Can Howard return to form next year?
Michael Martinez, Pete Orr and Zach Miner were all outrighted but cleared waivers. (AP)
The Phillies on Thursday announced four players -- Michael Martinez, Pete Orr, Zach Miner and Mauricio Robles -- were released from the 40-man roster.
All four cleared waivers, meaning they remain property of the Phillies and could remain with the team -- unlike Tyler Cloyd and Raul Valdes, who were claimed by the Indians and Astros, respectively.
Martinez, 31, appeared in a career-low 29 games for the Phillies in 2013. Despite a career .300 average at Triple A, Mini-Mart has never been able to figure out major-league pitching and owns a lifetime .187 batting average across three seasons. Believe it or not, Martinez made the Phillies' postseason roster in 2011.
Orr, 34, has also spent parts of three seasons with the Phils and played in just 15 games this past year. He's batted .247 since joining the club in 2011.
Miner, 31, took Kyle Kendrick's rotation spot at the end of the year and struggled as a starter, but he actually saw some success out of the bullpen, with a 3.72 ERA, 14 strikeouts and 10 walks in 19.1 innings.
Robles, 24, pitched in exactly three games in September in his first major-league action. The left-hander had a 1.97 ERA across 51 relief appearances between Reading and Lehigh Valley this season.
Knapp to undergo Tommy John
Catching prospect Andrew Knapp will undergo Tommy John surgery on Friday, Baseball America reported.
The Phillies selected Knapp, 19, in the second round of this past June's draft. In 62 games for Low-A Williamsport, the switch-hitter batted .253 with 20 doubles, four homers and 23 RBIs.
The expected recovery time from the surgery for position players is six months.
Grapefruit League schedule announced
It's quite a ways away, but the Phillies' 2014 spring training schedule was announced Thursday.
The Grapefruit League kicks off Feb. 26 against the Toronto Blue Jays at Bright House Field in Clearwater. It concludes with a two-game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates from March 28-29 in the on-deck series at Citizens Bank Park.
Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on Feb. 13.