Results tagged ‘ Wilson Valdez ’
With pain in his right shoulder, closer Brad Lidge will start the 2011 season on the disabled list. With Lidge’s long history of injuries, this new issue should be a huge red light to the Phillies that Lidge’s time is close to being over.
Lidge was especially concerned with this new injury saying, “I haven’t had shoulder problems in the past.” Although, Lidge has had surgery on both knees multiple times, elbow surgery, an oblique strain, a strained intercostal muscle and bicep tendinitis, just to name a few.
Still, Lidge entered spring training boasting that he was healthy and felt great. Exactly when that may have changed is hard to tell. Lidge is an eternal optimist so what he says should maybe be taken with a grain of salt.
Here is a little help for those who cannot always decipher what Lidge is talking about.
The Brad Lidge Translator
Lidge Says: I feel great.
Lidge Means: The pain is unbearable!
Lidge Says: I am not concerned.
Lidge Means: I am totally freaking out here!
Lidge Says: No need to panic.
Lidge Means: Red alert, red alert…PANIC!!!
Lidge Says: It is a setback.
Lidge Means: This is the END of my career!
Lidge Says: This is disappointing.
Lidge Means: I am going to crawl into a hole with a vat of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and eat and cry until I vomit.
With Lidge out of the picture, closing duties will fall either to Ryan Madson or Jose Contreras. While it is good to know the Phillies have options, this does create major issues in the bullpen. The Phillies failed to re-sign Chad Durbin, which may come back to haunt them as they now have to rely on less experienced arms in the middle innings.
The Lidge injury is magnified when you think about the loss of Chase Utley, Domonic Brown and questions still lingering about Placido Polanco’s elbow.
So, should Phillies fans be worried? The short answer is, not yet.
The team seems to have back-up for Utley. Luis Castillo finally got a hit today and also walked twice while showing solid defense in the field. Wilson Valdez continues to impress as well.
As for Brown, Ben Francisco is doing well in what may have been Brown’s spot in the outfield. John Mayberry Jr. is also capable and the two may wind up rotating in right field.
Another good sign is that Polanco did play today in the 3-1 victory over the Braves. Polly looked a bit tentative and was sore after the game, but he expects to play again on Sunday. Or perhaps, much like Lidge, I am being a tad too optimistic about all this? I hope not.
Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
Hearts stopped all over Phillies nation today as pitcher Roy Oswalt fell to the ground after appearing to get hit in the head with a line drive. Always cool under pressure, Oswalt adjusted his cap as he lay on the ground awaiting assistance.
Oswalt walked off the field as if nothing happened but was taken to the hospital as a precaution. Both X-Rays and CAT-Scans were negative.
As it turns out, the ball just barely missed a potentially dangerous area and hit just below the right ear, leaving him with a neck contusion. Had Manny Ramirez hit the ball any harder though, it may have been a lot worse.
The good news is that Oswalt’s head is apparently made of bricks.
The really good news is that he should be fine and is expected to make his next scheduled start. Whew!
So while Oswalt had a near miss in the 4-1 loss to the Rays, Luis Castillo had a total miss. In his first appearance as a Phillie, Castillo went 0-4 at the plate while grounding out twice, lining out and hitting a soft pop-up. He also left four men on base.
One can only assume that the strikeout for Castillo will come in tomorrow’s game as he finishes up demonstrating all the different ways to make an out.
Just to recap, Castillo was given a second chance by the Phillies after being tossed out like the trash by the Mets. He then proceeds to show up two days late to camp with lame excuses. When finally put into a game, Castillo showed the Phillies nothing. Basically, he sucked.
There are only seven games to go for Castillo to show he is better than Wilson Valdez, who should get the job in place of Chase Utley as he has earned it. But alas, the charade will go on as games continue.
Then again, at the rate injuries have come this spring for the Phillies, maybe they should just sit all the roster players and let the minor leaguers play the final spring games.
The regulars should be instructed to cover themselves in bubble wrap and avoid all sharp objects or anything moving at rate faster than 0.5 MPH.
Pretty much, contact should be limited only to turtles who have had their claws clipped and jaws muzzled.
