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News » Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-02-19

Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-02-19

Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-02-19
In October, as the Phillies were rolling to the World Series championship, right-hander Adam Eaton was persona non grata at Citizens Bank Park.

This spring, he's the elephant in the clubhouse at Bright House Field.

Eaton, who was excluded from the Phillies' playoff roster and watched from his suburban Seattle home as they won the World Series, arrived Feb. 13 at spring training knowing he likely won't break camp with the club. He isn't a candidate for the wide-open fifth-starter job, and the Phillies have been trying to trade him throughout the offseason.

Odds are, though, they will have to release Eaton and eat all but $400,000 of the $9 million remaining on his contract.

Eaton is 14-18 with a 6.10 ERA in 49 starts (51 appearances) since signing a three-year, $24.5 million free agent contract before the 2007 season. He spent last August in the minors. He didn't pitch after being recalled in September and declined when he was asked to pitch in the Florida Instructional League in October.

Thus, Eaton returned home and watched the playoffs from his couch.

"Let's be honest here, I didn't pitch in September, I'm not going to pitch in the postseason," Eaton said, explaining his decision.

"It was a loaded question. I think they had an idea what I was going to say. What's the difference if I watch it here and continue to work out or if I watch it at home? Same result. Whether or not they frowned upon my decision, if they didn't want me to decide that, they shouldn't give me an option."

Eaton also didn't attend the championship parade and was conspicuous by his absence.

"I think if I was invited, I probably would have shown up," he said.

Two weeks ago, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Eaton wasn't a candidate for a four-way competition for the fifth-starter job. J.A. Happ, Kyle Kendrick, Chan Ho Park and Carlos Carrasco are expected to compete for that spot.

Asked if he'd consider starting this season in the minors, Eaton balked.

"If we get to that point, I'll be released," he said.

"And I don't think that's the end of the world by any means. It would be kind of prudent (for other teams) not to trade for me. I'm not going to accept another (minor league) assignment. It doesn't take a rocket scientist for another GM to maybe wait and take your shot at getting me for less than a trade would be."

WHERE, WHEN: Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla. First exhibition game is Feb. 25 against Pittsburgh.

TOP CANDIDATE TO SURPRISE: RHP Carlos Carrasco, widely regarded as the Phillies' brightest pitching prospect, has electric stuff. Last season, he began to show the maturity to match it. He will have a chance to win the No. 5 starter job in spring training, even though he won't turn 22 until March 21 and has made only six career starts in Class AAA.

TOP CANDIDATE TO DISAPPOINT: RHP Ryan Madson emerged as the Phillies' setup man in September when he allowed one run in his final 14 appearances. Then, in the playoffs, he appeared in 11 of 14 games and registered a 2.13 ERA. But Madson's career has been marked by inconsistency, and the Phillies are counting on him more than ever.

AUTHORITY FIGURES: Charlie Manuel was not the popular choice among fans when the Phillies named him their manager before the 2005 season. These days, though, he's beloved. That's what winning a World Series will do. Manuel also is one of only two managers to steer the Phils to back-to-back division titles (Danny Ozark had three straight from 1976-78). He's 354-294 in four years with the Phillies and ranks ninth on the franchise's all-time managerial wins list. But this season, Manuel will have a new bench coach by his side as Pete Mackanin replaces venerable Jimy Williams.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: February 19, 2009

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