressive for a guy who was not a starter at the beginning of the year.  And then for more pinch hit fun, in the 6th inning Ryan Howard hit a slap-bunt up the 3rd base line to beat the shift and eventually wound up scoring in that inning.  If he can do this more often, he may see the Howard defensive shift slowly disappear…  And as a side note, Howard managed with that hit to raise his batting average over the .250 mark for the year (.251, to be exact).

Here are some photos from the game…first one is from the pre-game.  Many of the Phillies regular starters came out to thank the fans and a few of them spoke.  Jimmy Rollins and Brad Lidge were both very eloquent in their speeches.  Then, the microphone was passed to Chase Ultey who proceeded to give the world’s fastest “Thank You” ever.  All he said was, “You guys have been unbelievable,” and then immediately began to walk off, which prompted this reaction from his teammates:
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Funny stuff!  The crowd laughed right along with them.  Utley, as we know, is a bit speech-shy.

Next photos – Top row:  Phanatic & the Mystery Baby Phanatic (from the crowd!) try to hex to opposing pitcher; Eric Bruntlett makes a great play.  Bottom row:  Bruntlett and Taguchi round the bases; Chris Coste, in a rare appearance at first base, scoops up a dribbler and tags out the runner.
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Les Waldron collects his first Major League Win!
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Steve Smith sends Jayson Werth home; Greg Golson catches a fly ball in centerfield.
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A great end to a great season!  Stay tuned for post-game info and coverage!

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