Although, that sounds a bit cruel to the turtles so, let’s make it goldfish. Yeah, goldfish are pretty harmless, right? Wait…both turtles and goldfish can carry Salmonella, which can infect humans! Damn it! No one is safe!
And that is your animal science lesson for the day. Now, back to the bubble wrap…
Those who were hoping for an Opening Day miracle in the form of a healthy Chase Utley are going to be sorely disappointed. The signing of veteran second baseman, Luis Castillo, to a minor league deal means that Utley may be down for a long time.
This move seems like the Phillies are taking out the Mets trash in the hope of turning it into treasure. But Castillo was just released from the Mets for poor performance and a poor attitude. The move cost the Mets $6 million to eat Castillo’s contract. With that in mind, they must have wanted him gone very badly.
Once upon a time, Castillo was a very good player. But this 35-year old is coming off a season where he hit only .235 with 17 RBI and played just 86 games due to injuries.
And guess what body part gives Castillo the most issues? His legs, more specifically knees, ankles and feet, have been trouble for Castillo for many years now. So the Phillies are trying to replace a second baseman with a bad knee with another second baseman with a bad knee?
There are at least four guys already in camp with the Phillies who can replace Utley temporarily. This includes Wilson Valdez, Michael Martinez, Josh Barfield and Pete Orr. All have hit well, especially Valdez who is batting .419 in 43 at-bats.
But the Castillo contract is low-risk as the Phillies have to pay him less only $414,000 if he makes the 25-man roster. However, can they accurately assess Castillo’s play with only nine games to go?
This move stinks of desperation from a team that has maxed out its payroll. And it also does not bode well for the present or future of Utley.
Clearly, the knee issue is much worse than anticipated. And the fact that surgery has not been done yet is an even bigger red flag. If the Phillies are so worried that surgery could make matters worse, then Utley’s future, even beyond 2011, is a huge question mark too.
Hang on, Phillies fans. This is going to be a very long and very strange trip through the 2011 season.
Photo by Eric Kilby, Wikimedia Commons
The list right now has 12 pitchers, although the Phillies could add David Herndon and go with 13. Kyle Kendrick has not had a good spring, but the Phils are paying him too much to send him back to AAA. It could happen, as Herndon has been pretty good, but it is unlikely.
What is more probable is that the Phillies will choose to carry an extra infielder or utility player because of the Chase Utley situation. Odds are very good that Utley will start the season on the disabled list with Wilson Valdez filling in at second base. However, this still leaves an extra roster spot open.
The list above includes Michael Martinez, who has played well enough to earn a spot and he plays multiple positions. Plus, Martinez is a Rule 5 player. If the Phillies do not put him on the roster, they have to offer him back to the Nationals. With the way Martinez has played, the Nationals would probably take him back.
That leaves one bench spot for either Pete Orr, Josh Barfield or Delwyn Young. Barfield has been very good at the plate, hitting .355 with three doubles and a triple. He is also speedy, which is a plus.
But Barfield’s main weakness appears to be defense. While he has not committed any “official” errors, Barfield has fumbled the ball more than once. In Saturday’s match-up with the Orioles, Barfield dropped an easy double play ball, did not get any outs and left Cole Hamels hanging. Hamels was having a rough day to begin with, so this did not help.
As for Orr, he is experienced and can play second, third and a little outfield. Orr is batting .343 with three doubles and three triples this spring. Orr also strikes out less than Barfield and Young, but his fielding is average.
That leaves Young, who is intriguing because he can play almost anywhere. However, his fielding is not very good. A lifetime .258 hitter, Young is batting .298 with one home run, seven RBI and two doubles this spring. He is probably the least likely to make the team.
However, there are still nine games left in Florida and two exhibition games in Philadelphia before the season begins. Each player still has time to make a big push towards earning a roster spot.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Earlier today, the Phillies finally got the deal done with manager Charlie Manuel. The two-year extension will take him through the 2013 season.
In a press conference, Manuel expressed his desire to stay with the Phillies until he leaves baseball. Manuel discussed other teams he has worked with and then stated, “I’m a Phillie. If I cut my arm it’s going to be red blood, not blue.”
