It's a gorgeous day in Clearwater, and the Phillies will host the New York Yankees in the opening day of their Grapefruit League schedule. Raul Ibanez has moved on to the Evil Empire, but we ain't mad at him. The image of Raul in that classic NY cap will be cleansed the moment we see Jim Thome stroll to the plate wearing bright red once again.
Both players are DH'ing in their respective new teams' starting lineups today, which you can see below, along with some Phils stories of note. The game starts at 1:05 and will be televised on Comcast Sportsnet in Philly.
The Phils will roll out the following lineup:
For the Yankees, we'll initially see:
(Note: Edited from first posting)
Raul photo courtesy Ryan Lawrence of the Delco Times, who also has some video. [@ryanlawrence21]
With the open of spring training comes a look at some positional battles, as well as some health watching with this particular Phillies team. Notable among the lineup's absentees are Chase Utley and Placido Polanco, who will miss both games this weekend. Per Jim Salisbury, Charlie Manuel says it might be a while before Chase plays, with an aim toward having him healthy and feeling good to start the season. Sully says Utley's on board with that plan, and also discusses the goals for Polanco, some of the bullpen jobs up for grabs this spring, and who else will pitch today after Cole turns in a likely two innings. We should get to see Jonathan Papelbon among them. [CSN Philly]
Todd Zolecki gives us a look at what Shane Victorino might be looking for in a long-term agreement to stay with the club. Shane wants to stay in Philly and might be willing to give a hometown discount, but he's also looking for a 5-year deal. His agents will talk to the Phillies during spring training with hopes of getting something done before the final season of his current contract begins. Zo puts in some good work on looking at where Shane ranks among his peers in certain areas, as well as what the comps might be. What do you think is reasonable for retaining Victorino? [MLB.com Phillies]
Gotta appreciate the way Philly.com's sports tweeter teased this one today: "Phillies pitcher Mike Stutes gets a valuable lesson from his parents' home movies. Seriously. @magelb has more." [Philly.com]
Spring training baseball on your TV… Doesn't get a whole lot better than that in early March. Sweeping shots of bright green fields interrupted by brighter red jerseys with a backdrop of palm trees being pulled in one direction or the other by the Clearwater wind—aw hell. I'm rambling like Sam Waterston in Lebowski...