The Morning Extras: Why We Going There?

The Morning Extras: Why We Going There?

We weren't surprised by the negative tone taken on Shawn Andrews, but it's pretty sad that people don't respect the fact that he has an illness. Just remember, you're not only being insensitive to a football player, but anybody who has or is close to somebody with clinical depression. It's hard for us to understand how a person making millions for playing a game could be unhappy while many our battling their own problems, but it's a reality. And if you think he was faking, I have to ask why? It would be a most unnecessary and elaborate scheme, because if he wanted to quit, that's all he had to do.

Not to mention it was his back that has kept him off the field the last two seasons.

LINKS

7. Looks almost certain Mike Bell will be allowed to sign with the Eagles. The Saints brought in Justin Fargas for a visit. [WWLTV]

6. Joe Montana claims Brett Favre doesn't plan to retire, but instead wants to use the possibility as an excuse to skip training camp. He's probably right. On one hand, it's hard to respect that, but when you watch what he does on the football field, who cares? [PFT]

5. Dan Levy asks where Nationals prospect Stephen Strasburg will start the season. If they have any shot at fielding a good team, fine if they move him to the bigs. Otherwise, there's no reason to rush him (except for money of course). [The Sporting Blog]

4. Tim Panaccio says Brian Boucher is ready to take advantage of his opportunity to play. I say when is Michael Leighton coming back? [CSN]

3. Cornell falls in at number three on a list of double-digit seeded teams who could create an upset in the Tournament. Several people are predicting they could cause trouble for Temple. [The Sporting News]

2. Ashley Fox determines Andrews simply wasn't worth the trouble to the Birds. I'm sure that's how they felt about it, but it's not as if they don't have a need for Pro Bowl linemen. [Inquirer]

1. The Phillies will cap the number of season ticket plans they sell at 28,750, which is nice because it's already becoming an impossible ticket to get. But as of this writing, they are already at 28,500, so you better act fas... too late. [Philadelphia Business Journal]

COMMENT OF THE DAY

Woah woah woah... We got my boy Darryl Tapp? When did this happen?

Nice! Got to watch him when he was at Virginia Tech and let me tell you, he can play very well. He was a blitzer in college, and that should carry over to the pros. Good, solid pickup. He was a gamechanger for the Hokies. Don't think he'll be that way for the Eagles, but its a definite improvement. Under the radar, very solid trade. He'll be with the Birds for the long-haul.

- Beardface

EXTRA POINT

Deadspin is reporting chair shots to the head have been banned by the WWE. This is an OUTRAGE!

Rays 7, Phillies 2: Mackanin calls Eickhoff 'a pretty darn good pitcher'

Rays 7, Phillies 2: Mackanin calls Eickhoff 'a pretty darn good pitcher'

BOX SCORE

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff pitched two innings, allowed a hit, a run, walked one and struck out two in his spring debut on Monday.

Afterward, manager Pete Mackanin was asked what he believed Eickhoff's ceiling was.

"He's a pretty darn good pitcher right now," Mackanin said.

Indeed, he is.

In his first full season in the majors last year, the 26-year-old right-hander led the Phillies' starting staff in ERA (3.65), starts (33) and innings pitched (197 1/3).

He delivered 20 quality starts and became just the fourth Phillie in the last 20 years to make 33 starts and record a 3.65 ERA or better, joining three pretty good pitchers named Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Curt Schilling. He walked just 1.92 batters per nine innings and that was fourth-best among NL starters.

"Eickhoff is the kind of guy you can count on," Mackanin said. "He throws strikes. He knows what he's doing."

Eickhoff is intent on building on last year's success in 2017. The guy has a Halladay-like work ethic. He arrived in Clearwater on Feb. 1 and got right to work. After his two innings of work on Monday, he put in a couple of hours in the weight room and on a back field running.

"I just have to continue working," he said. "I have a very high standard for myself as a lot of us in here do. We want to be the best players that we can be."

Eickhoff is working on improving his changeup this spring and his overall goal is to make every start -- as he did last season.

"That's the priority -- make every start," he said. "That's always a priority for me.

"I'd also like to incorporate the changeup a little more and use my slider and curveball and not get heavily reliant on one or the other, which happened several times last year and I think got me into trouble at times. So incorporating both for the duration of the season and just being more crisp with execution and location is my goal.

"I'm always looking to get better. I think the sky is the limit. I'm going to continue working, whether it's being Greg Maddux-esque with command or having a good breaking ball, or throwing a changeup like Maddux and guys like that did. There's always something I'm working on and trying to develop and sharpen up."

Eickhoff lines up to start the second game of the regular season behind projected opening day starter Jeremy Hellickson.

The game
The Phillies lost to the Tampa Bay Rays, 7-2. The Phils are 2-2 on the spring.

Maikel Franco had two hits, including his third homer of the spring. It was a long drive to left field on a 1-2 fastball. He also had a single to right field.

"The thing I like early in the spring from him is he's going deeper into counts," Mackanin said. "I think he's working toward a good year this year."

Stassi impresses
Non-roster player Brock Stassi, a candidate to win a job as a reserve first baseman and outfielder (see story), did not play in the game. He, however, has a single, double and homer in the first three games.

Mackanin gushed about Stassi’s defense when asked about it Monday.

"He's one of the best first basemen I've seen in a real long time," Mackanin said. "He has no need to improve on his defense and I like the way he swings the bat. He's a real solid baseball player so he's a guy I really want to get a good look at."

Pitching matters
Starting pitchers Jake Thompson and Zach Eflin are both projected to pitch at Triple A. Both have been slowed early in camp because of health reasons, but are progressing well. Thompson has a sore right wrist and Eflin is recovering from a pair of surgeries to address tendinitis in both knees.

Both pitchers will continue to throw in the bullpen this week and ramp up to live batting practice next week. There is plenty of time for both pitchers to get their arms ready to open the season. However, the Phillies may decide to take a cautious approach with Eflin and let him build some more strength in his knees before they turn him loose. He could stay in Florida for a couple of extra weeks before joining the Triple A club.

Up next
The Phillies host the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday. Clay Buchholz will make his first start of the spring. Here is the Phillies' posted starting lineup for the game:

1. Freddy Galvis, SS
2. Howie Kendrick, LF
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Michael Saunders, DH
6. Tommy Joseph, 1B
7. Chris Coghlan, RF
8. Cameron Rupp, C
9. Scott Kingery, 2B

Sixers waive big man Andrew Bogut

Sixers waive big man Andrew Bogut

To no surprise, Andrew Bogut is not part of the process.

The veteran big man, acquired in the Nerlens Noel trade last week, was waived by the Sixers on Monday night.

The Vertical's Shams Charania and ESPN's Marc Stein first reported the news of both parties agreeing to a contract buyout.

Bogut was included in the Sixers-Mavericks deal that sent Noel to Dallas in exchange for the 32-year-old center, Justin Anderson and a top-18 protected first-round pick (which will likely turn into two second-round picks).

Bogut will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Per a report Sunday by ESPN's Tim MacMahon, Bogut was set on joining Clevelend once a contract buyout with the Sixers was finalized. Bogut will have discussions with the Cavaliers, Spurs, Celtics and Rockets before making his decision, according to Stein's report.

Bogut played 26 games for the Mavericks this season, averaging 3.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.