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News » Philadelphia Phillies Notes, Quotes 2009-02-14

Philadelphia Phillies Notes, Quotes 2009-02-14

Philadelphia Phillies Notes, Quotes 2009-02-14
--1B Ryan Howard was noticeably leaner when he reported to spring training Feb. 13. Howard said he has dropped about 20 pounds since the World Series, slimming down to about 250. He has been in the Tampa area since Jan. 5, training at the exclusive Saddlebrook resort and working on his defense with new third base coach Sam Perlozzo. Howard led major league first basemen with 19 errors last season and is widely considered a future designated hitter. Mostly, he said he's working on his footwork and positioning.

"As far as my defense is concerned, I know a lot of people have a concern about it," Howard said. "But I've been working hard on it. Working with Sam, he's taught me some things that have clicked a little better that I've been able to add to the repertoire."

Asked if he's worried about his defense, Howard said, "Not really. It's something I've always focused on getting better. Everyone has their outside opinion or whatever, but I'm not really concerned. I'm feeling confident with the way I've been working with Sam that my defense will be better."

--2B Chase Utley continues to express optimism he'll be ready to play for the Phillies by April 5, Opening Night against the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park.

"So far, we're on that path," Utley said.

Utley, who had right hip surgery in November, spent most of the offseason in Philadelphia with athletic trainer Scott Sheridan, then relocated his rehabilitation to Clearwater, Fla., in early February. He has begun jogging after weeks of running on an underwater treadmill. He also is fielding light grounders and taking dry swings (no pitching) in the indoor batting cage. Really, though, neither Utley nor the Phillies will know if he'll be ready until he plays in spring training, and that likely won't happen until mid-March. The Phillies aren't about to rush their All-Star second baseman and risk aggravation of the injury.

"I haven't really over-exerted it, but like I said, it's step by step," Utley said. "I understand the process, and I think that's the important thing. I understand I don't want to go all-out right now. I understand you have to take it in increments, and our staff is doing a good job at making sure I do that."

--OF John Mayberry is among the more intriguing players in camp. He stands out -- both for his 6-foot-6, 230-pound frame and his status as one of the Phillies' few power-hitting outfield prospects. With the Phils still seeking a right-handed hitter for the bench, he has a chance to make an early impression -- just as his father, John Sr., did with the Kansas City Royals in 1972. The elder Mayberry was traded from Houston to Kansas City, then went on to hit 255 homers in his 15-year major league career.

"If it doesn't work out with one team, as it didn't in his career, it might work out with another," said Mayberry, who was born one year after his father retired but collected "almost every John Mayberry card ever made" to learn about his career.

"He got off on the right foot with the Royals and ended up having a 15-year career. If you look at it from that perspective, it's easy to be positive."

BY THE NUMBERS: 6.10 -- RHP Adam Eaton's ERA with the Phillies. Eaton signed a three-year, $24.5 million contract before the 2007 season.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "What he's done, it's unfortunate that those three years, he did what he did. But right now, in the present day, when the drug testing has been implemented and he's come out negative after taking his test, he's still one of the best players in the game." -- 1B Ryan Howard, on the revelation that Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in 2003.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: February 14, 2009

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