Phillies Finalize Opening Day Roster, We Ponder The Lineup

Phillies Finalize Opening Day Roster, We Ponder The Lineup

After dropping their final exhibition tuneup
to the Pirates, 4-1, Ruben Amaro Jr., Assistant GM Scott Proefrock,
Charlie Manuel, and the rest of the Phillies brain trust went to work on
finalizing the Opening Day roster. They actually got things started
earlier in the day when they released Luis Castillo (who had a
Tartabullian short stay in Phillies red).

Having released Castillo, there weren't a whole lot of difficult
decisions left to make. With Chase Utley out for the foreseeable future
and Placido Polanco nursing his elbow, the only real roster drama
revolved around which reserve players, capable of playing multiple
infield positions, would make the squad.

The way things shook out there were three guys (Pete Orr, Michael
Martinez, and Delwyn Young) competing for two spots. Once Castillo was
released, word leaked that Martinez would be the beneficiary, which left
Orr and Young competing for the final spot.

Ultimately, Orr's experience playing third (48 career games at the hot corner as compared to just 8 for Young) won out.

The final Opening Day roster breaks down as follows:

Starting Pitchers
Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton.

Bullpen
Jose Contreras, Ryan Madson, Danys Baez, David Herndon, Kyle Kendrick, J.C. Romero, Antonio Bastardo.

Catchers

Carlos Ruiz, Brian Schneider.

Infielders
Ryan Howard, Wilson Valdez, Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco, Michael Martinez, Pete Orr.

Outfielders
Ben Francisco, Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez, John Mayberry Jr., Ross Gload.

As CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury
points out, there's a lot of flexibility in the roster. Both Mayberry
and Gload can play first and a corner outfield spot. Valdez, Orr, and
Martinez can play all over the infield, with Orr and Martinez providing
additional outfield depth.

Weather permitting, I'd imagine you'll see the following lineup for the opener on Friday.

1) Shane Victorino (CF)

2) Placido Polanco (3B)

3) Jimmy Rollins (SS)

4) Ryan Howard (1B)

5) Raul Ibanez (LF)

6) Ben Francisco (RF)

7) Carlos Ruiz (C)

8) Wilson Valdez (2B)

9) Roy Halladay (P)

Is there anything you would change? Perhaps flipping Francisco and
Rauuuulllll? As it stands your lineup 1-8 goes switch hitter, right,
switch, left, left, right, right, right.

Righthanded bats off the bench: Mayberry

Lefthanded bats off the bench: Gload, Schneider, and Orr

Switch hitters off the bench: Martinez

Obviously there were no surprises with the starting rotation.
Bullpen-wise, with Lidge out, Charlie has said he'll give Contreras the
first crack at closing. Madson will take the eigth. If for some crazy
reason they need a reliever in the seventh they can mix and match with
lefties J.C. Romero and Antonio Bastardo and righties Danys Baez and
David Herndon. Kendrick is your long guy out of the pen.

So, there it is. The Opening Day roster for the most heavily anticipated regular season in franchise history.

Thoughts?

Eagles-Steelers inactives: Mychal Kendricks active

Eagles-Steelers inactives: Mychal Kendricks active

Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who entered the weekend listed as questionable, is active for the team’s game against the Steelers on Sunday afternoon.

Kendricks suffered a broken nose and a quad contusion in last week’s game against the Bears in Chicago. After missing practice for a couple days, he returned in full on Friday and was expected to be ready to go.

In past years, Kendricks would have likely been listed as probable, but the NFL confusingly did away with its “probable” label on injury reports this season.

As for the players who aren’t playing on Sunday, there aren’t any surprises. Zach Ertz (ribs), Leodis McKelvin (hamstring) and Isaac Seumalo (pec) were all ruled out earlier in the week and are inactive.

Brent Celek will start at tight end for Ertz and Ron Brooks will start at corner for McKelvin. Expect rookie Jalen Mills to be on the field as the outside corner in the nickel package.

Joining them on the list of inactives are WR Bryce Treggs, OL Dillon Gordon, OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai and OL Josh Andrews.

