Results tagged ‘ Ruben Amaro Jr. ’
Phillies fan everywhere can breathe a huge sigh of relief as it was announced today that Cliff Lee has been traded to the Texas Rangers. The relief comes for many reasons. #1 – He did not go the Mets or anywhere in the Phillies division. #2 – He did not land with their World Series rivals, the Yankees. #3 – He is in the American League. Whoo Hoo!
Why so excited? Because Lee was LOVED in Philly and losing him this off-season in a very bad trade stung enough. To have seen him go to a local or rival team would have been rubbing salt in the wound. Of course, Philly would have loved to have him back, but did anyone really think that was going to happen? Not likely. To acquire Lee again would have meant Ruben Amaro Jr. would be admitting he made a mistake trading him in the first place. Plus, the Phillies farm system has very little left to offer in any trade.
Here are the gritty details of the trade: The Mariners get first baseman Justin Smoak and minor leaguers Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Matt Lawson. The Rangers get Lee plus reliever Mark Lowe. They will call up Chris Davis to play first since Smoak was moved.
Best of luck to Cliff Lee in Texas (unless he is playing the Phils, of course)! He will always hold a special place in the hearts of all Phillies fans.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
As more players continue to drop like flies, manager Charlie Manuel was also forced to miss today’s game against the Pirates due to a suspension. On Thursday night, Manuel bill-butted the umpire with the brim of his hat as he argued a call. Manuel has been ejected 3 times in just over a week, obviously frustrated with how this season is going. This suspension was just one more blow to this already limping Phillies team.
The Phillies went down against the Pirates today with their anemic offense again giving no run support to the pitcher. The final score was 2-3 and the Phils had only 8 hits. Wilson Valdez hit a solo homer and the 2nd run was unearned due to a Pirates throwing error. Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez both went hitless.
Ibanez has had one hit in his last 8 games and 34 at-bats. The Phillies need to put Ben Francisco in left and be done with it already. Ibanez has not contributed in any significant way in a long time. In fact, in the month of June, Ibanez had 5 hits…total. That is the entire month. Francisco had 11 hits in 37 at-bats compared to 5 hits in 96 at-bats for Ibanez. This is a NO brainer.
So another good pitching performance was wasted by the Phils offense. Cole Hamels allowed 3 runs in 7 innings and deserved a win. Instead, he gets another loss and to a last-place team no less. But sadly, that was not the only drama tonight.
Just when you thought, after having 7 players on the DL and Chase Utley going in for surgery today, things could not get worse…they did. Back-up catcher Brian Schneider got hit in the hand with a pitch and has a hyper-extended left thumb and had to leave the game. No word yet on how serious it is, but if he goes on the DL too, the Phillies will be left with a 3rd string catcher and have to call up a 4th from the minors. My head hurts.
And by the way, Utley’s recovery time has been changed from the original 6 weeks reported to 8 weeks. By tomorrow, who knows? They may go with 3 months. But realistically, this kind of surgery can have widely varying recovery times based on the extent of the damage and how the surgery went.
As for Placido Polanco, he has 3-4 weeks before he can return due to bone chips in his elbow. And catcher Carlos Ruiz was examined in Pittsburgh today and the tests for his concussion apparently did not go well. That means he may be out even longer than 15 days. The Phils may as well open their own ER at this rate.
Will GM Ruben Amaro Jr. find a quality infielder to help out? This will be interesting. We already know Amaro screwed up when he traded Cliff Lee and probably every team in the league wants to get Lee now. I have heard many fans say they think we can get him back to Philly. Stop right there. Here is the one reason that will never happen: to bring Lee back would mean Amaro would be admitting he made a mistake by trading him in the first place.
Some men admit when they are wrong, like umpire Jim Joyce admitted he blew the call that cost Armando Galaraga a perfect game. And when Andy Pettitte admitted he did steroids and was obviously ashamed. But Amaro? It will never happen. Put it out of your minds and move on.
And now the infield is a bigger concern than the pitching. The Phillies will have at least a month without their 2 All-Star infielders and then an additional month without Utley. They need help and Amaro has to go make something happen. Right now, I really don’t want his job.