Well, unless Charlie is a horseshoe crab or an octopus, I am pretty sure he bleeds red. But seriously, it is great to have a guarantee for Charlie before the season starts.
During Manuel’s time in Philly, the team has the best record in the National League. Manuel has won 544 games with the Phillies plus four division titles, one league title and , of course, the 2008 World Series Championship.
Spring Training Update
The Phillies are plugging along through spring training despite losing both Chase Utley and Domonic Brown to injuries. Utley is still out indefinitely. Brown had successfully surgery to remove the hamate bone in his hand and is expected to play again in four to six weeks.
Today, Roy Halladay pitched six scoreless innings against the Yankees, allowing only four hits. Halladay was sharp and used his curve ball more than usual in preparation for the season.
While winning by a score of 7-0, the Phillies saw contributions from several lesser-known players. One of those players, Josh Barfield, went 2 for 3, including a triple today. He is hitting .538 in 13 at-bats so far this spring. Barfield is a second baseman who spent parts of four seasons in the majors with the Indians and Padres. He hit .294 with 36 RBI last year in the Indians AAA club.
Barfield has been impressive, which may be of great importance now that Utley’s future is uncertain. Wilson Valdez is an option as well, but it could not hurt to have an extra infielder right now.
Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
Those already panicking over Chase Utley’s knee problems were given more fuel to add to the fire today. The Phillies announced that not only does Utley have patellar tendinitis, he also has chondromalacia and bone inflammation.
Utley has had both patellar tendinitis and chondromalacia in the past. So the recurrence of these issues plus the fact that the cortisone injection did nothing is very, very bad news. In a fantasybaseball.com article, a former athletic trainer states, “…inflammation of the bone, which generally means that the cartilage has completely worn away in spots and Utley’s knee now has portions where bone is rubbing directly on bone.”
Because both rest and cortisone have not helped, the outlook for recovery is grim. The Phillies plan to exhaust all non-surgical options, but those options may be slim.
And if Utley had these symptoms right at the start of spring training, that raises some questions. Did Utley have the same symptoms during his offseason workouts? And if so, why did he not seek help earlier? He could have had surgery in the offseason and saved months of possible playing time.
And now that the Phillies are trying to avoid surgery, that may just be postponing the inevitable. This is also wasting more time if he does eventually need surgery.
According to multiple medical sites and patient testimonies, the rest time needed for non-surgical recovery from chondromalacia, also known as “runners knee,” is listed as “months,” not weeks. If rest will take months to help, why not just do the surgery and get it over with?
This is obviously a frustrating scenario all around. If Utley is going to be out for an extended period of time, the Phillies need to know as soon as possible. Either they will hand the job to Wilson Valdez or they need to look elsewhere for help.
Either way, it is bad news for the Phillies.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Hope springs eternal for all 30 MLB teams this time of year. Spring is a time of rebirth, renewal and new beginnings. At the first crack of the bat, anything is possible.
For the Phillies, 2011 could be all that and more. The potential of this team is unlimited. But potential does not guarantee success, as execution and a little bit of luck will play a major role in the outcome.
However, the Phillies do have plenty of reasons to be hopeful. Here are five good omens for the Phillies as they begin spring training.
If you have not heard all about the Phillies starting rotation, you are probably living in a cave. The media frenzy in Clearwater, Florida is in full swing but luckily, the players are not buying all the hype.
In a press conference on Monday, all five starters, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton, looked very relaxed. They were so laid back that if one of them had dozed off, it would not have been surprising.
And it would be hard to blame any of these guys for taking a cat nap while reporters asked Lee all the same questions he has been answering repeatedly since signing in December. It became so redundant that a media member actually asked him if he liked the food in Philadelphia. Lee responded with, “I like Philly cheese steaks, but that had nothing to do with me coming back to Philadelphia.”
The fact that none of these pitchers take the attention too seriously is a very good omen for the Phillies. This rotation understands what it takes to win and how to avoid distractions, like ridiculous questions from baseball-starved reporters.
Their nonchalance in the face of all the hype is even more impressive when you add in the overwhelming talent and potential of this group which includes three Cy Young awards, 13 All-Star selections and three postseason MVP awards.
