It has finally arrived. The day for which all baseball fans yearn, once their favorite teams play their final game each season. Pitchers and catchers reported for their first official workouts in many Florida and Arizona venues.
For many of us, winter has “officially” ended. Especially those of us in Florida who have no weather related criteria to judge the ending of winter. Sorry that might have been wrong of me to gloat like that. Not only do I “suffer’ through mild winters, but I get to see live baseball before friends, family, fans, and readers up north. Yeah, I’m not that sorry.
So, today, Thursday, February 18th, several hundred Phillies fans descended on the Carpenter Complex and Bright House Field to watch 60 or more players begin their spring workouts. Yeah, 60! While only 37 pitchers and 7 catchers were required to be here today, It is very encouraging that so many players have reported early.
The only players I didn’t see were Emmanuel Burris, Maikel Franco, Ryan Howard, Angelys Nina, Cedric Hunter, David Lough, and Peter Bourjos. This by no means they weren’t here, just that I didn’t see them.
Players perform their calisthenics, stretching, and long toss in left field on Ashburn Field and aren’t easily identifiable. It’s entirely possible that they remained at the Complex while the rest of the position players went to Bright House Field (BHF) for batting practice. Which is where I went when the groups split up for pitchers’ fielding practice (PFP).
Over in BHF, 15 players batted in three groups of five.
- Altherr, Asche, Herrera, Galvis, Ruf
- Goeddel, Jackson, Sweeney, Blanco, Featherston,
- Crawford, Quinn, Williams, Stassi, Hernandez
I have to admit that I wasn’t paying close attention. I spent some time renewing acquaintances with people I have met at previous spring trainings, GCL games, and Instructs. And these were just at bats against coaches anyway. But, it was good to see Herrera is still hitting line drives. He is probably the hitter I am most worried about. Sophmore jinx and a batting style with a lot of movement and a lot of parts that can get out of sync. Goeddel represented himself well with a lot of line drives and a couple balls into the bullpen.
The players I most wanted to see were in group three. This group faced a left-handed pitcher. Crawford and Quinn accounted for themselves fairly well. But Stassi and Williams really stood out.
Stassi got jammed up and in on several pitches and muscled them deep to right – two onto the berm and one high off the fence. I was surprised that he got that kind of power on three balls that I thought were going to be routine fly balls. Let’s face it, he wasn’t the guy I was planning on writing about from this group. But even though it was just BP, I was impressed. He didn’t show this kind of power when he was with the Threshers.
Williams also jumped out. He had a lot of line drives and easily stroked a few balls onto the berms in left center and right center fields. I was surprised that more guys than Herrera have such an exaggerated leg kick – Stassi and Williams for instance.
Afterwards, the outfielders ran through some fielding practice with Juan Samuel. The infielders went to the half-field outside BHF for some infield practice.
As I walked back to my car at the Complex, the catchers were finishing up their BP. I was parked in the handicapped section behind Ashburn Field. A left-handed batter almost hit my car on the fly. He had the distance to bounce it off my roof if he had pulled it a little more toward the fair pole. I’m sure it was Knapp.
Tomorrow, I’m going to stick around for PFPs so I see the catchers hit. I heard that Alfaro launched a few.
It was great to see a lot of friends who migarte to the Complex for this spring ritual – David, Linda, Pete, Steve, Gail, Geary (you know him as Gkita who posts video of ST), John, Frank, Stick, Joe, Joe, Betsy, and Ross.
A little numerology. The Phillies issue 88 numbers from 2 thru 99 to 94 players coaches and spring instructors and guest instructors.
- Players and coaches get numbers from 2-84, and 94 (Hinojosa)
- Spring instructors get 87-99, skipping 94.
- Guest instructors are former Phillies and get their old numbers even though they are also issued to current players except for Mike Schmidt’s #20 (remember when # meant number and not hashtag?)
- Unissued numbers include –
- #1 – Ashburn (# retired)
- #14 – Bunning (# retired)
- #20 – Schmidt (# retired, although he gets to wear his as a guest instructor)
- #32 – Carlton (# retired
- #36 – Roberts (# retired)
- #42 – Jackie Robinson (# retired league-wide)
- #69 – ?
- #11 – last worn by Jimmy Rollins
- #26 – last worn by Chase Utley
- #35 – last worn by Cole Hamels