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Howard & Byrd Go Deep, Manship Pitches Well, & Abreu Moves Opt Out Date

The Phillies bats came alive as Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd hit back to back homeruns Tuesday night in the Phillies 6-0 win against the Yankees in Grapefruit League action. Byrd, who went 2-3 on the night with a solo homerun and 2 runs scored, brought his average up to .340 for the spring. Howard, who has struggled this spring, has now gone deep twice in his last two games.

One of the Phillies 6 RBIs came off the bat of Bobby Abreu. Abreu, who is trying to make the team as a non roster invitee, agreed to move his opt out date from tomorrow until this upcoming Sunday. We will know by 3PM Sunday if Abreu made the team since that’s when final rosters are due. Abreu is batting .263 this spring.

Phillies starting pitcher Jeff Manship impressed again, pitching 4 innings of  shutout baseball. Manship, who is vying for the 5th starter position, lowered his spring ERA to mere 1.80. Manship exited the game in the bottom of the 5th inning as reliever Mike Adams made his Grapefruit League debut. Adams, who is recovering from shoulder surgery and has targeted April 15th as a return date, pitched a scoreless inning but gave up 2 hits. Reports say his velocity was between 84-87 MPH.

Its great to see the heart of the Phillies order producing like they did tonight. For the Phillies to contend this season they need guys like Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd swinging the bats well. Another positive was the emergence of Jeff Manship. With David Buchanan being told today that he will not make the team, it is looking more and more likely that when the Phillies need a 5th starter Manship will be their guy. One negative about tonight was the velocity on Mike Adams’ pitches. I realize he is coming back from shoulder surgery, but this was a guy who was throwing 97 MPH just two years ago. He is still building up his arm strength, but it is concerning to me.

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