Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Posted: 4:58 p.m.
By Jim SalisburyCSNPhilly.com
CLEARWATER, Fla. There is an emphasis on playing the game the right way in this Phillies camp.
Pitchers are constantly hearing about the importance of getting ahead in counts.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. long ago went on record as saying he wanted to see improved situational hitting, and that will surely be something that is stressed during the exhibition season.
On Wednesday, Phillies outfielders worked on one of those subtle skills that can often influence the outcome of a game: Cutoffs and relays.
Manager Charlie Manuel was not happy with what he saw.
Not real good, he said. But this was the first day and that happens. But we have to do better.
Manuel was not pleased with the accuracy of his outfielders throws. He did not speak to any of the outfielders, instead leaving that to his coaches. He promised to watch closely when the team works on cutoffs again in a couple of days.
News that St. Louis Cardinals righthander Adam Wainwright is out possibly for the season with an elbow injury hit Phillies camp on Wednesday morning. Wainwright, who finished third and second the last two years in NL Cy Young voting, is a well-respected opponent and Phillies players were saddened to hear the news.
If the Cardinals look to bolster their rotation, they could inquire about Phillies righthander Joe Blanton. Its no secret that the Phillies would listen to trade offers for Blanton, who is signed through 2012 at 17 million.
Whether the Phils would deal an accomplished pitcher such as Blanton to a league rival remains to be seen.
Asked about Blanton on Wednesday, Amaro said, Hell be starting for us in the first week of April.
The Phillies will host their annual exhibition game against Florida State University on Thursday afternoon. The Seminoles are ranked No. 8 in the nation.
The Phillies will go heavy with minor-league pitchers in the game. Righthander Drew Naylor will start. Justin De Fratus, Michael Stutes, Michael Schwimer, Eddie Bonine, Juan Perez and Scott Mathieson will all work in the game.
Domonic Brown will start his first of many spring games in rightfield and Ben Francisco will be the designated hitter. Phillies officials need to find out if these two can contribute this season and the evaluation starts now.
Chase Utley will not play, and Manuel said theres a chance he wont play Saturday against the Yankees in Tampa. He will start Sunday against the Yankees in Clearwater.
Chase has been having some heavy workouts and he has a little body soreness, Manuel said.
Non-roster player Pete Orr will start at second base for the Phils. Super-sub Wilson (The Whip) Valdez will start at shortstop in place of Jimmy Rollins, who has been excused from the game to attend a function honoring Motown at the White House.
Cole Hamels, who starts Saturday against the Yankees, continues to shine in camp.
He looks good and he looks stronger, Manuel said. That cutter is really going to help him.
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