FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Phillies played against the Red Sox here Saturday night (see story), but it was a busy day back in Clearwater for the players who did not make the trip.
Most notable, reliever Mike Adams cranked up his rehab from shoulder surgery and threw to hitters for the first time.
“It went great,” Adams said. “That was probably the best I’ve thrown to this day. It was a huge confidence-booster, not only for how I felt but for the way everything was coming out of my hand and the way I was locating. My next one can’t come fast enough.”
Manager Ryne Sandberg watched Adams throw.
“He looked very good,” Sandberg said. “I was very impressed. I liked his stuff and his velocity, and his location and command was very, very good. He looked close to game-ready.”
Adams is tentatively scheduled to throw in a game Wednesday.
There was one casualty during Adams’ workout. Sandberg got too close to the batting cage and was dinged above the right eye by a foul ball. He was sporting a small cut, but did not need stitches.
“Just a little slice,” he said with a laugh.
Ryan Howard and Cody Asche got extra work in a minor-league game.
“They both got eight or 10 at-bats, and Asche played five innings on defense,” Sandberg said.
It’s not unusual for players to load up on at-bats in minor-league games at this time of the spring. Howard is working on several adjustments at the plate (see story).
The fifth starter
Fifth starter candidate Sean O’Sullivan starts Sunday against the Pirates in Clearwater. The Phillies won’t need a fifth starter until April 14. O’Sullivan, Jeff Manship and David Buchanan are all possibilities. Manship and Buchanan will both start Thursday as the Phillies play split-squad games against the Blue Jays and Astros.
Right-hander Jonathan Pettibone could still emerge as a candidate for the fifth spot. Slowed by a sore shoulder early in camp, Pettibone could see game action next week and should have enough time to be ready for work in mid-April if all goes well.
“He could be real close to April 13 or 14,” Sandberg said.
Red Sox model
The Red Sox went from a last-place, 69-loss season in 2012 to 97 wins and the World Series title in 2013.
Teams like the Phillies, who are trying to bounce back from their first losing season in a decade, have taken notice.
“It’s inspiring,” Sandberg said. “The quick turnaround that they had. In recent years it’s been the case with some different teams and it can happen that quickly with new faces, with guys having good years, with some guys having surprise years, and then getting on a roll to get the magical games and the magical wins, the luck games, whatever you want to call it that goes into those types of seasons.
"So that’s why a season like they had, from a fan’s standpoint or a baseball guy, I think it makes a lot of teams optimistic, including ourselves.”