As Giants Land Big Bat, Manuel Makes His Desires Clear

As Giants Land Big Bat, Manuel Makes His Desires Clear

The buzz before the Phillies game this evening at Citizens Bank Park is the looming trade that will land the San Francisco Giants switch-hitter Carlos Beltran, one of the prized bats of the 2011 deadline season.

"I guess I don't have to talk about Beltran no more, do I?" Charlie Manuel said with a chuckle in the Phils dugout.

"He's been playing good. He can still play in the outfield. He's definitely going to help them. Not only with the bat, but he's going to help them because he knows how to play."

But can one player change the complexion of a race?

"Yeah, but like I said before, it depends on who that guy is. Sometimes you can make one adjustment to your lineup and it definitely makes it better -- without a doubt."

Whether the Phillies and Ruben Amaro Jr. are willing to pay a big price in prospects for a serious piece, perhaps a guy like Hunter Pence, remains to be seen.

But one thing is clear, Charlie Manuel wants to win now.

"From our organization, I think we look at it as 'forever.' I look at it as 'now.' I think every manager in baseball would feel that way," Manuel said. "I see more of a window with our pitching situation that we have here in Philadelphia, and our core players that we have aboard, I see a solid 2-3 year time to win -- a real good chance of always getting to the playoffs and a chance to win the World Series. It's kinda hard for me to look any further than that down the road."

I think Chuck's feelings are well known. Only time will tell what the trade market dictates and what Ruben believes.

As for tonight's game, scheduled starter Matt Cain (8-6, 3.06) will stay in his slot, with Tim Lincecum's ability to start on Thursday uncertain after being scratched last night. Cain will take on Cole Hamels (12-5, 2.62) who looks to become the first NL pitcher to reach 13 wins.

Tonight's Lineup: Rollins, Martinez, Utley, Howard, Victorino, Ibanez, Brown, Ruiz, and Hamels.

First pitch scheduled for 7:05. Keep an eye on those rumor mills.

Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday in Detroit

Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday in Detroit

NEW ORLEANS -- Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to co-exist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right Jones fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."

Flyers fans send amazing postcards to their beat writers

Flyers fans send amazing postcards to their beat writers

I like to give Flyers fans a bit of a hard time on occasion, but that's only because I love them.

One beautiful Flyers fan today reminded me of why I love them.

They took the time to send a postcard to CSNPhilly.com's Flyers Insider -- and hater of the woo -- Tim Panaccio with one single word written on it.

"Woo."

Panotch says "Someone wasted a stamp and post card on this," but I say we just generated at least 50 cents in ad revenue from those of you that are reading this right now.

Money and time well spent.

Now, if you're not up on your wooing, Panotch penned a piece on how some fans wooing at games started annoying some of the players. Panotch hates the woo. BUT... and this is an important but... the Flyers are 6-0 since this all started. 

Woo.