Player photos and photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
The aching cries of Phillies fans everywhere were heard in a collective scream today of “Nooooooo!!!!” as the news broke about Chase Utley. While this is not a huge shock after the injury to his thumb earlier this week, the news still hurts.
Utley will have surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb today. The Phillies first said it was a sprain but after visits to 3 different doctors, it is a tear that needs to be fixed.
The recovery time is said to be about 6 weeks, which sounds like a very conservative estimate to me. But Utley has healed quickly in the past after other procedures, like his hip surgery, and everyone knows he will dedicate himself fully to getting well as soon as humanly possible. Whatever happens, the Phillies are now without their number one player until at least mid-August.
I am going to sit in a corner for a while and cry, maybe eat some Ben & Jerry’s and then watch the movie Titanic for the 50th time or so. But after that, we should all pick ourselves up, dust off and start preparing for a very interesting season. Ruben Amaro Jr. is going to need to get help…fast. This will be the true test of Amaro’s ability to manage a team. We are all waiting to see what he does.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies squandered an opportunity for a series win today, losing to the Reds by a score of 3-4. Roy Halladay has now lost 6 of his last 9 games, even though he has pitched at a 3.19 ERA during those 9 games. He did not have his best stuff today, allowing 2 big homers and 13 hits in an 8-inning complete game. But as has been the case all year, the offense did little to help him out.
It looked like the back-up players might carry the team for the second day in a row when 3rd string catcher Dane Sardinha hit a 3-run homer in the 4th inning. Wilson Valdez had 2 hits again and Greg Dobbs had a hit and a walk. But with both Jimmy Rollins and Raul Ibanez going 0 for 4, no Chase Utley or Placido Polanco, the offense did not get anything else done.
Games like these are when the Phillies are going to feel the full effect of having 7 players on the DL. The injuries are out of control and as a result, this is going to be a very rough ride for the rest of the season.
Yesterday, Brad Lidge said that the Phillies players were going to have to “step-up” during this trying time. I found that comical after Lidge became the only player yesterday who did not step-up. However, he has a point. The question remains though, can these bench guys get the job done?
Once the team has a better idea of how long Utley and Polanco will be out, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is going to have some very serious decisions to make. Can they go out and get a descent infielder while still adding to the pitching depth? All Phillies fans can do right now is hang in there and hope that this team can weather the storm.
The Phillies are on their way to Pittsburgh now for a 4-game series. The first game is Thursday night at 7:05pm and Cole Hamels will pitch.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Jimmy Rollins officially announced his return to the Phillies tonight with a 2-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the 9th against the Indians.
It was J-Roll’s only hit in two games since coming off the DL. Things looked grim going into that inning as Rollins was just 0 for 4 before that homer, but he hit it when it counted the most and gave his team a 7-6 victory. Welcome back, Jimmy!
Prior to that, the Phillies offense did score some runs, but they still seem to be butting heads with the usual problems; leaving men on base, hitting into double plays and swinging at bad pitches. Both Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez hit into double plays, the worst of which was by Ibanez in the 6th inning. With two runners on and no outs, Ibanez tapped one back to the mound and they did not score that inning.
But Howard had 2 hits on the night and Jayson Werth had 3, including a homer. Brian Schneider hit his first homer of the year in the 7th and there were a couple extra base hits in the game as well. The Phillies went only 2 for 8 with runners in scoring position, but with J-Roll playing the hero, it was enough to win the game.
The pitching was also interesting as the magical see-saw adventures of Kyle Kendrick continued tonight.
When Kendrick steps to the mound, you just never know what tricks he might pull out of his hat next. This evening’s tricks included allowing two 2-run homers to Shin-Soo Choo. Kendrick lasted just 4 innings with 5 runs allowed, although 1 run was unearned after a Chase Utley error.
With Kendrick, the only thing that has been consistent is his inconsistency. And with rumors floating that the Phillies are looking for a starting pitcher, it appears they are growing impatient with not only Kendrick, but JA Happ as well. Happ has not been progressing as quickly with his rehab as the Phillies would like. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told the Courier Press, “”It’s the first time he’s ever had this time off, and (he needs to) come back and cut it loose and get back to that old form. He’s going to have to get to that point or he can’t perform here.” Those are strong words from an obviously frustrated GM.