In short, things look very good for the 2011 Phillies pitching staff.
Jimmy Rollins Becomes An Early Bird
Known almost as much for his consistent lateness as his batting average, Jimmy Rollins has never been a timely guy. He is normally the last player to report to camp every year. But for the first time in his Phillies career, Rollins arrived early.
Not only did Rollins show up a full week early but he arrived in excellent physical condition as a result of a more disciplined off-season routine. At 32-years of age and entering a contract year, Rollins obviously realizes the importance of the 2011 season.
It is important for Rollins as an individual and also for the team as a whole. After a very bad, injury plagued 2010, J-Roll needs to get back to being the engine that makes this Phillies offense go.
Arriving early to camp is a good sign that he is ready to do just that.
Brad Lidge Is Healthy
In his first year with the Phillies in 2008, Brad Lidge threw just one pitch off the mound in Spring Training and just like that, he tore the meniscus in his right knee. Lidge recovered well from surgery and went on to pitch the best season of his career and help the Phillies win a World Championship.
But in 2009, Lidge had a complete reversal of fortune. By the end of June, Lidge had blown six saves and landed on the disabled list again with a sprained right knee. Lidge finished the year with season with an 0-8 record, an ERA of 7.21 and he converted 31 saves in 42 opportunities.
Lidge then spent most of the first half of 2010 on the DL after elbow surgery. And although he finished the season much improved from 2009, questions about his healthy still lingered.
This year, Lidge reported to camp healthy and raring to go. When asked about the upcoming 2011 season, Lidge responded, ” Fans should be pumped up. I know I am.”
And if Lidge can channel his 2008 form while avoiding injury, the Phillies will have the anchor they need at the end of the bullpen to help propel them to another post-season.
Versatility And Depth
The Phillies have a handful of players in camp that they feel can fill multiple roles. Last year, Wilson Valdez was a lifesaver filling in for injured players and short stop, second base and third base.
This spring, the Phillies have decided to try him out in centerfield as well, in case Shane Victorino goes down. With Jayson Werth off to the Nationals, options in center are slim and Valdez has a rocket for an arm.
John Mayberry Jr. is another player who could fill other roles. Normally an outfielder, Mayberry played first base in college and will see time there this spring to add to his versatility.
Delwyn Young, a non-roster invitee, might be another possibility. He has played infield and outfield, although the odds of him making the team are not very good.
Still, the fact that the Phillies have a number of viable options for their bench is a good thing. And their willingness to experiment, moving players around, means they have confidence in this group they have assembled.
Competition In Right Field
Competition is good. It breeds motivation. Players like Domonic Brown, Ben Francisco, John Mayberry Jr. and Ross Gload have plenty of motivation since the departure of Jayson Werth.
The huge, gaping hole in right field is theirs for the taking. It will be a matter of whoever plays the best wins. The starting spot could go to one player or maybe two in a platoon situation.
Brown is especially anxious to show what he is made of. After a less than inspiring major league stint at the end of 2010 and then a bad showing in the Dominican Winter League which he left early, Brown has something to prove.
Only three days after leaving the Dominican Winter League, Brown went straight to Clearwater to work on his swing. With the help of hitting coach Greg Gross, Brown found the flaw in his swing and has spent the last two months fixing it.
There is nothing like a little competition to bring out the best in a ball player. Each of the right field-hopefuls have their work cut out for them.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
I normally do not have this video done before Christmas, but it is amazing how much extra time that the lack of a World Series provides ;o) For those who have missed it previous years, at the end of every season, I pick out my favorite Phillies photos from that year and put them into a video slideshow. These photos were all taken by me and my giant zoom lens, from the stands, at both home and away games throughout the season.
In the 2010 season, I attended 27 games and 7 Phillies-related special events, like the Phestival and the Phillies Cruise. Yes, it was down year for me due to a lack of funds ;o) Going through the digital files on my computer, I calculate that I shot more than 18,000 photos at Phillies games this year. If you add in the special events, the total is over 25,000. Of those, I picked out and published around 5,000. The slideshow contains the best of the game shots for a total of 257 photos.