If you’re wondering about Treggs, the receiver the Eagles claimed off waivers from the 49ers and last cuts, it seems like the team isn’t ready to activate him just yet. Here’s what Pederson said on Friday about Treggs and the possibility of activating him:

“Yeah, it’s tough to keep the five receivers up based on what you need, defense, special teams and all that,” Pederson said. “He’s shown flashes of his speed in practice and doing a nice job there. And with him too, much like DGB, it’s how well he can process and how well he knows the system in order for him to, one, be active and, two, get a chance to play.”

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Provorov, Schenn shine in Flyers' last scrimmage before preseason

Provorov, Schenn shine in Flyers' last scrimmage before preseason

VOORHEES, N.J. – Five games.

That’s what the Flyers are facing this coming week, which is why coach Dave Hakstol had his players involved in a full scrimmage Sunday morning at Skate Zone.

“I like it better than practicing,” offered Michael Raffl. “A little more action. A little physical and it gets you in game shape. I enjoyed it.”

The Flyers have two split-squad games on Monday – one in New Jersey against the Devils and other in Brookyln against the Islanders.

The scrimmage was up-tempo. So much so, Raffl and defenseman Will O’Neill were involved in a dangerous collision in the left corner that could have been disastrous with both players getting up slowly, but uninjured, on a puck chase.

“I don’t know, I was coming in hard,” Raffl said. “At first, I thought about playing the body and then I didn’t want to. So I was mixed in-between trying to slow down and there was a lot of contact as I fell into the boards. I felt fine afterwards.”

Raffl hit his neck awkwardly and was lucky to be uninjured. O’Neill took the hit.

“I went into the wall and knew he was coming and tried to be strong on my feet,” said O’Neill, a free agent signed over the summer. “Contact play in a bad area. Tough part of the ice.”

Hakstol held his breath there.

“It could have turned out differently,” he said. “It was kinda awkward play. You’re always happy to see him pop up and come out for another shift right after that.”

Raffl’s gray team won the scrimmage, 2-1, with rookie defenseman Ivan Provorov setting up a play that resulted in Brayden Schenn’s game-winning goal from Wayne Simmonds.

“Good tempo, competitiveness … kind like the first few days where tempo and work levels were good,” Hakstol said of the scrimmage. “It tends to be a little scrambly in those first scrimmages.”

Jordan Weal centered the top line with Schenn on the left. Hakstol has Schenn on the left right now to get him used to playing there again. Once Claude Giroux returns from the World Cup of Hockey, the top line of Schenn-Giroux-Simmonds will be reunited.

“I made the play up there to Simmer and a nice pass by Provy to me and then Simmer back door to Schenn,” Weal said of the game-winning goal. “It felt good ... I’ve played just one game in nine months.

“I’m just trying to get a feel for being on the right side of pucks. It’s not going to come in the first game.”

Weal was impressed with Provorov.

“He’s a really good player,” he said. “You can see it in his skating, his passing. He’s got a lot of confidence. He tore up the WHL and that’s a great league. It’s going to be exciting to see him moving forward.”

Hakstol rated Provorov as “solid and efficient” in the scrimmage.

Loose pucks
Steve Mason worked with Carter Hart in goal … Alex Lyon and Anthony Stolarz worked for the black team. Mason didn’t give up a goal. “We have eight exhibitions on the schedule and I will get into three or four of those,” he said. “By the time those wrap up, I’ll be where I want to be. Right now, I am feeling great which is a good start.” … Hakstol said Mason won’t play on Monday … Rookie forward Travis Konecny sat the scrimmage out (maintenance day). He said he was given a day off, but Konecny was receiving treatment by the medical staff on Saturday. “I see the trainer every day, I’m fine,” he said. Konecny should play in one of the split-squad games on Monday … Greg Carey had the other goal for the gray squad; Nicolas Aube-Kubel had the lone goal for the black squad … The defense rotated for both teams. Provorov was with Philippe Myers much of the game … Jakub Voracek practiced on his own. He won’t see action in the first three games and neither will Shayne Gostisbehere because of the World Cup, Hakstol said ... The scrimmage consisted of  two, 25-minute periods with a running clock. Sounds like the Public League, no?