Another player was injured tonight as well; Chad Durbin came up with a right hamstring strain at the beginning of the 9th inning. According to Charlie Manuel after the game, the injury is “pretty serious.” Not good news; all we can do is hope he will be okay.
In other news, Greg Dobbs did clear waivers and has been sent to AAA to work on his swing. Hopefully, Dobbs can get back into shape and help out later in the year. I know a lot of people have been complaining about Dobbs, and not without cause, but I am rooting for him to return to his 2008 form when he was probably the best pinch hitter in the league. I have been fortunate to speak with Greg on a number of occasions and he is as nice a guy as you could ever hope to meet. He is great with the fans, unselfish when giving his time and has a good heart. For all those reasons, I wish him well and hope we might see him again soon.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Many Phillies fans are left wondering today where our team has gone. Because the one hit wonders from Saturday night’s loss to the Red Sox must be imposters. Seriously? ONE hit all game? Wow. Who took my Phillies, locked them in a closet and put these schmoe’s on the field? I am not amused.
But the bad day for the Phillies batters had much to do with both the Red Sox defense and the pitching performance of Daisuke Matsuzaka (say that 5 times fast). He was pitching a no-hitter through 7 1/3 innings until Juan Castro, our hero, hit a bloop single into no-man’s land. Many Phillies, like Jayson Werth, hit the ball hard but they kept hitting right at the Sox fielders. Matsuzaka caught a Werth liner that whizzed right at him basically in self-defense.
As for the Phillies pitching, Kyle Kendrick lasted only 4 2/3 innings, allowing 5 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks. The only Phillies pitcher to have gone less than 5 innings this year was…well, actually, it was Kendrick. So, at least he sucks on a consistent basis. There is comfort in that….not.
Jimmy Rollins was put back on the DL on Saturday, which is why Castro was in the game to save them from the embarrassment of a no-hitter. J-Roll has a Grade 1 strain in the same calf that he was on the DL for most of the season so far. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says it is not as serious as the first one, but I guess we won’t know until the 15 days is up.
So the Phillies still have a shot to win the series with Roy Halladay on the mound today. Game time is 1:35pm; I will be there and hopefully, I can get some photos before the rain comes down. Check back for that later.
Utley photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
With the rainout on Wednesday night, the pitching rotation is now set-up so that Roy Halladay will actually pitch on the same day his Bobblehead figurine will be handed out to fans at Citizens Bank Park. On Tuesday, May 18th, we will get a double treat; the bobblehead and some great pitching :O)
So while Halladay’s Denver homecoming was spoiled by a loss to the Rockies during Wednesday’s day game, maybe the baseball Gods have decided to make up for it. This could be a really fun game. Remember in 2008 when Shane Victorino hit a walk-off home run on his bobblehead day? While I don’t think Halladay will hit any homers, the crowd should be really excited and create some positive energy.
In the spirit of bobblehead day miracles, I have re-outfitted Halladay’s figurine a few different ways. First, we have the Victorino-inspired look, HulaHalladay followed by Super-Halladay and HalladAngel:
So while we have Halladay to look forward to on Tuesday, we also have Brad Lidge to stress-out about, maybe for the rest of the year. Lidge had an MRI on his sore elbow and it did not show any structural damage, but did reveal inflammation in the lining of his elbow joint. The area where he had the surgery appears to be healing just fine. That is the extent of what the Phillies have said about it.
On the surface, this seems like good news. What I can tell you from own experience is that this condition is called “synovitis.” The most common cause is some form of arthritis. Treatment usually consists of anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone injections and sometimes surgery to remove the inflamed lining. The problem with this type of issue is that it is usually persistent and generally only gets better with rest and treatment.
He may feel better in a few days, pitch again, and have the exact same issue come right back. It can be managed, but in my opinion, this may be a sign that Lidge will not be very effective in 2010, if at all. Keep in mind, the Phillies are not saying this, I am. And because I am not a doctor, I could be way off base here. But based on my experience with the exact same issue, I know how painful it can be.
So should Phillies fans be in full-scale panic mode? Maybe not; but Ruben Amaro Jr. had better be weighing his options and looking for bullpen help.
Photoshopping by Jenn
Phillies fans were taken by surprise this afternoon as it was announced that Ryan Howard will be with the Phillies through at least 2016 with a contract worth about $125 million dollars. Howard was already on-board through 2011 and here is how the remaining years will pay out: $20 million a year for 2012-2013; $25 million a year for 2014-2016 plus an option for 2017 worth $23 million and a $10 million dollar buyout.
There is a limited no-trade clause attached as well, plus award bonuses. Needless to say, Howard will be laughing all the way to the bank.
Not he isn’t worth the money; Howard leads all major league players in home runs with 222 and RBI’s with 650 since 2005. He also has a National League MVP award under his belt and was named the NL Rookie of the Year in 2005.
What is surprising about the deal is both the timing and Howard’s willingness to commit. It is the end of April and the Phillies are in the middle of a West Coast road trip; so, the timing is weird. Plus, it was almost assumed by most experts that Howard would want to test free-agency, in search of a bigger paycheck. And while the paycheck here is plenty large, it is still nice to see that Howard wants to stay in Philly.
The only possible drawback I see is this: Remember all these years past when the Phillies used Pat Burrell’s large salary and long contract as the excuse for not resigning key players or not going out and getting players to improve the team? Oh yeah, that. While GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is set on winning, let us all hope that the financial commitment does not translate into a boat-load of excuses later.
Imagine when Chase Utley’s contract comes up for renewal in 2013, as an example. Is Howard worth losing Utley, the best overall player and most dedicated member of the team (in my humble opinion, of course)? Nope. But, I promise not to panic until it comes to that ;o)
In the meantime, congratulations to Ryan! Now go hit some more homers….please and thank you :O)
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
In his much anticipated start to 2010, Cole Hamels had a fairly good day in an 8-4 win over the Nationals. He only managed to get through 5 innings with 2 earned runs and one unearned, but for his first start of the year, it was not bad. When he led off the game by walking the first batter on 4 pitches, fans cringed for a moment. But Hamels bounced back and did not have trouble again until the 3rd inning; he walked 2 more batters with 2 outs then allowed an RBI single. 2 runs scored that inning and his pitch count began to rise.
It did appear that the home plate umpire was squeezing the pitchers on both sides, which did not help matters. So with 103 pitches thrown by the end of the 5th, Hamels was done for the day. His arm speed looked good today, but his control still needs some work. Overall, it was a good first effort and hopefully the next start for Hamels will be even more productive.
Ryan Howard extended the 4th inning for Hamels a bit with an error on a ball to first that probably should have ended the inning. But Howard made up for the blunder by smashing a 2-run homer in the 5th. That is 2 games and 2 home runs for Howard; and for good measure, he hit an RBI double as well. Chase Utley had 2 hits, a walk and an RBI, in typical Utley style. Even Hamels joined the RBI party with a single to score Shane Victorino in the 4th.
After Hamels left the game, Chad Durbin did an outstanding job and went 2 scoreless innings. Danys Baez did not fare as well in the 8th, allowing 2 hits and a run in 1/3 of an inning. Antonio Bastardo came in to get the 2nd out and Ryan Madson struck out Ian Desmond for the 3rd out. Madson got the ball for the 9th as well and closed out the game for his first save of the year.
In these 1st two games of 2010, the Nationals pitchers have walked 17 Phillies batters. As our fearless TV announcer Gary “Sarge” Matthews said, “You don’t want to walk batters.” That is our Sarge; King of the Obvious. If the Nats can keep up this streak tomorrow, the Phils may just sweep this first 3-game series.
Roster Moves and Injury Updates
The Phillies also made a pitching move today, picking up Nelson Figueroa off waivers after the Mets let him go. He went 3-8 with a 4.09 ERA in 16 games last year for the Mets. Figueroa pitched for the Phils in 2001 and according to GM Ruben Amaro Jr., he will join the club tomorrow and a roster move will be made to make room. Look for Andrew Carpenter to be sent to AAA; Figueroa will take the long-man role in the pen.
