Phillies Notes: Adams, Manuel, Halladay & more

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Phillies Notes: Adams, Manuel, Halladay & more

The Phillies have their fingers crossed that they will get something back on their $12 million investment in reliever Mike Adams in 2014.

Adams came to the Phils as one of the premier setup men in baseball last season, but pitched in just 28 games and none after June 19 because of a shoulder injury that required surgery in late July.

According to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., Adams is progressing well in his recovery.

“He’s throwing four times a week and will start throwing bullpens toward the end of the month,” Amaro said. “He’s doing great. He’s had no setbacks. He feels good, no issues.”

Adams will be behind the rest of the group at the start of spring training and likely will not be ready for the start of the season, but Amaro is hopeful that he will contribute sooner rather than later.

“We’ll know more when he gets to camp and starts throwing bullpens,” Amaro said.

With Jake Diekman beginning to blossom late last season and Antonio Bastardo returning from a PED suspension, Amaro believes the Phillies “have a chance to have some quality” toward the back of the bullpen.

“If Adams is healthy or can be eventually -- you can’t count on it, but that would be nice,” Amaro said.

Will they return?
Former manager Charlie Manuel has had a longstanding job offer from the club, but has yet to accept or reject.

“We’re hopeful of having a resolution in the next week or so,” Amaro said.

Manuel was fired as manager in August. The Phillies would like him to remain in the organization and work with minor-league hitters and serve as a consultant.

The Phillies would also like to see recently retired Roy Halladay stay in the organization. It’s possible that Halladay could work as an instructor in spring training.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen yet,” Amaro said. “I think he may have some interest. We have interest.”

Getting to know you
New pitching coach Bob McClure has been spending time at the Phillies’ spring training facility in Clearwater getting acquainted with Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. Gonzalez has been working out at the facility for a week. The Cuban defector remains a bit of a mystery, but the Phillies hope he will fill a spot in their rotation. Gonzalez's progress will be one of the biggest storylines in camp.

Arbitration time
Teams will exchange 2014 salary proposals with players eligible for salary arbitration on Friday. The Phils have four arbitration-eligible players -- pitchers Kyle Kendrick and Bastardo and outfielders Ben Revere and John Mayberry Jr.

Phillies officials have been negotiating with all four players and Amaro is hopeful that agreements can be reached before the arbitration process heats up.

Cuban ballplayers mourn loss of Jose Fernandez

Cuban ballplayers mourn loss of Jose Fernandez

CHICAGO — Chicago Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler played with Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez when the two were growing up in Cuba. They traveled together to Venezuela for a youth tournament.

Soler said Fernandez's ability was obvious, right from the start.

"Since he was a child, since we were kids, I knew he had something," Soler said through a translator. "He had a talent. It was very impressive."

Fernandez's death in a boating accident at the age of 24 cast a dark shadow over the major leagues on Sunday. Miami's home game against Atlanta was canceled, and several ballparks observed moments of silence. Wrigley Field's iconic hand-operated scoreboard displayed Fernandez's No. 16 in its pitching column next to Miami.

But the loss of Fernandez was felt most acutely in baseball's growing Cuban community.

"He was one of those guys that everybody loved," St. Louis Cardinals catcher Brayan Pena said. "He was one of those guys that everybody knew exactly what he meant to our community. For us, it's a big, big loss. It's one of those things where our thoughts and prayers are obviously with his family, the Marlins' organization and the fans. But it gets a little bit closer because he was part of our Cuban family."

There were 23 Cubans on opening-day major league rosters this year, an increase of five over last season and the most since the commissioner's office began releasing data in 1995. Many of the players share similar stories when it comes to their perilous journey from the communist country to the majors, and the difficulty of adjusting to life in the United States.

A native of Santa Clara, Cuba, Fernandez was unsuccessful in his first three attempts to defect, and spent several months in prison. At 15, Fernandez and his mother finally made it to Mexico, and were reunited in Florida with his father, who had escaped from Cuba two years earlier.

He was drafted by the Marlins in 2011, and quickly turned into one of the majors' top pitchers.

"How he was on the mound was a reflection of him," Oakland first baseman Yonder Alonso said. "A guy who had a lot of fun, was himself. A very talkative guy, he would come into the room and you'd know he was in the room. Never big-leagued anyone, very professional. No matter what, he would talk to you about hitting, because he thought he was the best hitter, and he (would) talk to you about pitching, because he thought he was the best pitcher."

Alonso said Fernandez's death was "a big-time shock." Yasiel Puig used torn pieces of white athletic tape to display Fernandez's jersey on the wall in the home dugout at Dodger Stadium. Cardinals rookie Aledmys Diaz, who had known Fernandez since they were little kids, declined an interview request through a team spokeswoman.

"We Cuban players know each other well and all of us have a great relationship," Pena said. "For us, it's devastating news when we woke up. We were sending text messages to each other and we were showing support. It's something that obviously nobody expects."

Fernandez, who became a U.S. citizen last year, also was beloved for his stature in the Cuban community in Miami.

"He was a great humanitarian," Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman said through a translator. "He gave a lot to the community and I think that's why he got a lot of respect from the community in terms of what a great person he was and always giving, in terms of always willing to help out in whatever way he can to try to better and progress within the community someone that perhaps wasn't as fortunate as he was."

The 28-year-old Chapman lives in the Miami-area in the offseason. He said he spent some time with Fernandez while he was home.

"He would come by my house. I would go by his," Chapman said. "We would have long conversations. We would talk a lot. We spent a lot of good amount of time together. It was very special for me."

Phillies' clubhouse reflects on life of Marlins' Jose Fernandez

Phillies' clubhouse reflects on life of Marlins' Jose Fernandez

NEW YORK — The clubhouse mood following the Phillies17-0 loss to the Mets Sunday was somber, in part because of the disastrous game that had just wrapped up, but also because of the tragic news of Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez’s death in a boating accident early Sunday morning.

“It was rough. People are devastated. I didn’t even know him and I was crushed,” Phillies starter Jake Thompson said. “I can only imagine how that clubhouse feels. That’s something that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy, to deal with something of that magnitude.”

Both teams paused for a moment of silence before Sunday’s game and the Mets taped a jersey bearing Fernandez’s name and number onto their dugout wall.

“This morning, that was quite a surprise,” manager Pete Mackanin said of the atmosphere of the day. “I don’t think it affected the players once the game started. It was such bad news this morning that everybody was kind of melancholy.”

Fernandez had built a strong track record against the Phillies in his young career, amassing a 2.88 ERA in six starts.

“It’s kind of cliché to say but you look at the start of his career and he could have been a Hall of Famer,” Thompson said.

Asked how he would remember facing Fernandez, Mackanin was succinct.

“He was a helluva pitcher,” he said.

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