Attendance was down today. I had assumed the milder weather would more than double the crowd at the Carpenter Complex. I was wrong. Even with a 20 degree increase in the temperature, most players were still wearing their wind breakers.
I received an early call advising me that batting practice wouldn’t start until quarter after eleven, so I headed to the Complex and took in another round of PFPs. Before breaking into their groups, the pitchers and catchers stretch out their arms long tossing after calisthenics.
As most pitchers disperse to the various fields, the catchers and a group of pitchers head to the “7 Mounds” to get their throwing in for the day. Here the catchers are ready to receive from their pitchers.
Today, I decided to follow Ken Giles’ group for a while. Pictured below is Giles following through on a simulated pitch on Ashburn Field. His group was working on the same drills that Coach Larry Bowa led them through yesterday. Today’s added wrinkle was a throw to second base after a come backer to the mound. Giles’ group also included Cliff Lee, Jake Diekman, Justin DeFratus, Kevin Slowey, and Sean O’Sullivan. Giles was among the smaller guys in this group. I had always assumed he was bigger based on the velocity he generates.
I stayed in place for the next group when I saw a guy who looked to be as big as Phillippe Aumont. I did not realize that Elvis Araujo was so big. I didn’t get a picture of them together, but here he is, a head taller than the rest of his group with his back to the camera. Hector Neris was also in his group.
Before heading over to Bright House Field, I saw the “A” group over on Schmidt Field. The group included a lot of the starters not named Lee who are expected to vie for rotation spots – Cole Hamels, Dave Buchanan, Miguel Alfredo, Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams. Here’s a picture of MAG. He looks like the fittest guy out there. He must take his uniforms to a tailor to get them fitted. Here he is making a pitch to the plate. It is difficult to stay interested in PFPs, so my friends and I left for Bright House, planning to be there at an early 11:00AM. Well, here’s where a retiree’s lack of date, day, and time recognition can come into play. Our early arrival was in fact late as there was confusion between the phrases “quarter after” and “quarter to”. So instead of being early, we were a little late for the first group.
I recognized Jeff Francoeur, Ben Revere, Odubel Herrera but not many others. I still haven’t seen Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, or Dom Brown. I’m sure they are here, I just haven’t seen them yet. With a bunch of “maybe gonna be” Phillies taking BP, we are easily distracted as people like Pat Gillick, Ed Wade, Joe Jordan, Charlie Kerfeld walk by. We even notice Scott Palmer and Howard Eskin.
As the outfielders set up for fielding practice, we made our way to the half field to see who was taking infield practice. Cody Asche was at third with a guy who looked like Maikel Franco. Galvis was at short. The rest were a blur of guys probably ticketed for Lehigh Valley. Michael Jack pulled Freddy aside for a short talk after his shift was over. One-stop shopping for fielding and batting advice from a Hall of Famer, can’t beat that.
I, for one, have missed Jimmy Rollins’ in camp. I know that the MLB has declared Chase Utley as the “face” of the Phillies (a distinction probably heavily attributable to his large female following), but I think Rollins was the heart of the team. He would have been here early, outside with his team mates, and the others would have followed his lead. I hope I’m wrong, but I think the Phillies traded away more than just a shortstop this winter. We’ll see as camp progresses.
And finally, here’s a picture I wanted to share a few weeks ago, but misplaced. It was taken on the last day of Phantasy Week. Darren looked as good in person as he appears in this photo. He announced this week that his last scan was clean. Great news.
Oh, and for those who have asked, I have NOT seen Roy Halladay, yet. I hope not to. The two saddest sights for me last season were Halladay walking around carrying not wearing his glove and Charlie Manuel in civilian clothes. It is good to see Charlie wearing red down here this week, though.