We are well into the Grapefruit League this Spring Training and the Phillies are progressing towards what could be another memorable season. It seems the pitching staff led by Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are looking very strong and young Vance Worley will be trying to build upon his good rookie year.
It is, however, frustrating to have not seen any of Chase Utley yet this Spring. Its obvious his knee is not yet 100% and it will take some time to figure out if it ever will be. General Amaro Jr has attempted to reassure us all saying they are just handling Utley with care so that he will be ready.
In his absence, Freddy Galvis has seen playing time at second base working it up the middle with Jimmy Rollins. Through three innings today they already had turned two double plays. Quit smoothly too, I might add. Amaro, again reaffirming Utley’s situation, says Galvis is still expected to be the starting shortstop in Lehigh Valley when the season starts.
This past week Cole Hamels looked in mid-season form not allowing a run in his outing against the Pirates. Hunter Pence had a couple hits, Shane Victorino added a two-run home run and Lou Montanez had a walk-off in the tenth inning for the Phillies win. Cliff Lee was also stingy not allowing the Blue Jays to score in his last start as the Phillies won 7-0. Victorino added two more RBIs and Galvis went 1 for 2.
Leading up to the start of Spring Training, the Phillies had tried to ship Joe Blanton somewhere other than Philadelphia for another season with no luck. Rumors had the Phils trying to free up money to bring back Roy Oswalt. In the end, nothing got done and Blanton is working his way back to a healthy 2012.
This Spring, Blanton hasn’t allowed a run in five innings while striking out four. Could this make him more attractive to suitors? It’s silly to continue to dwell on this but it could happen. Overall, the Phillies would be happy with a .500 season from Blanton considering how Oswalt pitched last season. It’s a coin flip really. However, sitting at $8.5 million owed, it is an expensive coin.
Phillies are playing split squads today with the Tigers and at the Yankees. Lee and Kyle Kendrick are getting work in, respectively. They have another busy week with a game a day and two more split squad games on Thursday. One more step closer to Opening Day!
So as Oswalt sits on his tractor looking to sit out the first half of the season the Phillies keep saying they would have to free up money to get him. Free up money? How could the Phillies not have enough money after selling out every game since 1963? Ok not true, but you know what I mean. It’s not that the Phillies don’t have the money, it’s the notion of paying into the luxury tax that the front office does not want to do. Corey explains this nasty concept and worries it’s just misunderstood by the casual fan.
Lots more happening over at Phillies Nation this week so be sure to check it all out.