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March 13 2007

Going into spring training, I saw the Phillies as having 11 hitters that seemed sure to make the team.  Here's who they are and what they've done this spring:


Player AB A/O/S
1 Ryan Howard 22 318/448/682
2 Chase Utley 27 333/400/593
3 Jimmy Rollins 21 238/448/286
4 Pat Burrell 19 263/391/579
5 Aaron Rowand 29 138/133/172
6 Shane Victorino 29 448/500/517
7 Jayson Werth 21 286/423/286
8 Abraham Nunez 21 286/464/429
9 Wes Helms 27 407/407/667
10 Rod Barajas 13 308/357/462
11 Carlos Ruiz 17 294/333/471

I think everyone on that list still likely has a spot.  Werth might have caused a bit of worry early on, but he has bounced back nicely and the team had to expect him to have some rust.  Abraham Nunez has hit well this spring, but even if he hadn't he would have gotten a boost given that the team thinks he can play short and doesn't have many other options to backup Rollins.  Rowand is obviously going to make the team if he's not traded, but you might want to start to worry about him a little coming off of the injury.

If you assume those 11 guys keep their spot, the rest of the guys are battling for what are likely two spots, or three if the Phillies went with just 11 pitchers.  It seems unlikely the Phils would go with 11 pitchers given the mess that is their bullpen.

These are the guys I considered to have the best chance to make the squad at the start of camp, with some notes about each:

Chris Coste

4-for-16 with two doubles.  He's hitting 250/333/375 and has seen time at first base and catcher.

Karim Garcia 9-for-27 with three doubles.  He's hitting 333/333/444.  No walks in 27 at-bats.
Greg Dobbs 12-for-30 with three home runs and nine RBI.  He's hitting 400/472/800 and leads the team in homers, RBI and total bases.
Chris Roberson 0-for-10 with three strikeouts and has been reassigned to minor league camp.
Danny Sandoval Hitting .188 and has made three errors.
Michael Bourn 10-for-29 with a double and a triple.  He's stolen four bases, which leads the team.  345/355/448.
Randall Simon Hitting .211 with one extra-base hit in 19 AB.

Of that group it looked at the start of spring training that the most likely scenario was that Coste, Dobbs and Garcia were battling for two spots.  Simon, Sandoval and Roberson look like they have close to no chance at this point.  Michael Bourn has had a very good spring - I still don't think he has much of a shot to make the opening day roster but I expect we'll see more of him in '07 than we did in '06.

It's hard to know how to interpret the lack of at-bats that Coste has gotten.  I still think it's likely he makes the team.  Even with the tremendous show that Dobbs has put on to date I still think it's hard to know what happens between Garcia and Dobbs.  Dobbs' numbers in the chances he's gotten at the major league level so far have been miserable.  I still believe all three of those guys are in the running to make the team and think Coste may have a slightly better chance than Dobbs or Garcia.  The Phillies could also choose to go with 14 hitters and keep all three, but unless there's a major move to add proven relievers I think it's unlikely.

The Phillies reassigned many players to their minor league camp yesterday, most notably Roberson, Brian Mazone and Anderson Garcia.

Tom Gordon will visit a doctor today.  Nothing to see here.  Really.  Probably a good sign.  Hopefully all of the players see a doctor.  You see a doctor, don't you?  Didn't stop you from pitching, did it?  Maybe they can give him vitamins or something.  But not for his shoulder.  His shoulder is fine.  I'm sure it's nothing to worry about.  Brandon Webb probably saw a doctor last year and he won the Cy Young.  Maybe it's like that.

The Phillies have big problems in the bullpen even when Gordon is healthy.

Aaron Rowand talks about his cousin, Devil Rays pitcher James Shields, in this article.

The Phillies and Astros played to a 6-6 tie yesterday in a game that was called after ten innings.  It was apparently feel-good-about-your-reliever day at the yard.

Utley hit a three-run homer.  Rollins was 1-for-1 with three walks.  Burrell 1-for-2 with a double and two walks.

Coste and Garcia were both 0-for-1.  Dobbs was 0-for-3.  Bourn was 1-for-4 with a stolen base and two RBI.

JA Happ got the start and did not have a good day.  He didn't get out of the third inning and was charged with six runs on six hits and three walks.  Happ held Houston to a single run through his first two innings.  In the third, the first five men reached on three singles,
a walk and a double.  Geoff Geary entered the game for the Phils down 5-0 in the third with nobody out and a runner on second.  He allowed an RBI-single before he got out of the inning, extending the Houston lead to 6-0.  Geary returned to throw a scoreless fourth.

Matt Smith followed Geary and was tremendous after getting bombed by Boston.  He went two scoreless innings, striking out four while allowing one single.  Ryan Madson struck out the side in the seventh.  Yoel Hernandez pitched a scoreless eighth.  Joe Bisenius pitched the ninth, shutting down the Astros 1-2-3 and striking out two.

Jim Ed Warden pitched the tenth, allowing a walk but keeping Houston off the board.

The six pitchers that followed Happ went eight scoreless innings, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out nine.

Brett Myers allowed a hit, a walk and an unearned run in three innings in a minor league game yesterday.

Devil Dogs today.

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