In injury news, JC Romero is going to make a rehab appearance Thursday in Clearwater. Brad Lidge is not as far along, but he will toss a bullpen session tomorrow. Joe Blanton threw 60 pitches today from flat ground, which went well, but his recovery time is still projected to be about 3-6 weeks.
So tomorrow the Phillies will finish up in DC at 4:35pm with Kyle Kendrick starting in place of the injured Blanton. Then they are off to Houston for 3 games. There is no official word yet on who will start the Phillies Home Opener on the 12th, but if they follow the regular rotation, it looks like it will be Hamels.
Photo by Jenn
In the 3rd inning of today’s Phillies-Pirates match-up in Bradenton, FL, Placido Polanco tripped on the pitcher’s mound trying to catch a pop-up. He limped off the field and is said to have a right knee strain. Initial reports are that it is not serious and Polly should be back in action in 3 or 4 days. This is first real injury for the Phillies in camp thus far and we hope it is the last.
Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire
The other interesting news came from Buster Olney of ESPN this week; he claims that his “sources” had reported that the Phillies were talking about swapping 1st baseman with the Cardinals.
That’s right, in Olney’s alternate universe, Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols would trade places. Perhaps Olney’s “sources” were aliens from Mars? Or maybe it was just the little voices inside his head who yearn to see Olney locked up in a padded room?
The odds of this sort of swap happening are astronomical; it is not even a fair trade. No offense to Howard, but clearly Pujols is the better overall player. Yes, Howard is from St. Louis, but this is no reason for the Cards to think they would get him cheap. And the Phillies could never afford Pujols. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was so perturbed at the news, he flat out called Olney a liar. “It’s ridiculous,” Amaro said. “It’s unequivocally false. It’s unfair to Ryan. It’s unfair to the organization to have to answer the questions.”
Despite all the drama, the Phillies went on to win today by a score of 5-1. Roy Halladay gave up his first run of Spring and also walked two batters; all this means is we now have proof that the man is not a robot. I think we can all live with the 1.00 ERA.
While the starting pitching looks good, some of the relievers do not. JC Romero will not be ready for Opening Day so one of the young lefties will need to step up to fill the void. However, neither Antonio Bastardo, Sergio Escalona or Mike Zagurski have looked ready to do so thus far. Bastardo has allowed 3 runs over 2 innings of work; Escalona has 5 runs allowed in 3 innings; and Zagurski only made 1 appearance. He is still trying to get back in the groove after Tommy John surgery. One of these three lefties will need to show that they can do the job and right now, it does not look good.
Pet Peeve of The Week
So many MLB teams these days have radio and TV announcers that leave a lot to be desired. Realizing that Philly fans were spoiled for decades with the great Harry Kalas, it may be an unfair comparison. However, during the Phillies-Pirates match-up today, a Pirates announcer took “unprofessional” to a new level. Tim Neverett, hired in December 2008, does play-by-play for the Bucos. And today, he did not win any brownie points from Philly fans.
In the middle of the 4th inning, Neverett began praising the team’s mascot, the Pirate Parrot and mentioned how he was harassing Philly fans in the stands. He went on to say, “I think the Parrot likes this. There’s no better group of fans to tease than the Philadelphia fans…(pause)…Because there’s no worse fans. The same people who boo Santa Claus are now getting it from the Pirate Parrot.”
First of all, the Santa Claus incident was in 1968 at an Eagles football game. Get over it. Secondly, there are “no worse fans?” Seriously? Apparently, Mr. Neverett must be a world traveler who has first-hand knowledge of such things. While I am not going to waste time comparing Philly fans to experiences I have had elsewhere, I will say that such a general statement is both ignorant and rude.
A small segment of fans of ANY team are bound to be obnoxious and disruptive. That is human nature. You expect to hear this sort of prejudice from those obnoxious fans, not from the radio announcer who is being paid to be objective and professional. You want rude? Ok then, BOO YOU Mr. Neverett! You should be ashamed.
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Photos by Jenn