I am eternally grateful for the invention of the digital camera. Remember the days when we had to use film? That was one expensive habit. Well, here it is…enjoy!
Thank you for stopping by!
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies announced today who will be on the 25-man roster for the NLDS and there are really no surprises. Those notable players who did not make it include Kyle Kendrick, Danys Baez and David Herndon. Here is the breakdown:
Going with 10 pitchers instead of 11 allows the Phillies to add more fire power to the bench. They expect the 3 starters to go deep into games so extra long men in the pen will likely not be necessary. Blanton will fill the role if needed.
As for Ruiz and Romero, manager Charlie Manuel says both players are fine and ready to play after suffering minor injuries on Sunday.
If you are going to the game tomorrow, here is the information about pre-game festivities and other highlights:
2:00 p.m. – Phillies Postseason Party begins on Citizens Bank Way. Features music by Mr. Greengenes; Highlights include an inflatable obstacle course for children, face painters, an extreme rock wall climb and a Velcro race.
Ashburn Alley opens.
All gates open. Rally towels for all fans, compliments of StubHub.
3:30 p.m. – Phillies Postseason Rally on Citizens Bank Way! Special guests include former Phillies Scott Eyre and Greg “The Bull” Luzinski, Comcast SportsNet analyst Ricky Bottalico, the Phillie Phanatic and Phillies Ballgirls. Music provided by Mr. Greengenes; Scott Palmer, Phillies Director of Public Affairs, will emcee.
4:40 p.m. – On-field pre-game ceremony begins.
4:44 p.m. – Introduction of Cincinnati Reds.
4:48 p.m. – Introduction of Philadelphia Phillies.
4:54 p.m. - National Anthem: Sung by country singer Catherine Raney, niece of Tim McGraw, who will be representing the Tug McGraw Foundation.
4:56 p.m. - Color Guard introduced.
4:58 p.m. – Ceremonial First Pitch: Phillies alumnus Scott Eyre.
5:07 p.m. - Play ball! Phillies vs. Reds game begins.
5th Inning – “Lady PhaPha” makes her postseason debut.
7th Inning – God Bless America: Sung by national recording artist Lauren Hart, a Philadelphia native whose songs have been heard on television series and soap operas.
See you there!
The Phillies ended the 2010 regular season today with the best record in baseball for the first time in franchise history. Their 97-65 record is even more impressive when all of the injuries they suffered this year are added to the equation. Unfortunately, the injuries do not appear to be behind them yet.
In the 8-7 loss to the Braves today, catcher Carlos Ruiz was plunked on the elbow by a Tim Hudson pitch. He appeared to be in a great deal of pain and eventually, he left the game. There has been no word yet about how serious it may be.
Another potential huge loss heading into the playoffs may be JC Romero. After throwing a pitch in the 6th inning, Romero signed to the coaches that he was hurt. Reports are that he is suffering from left lower back soreness. If he cannot play, it looks like lefty Antonio Bastardo will be a lock for the postseason roster. Having only one lefty in the pen may not be a great idea, but the Phils may have no choice.
The only real highlights early in today’s game were 2-run homers by both John Mayberry Jr. and Jayson Werth. Also, Cole Hamels pitched very well for 2 innings in his postseason warm-up. Everyone else had issues getting desperate Braves hitters out. Even Roy Oswalt gave up a run in one inning of work. Joe Blanton allowed 2 runs and the big damage was done by Danys Baez. Baez allowed 4 runs in only 2/3 of an inning, likely cementing his new roll as a cheerleader instead of a spot on the postseason roster.
But as the Phillies are known to do late in games, the offense started cooking again in the 8th inning. With 2 outs, Jimmy Rollins singled and Mike Sweeney reached base on a Braves error. Wilson Valdez hit an RBI single and Ben Francisco doubled in 2 more runs. The game got a lot closer, with the Phillies trailing by a score of 8-7. But in the 9th, they were unable to score and the Braves went on to win.
While the Braves won, their playoff hopes are still in the hands of the Padres, who are playing the Giants right now. They will know more in a few hours.
In the meantime, congratulations to the Phillies, officially the BEST team in baseball right now!
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography