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News » Philadelphia Phillies Notes, Quotes 2009-03-04

Philadelphia Phillies Notes, Quotes 2009-03-04

Philadelphia Phillies Notes, Quotes 2009-03-04
--RHP Adam Eaton is eager to move on from his two-year disappointment in Philadelphia, but he expressed regret that he wasn't able to pitch more effectively. He was released by the Phillies on Feb. 27, and he signed a minor league deal with Baltimore on March 1.

Eaton, 31, went 10-10 with a 6.29 ERA in 2007, and from there, things only got worse. Eaton went 4-8 with a 5.80 ERA last season and lost his rotation spot in July when the Phils traded for RHP Joe Blanton. He accepted a minor league assignment but went 0-5 with a 7.02 ERA. He didn't pitch after being recalled in September, and when the Phillies asked him to pitch in the Florida Instructional League in October, he declined and returned to his Seattle-area home. He also didn't attend the World Series parade, although Eaton contends he wasn't invited.

In the end, Eaton feels as if he let down his teammates. He shook hands and embraced several teammates before leaving the clubhouse, joking that he'll see them in the World Series.

"I failed in performing to how I wanted to perform, but to say I failed as a teammate, I failed as an athlete, no," Eaton said, his eyes welling up. "I passed a lot of days, but my test results weren't very good. ... A lot of good guys in here. That's the hard part. It was only two years, but there's a lot of names in here that should be well-respected."

The Phillies are responsible for paying the remainder of his $8.65 million salary for 2009 and their $500,000 buyout of his contract in 2010.

--LHP Scott Eyre signed a three-year, $11 million contract with the Cubs before the 2006 season. Then, in November, the Phillies gave him a one-year deal worth $2 million. But last week, he couldn't pay his bills. Eyre, a 12-year major league veteran, has had most of his financial assets frozen while the federal government examines an alleged $8 billion fraud scheme masterminded by billionaire Robert Allen Stanford, financier of the Stanford Financial Group.

Unable to make his mortgage or car payments, Eyre received an advance from the Phillies on his first 2009 paycheck, which usually wouldn't be issued until mid-April.

"A couple different teammates have offered to loan me some money, too," Eyre said. "It's not like I won't pay them back. They all know where I work."

Eyre isn't alone. Tampa Bay Rays 1B Carlos Pena, New York Mets RHP Mike Pelfrey and New York Yankees OFs Johnny Damon and Xavier Nady also have been affected by the alleged fraud. The players are expected to recoup their money, but it could take weeks before they have access to it. After Eyre signed with the Cubs, his financial adviser got him involved with the Stanford Group. Eyre, who plans to retire after this season, has about $3,000 in an account with another bank, but it isn't enough to pay significant bills.

"It was one of those (investment groups) that looked too good to be true, and apparently, it was," Eyre said. "It's really more of a hassle than anything. People don't give a (darn) if you don't pay your bills. They just want their money. That's just how it is."

--INF Greg Dobbs has been the majors' top pitch hitter over the past two seasons, but he still aspires to be a starter, either at third base or left field. Early indications are that won't happen yet. Even though Phillies 3B Pedro Feliz may not be ready to open the season after Nov. 20 back surgery, manager Charlie Manuel still plans to use Dobbs almost exclusively against right-handed pitchers. UT Eric Bruntlett, prized infield prospect Jason Donald and veteran INFs Marcus Giles, Pablo Ozuna and Miguel Cairo figure to play third base against lefties during spring training.

"Is (Dobbs) going to play regular against lefties? That's going to be kind of tough," Manuel said. "At the same time, you don't ever say no. That wouldn't be right. But more than likely, he'll get anywhere from 200 to 300 at-bats (this season). If he gets more, that's fine because he's a good hitter and a tremendous pinch hitter. That's kind of like where he's at. I think I know what Dobbs can do."

Dobbs, 30, is hoping to do more. He got only nine at-bats against left-handed pitchers last season and went 1-for-9. Against right-handers, he got 217 at-bats and batted .309. For his career, he has only 52 at-bats (and a .250 average) against lefties compared to 720 at-bats (and a .278 average) against righties. Given the opportunity, Dobbs would like to test himself against top left-handers. But he has never faced Johan Santana, CC Sabathia or Randy Johnson. He hasn't even faced Oliver Perez or Randy Wolf.

"It would great because you could finally see what you're made of," Dobbs said. "If you never get tested, you don't know what you're capable of doing. And you can't tell anything unless you've got a track record. It's tough to make decisions based on three or four starts, or eight or 10 at-bats."

--LHP Cole Hamels continues to make headlines in New York. After being baited by two New York talk-show hosts into calling the Mets "choke artists" during a December radio interview, the Phillies ace clarified his comments recently both to newspaper reporters and on WIP-610 AM. "The word choke means you weren't able to fully come through when you were supposed to," Hamels said. "I think the Mets had the top teams. They pretty much had the (division) championships in the bag, and they weren't able to come through. A lot of guys will perceive them as choking in the end and not fulfilling their end of the bargain because they should have taken it. You know what? It really does show the strength and hard work -- and I guess the deep-down guts -- that we have to take it away from them."

Based on that answer, the New York Post wrote the headline, "Cole War," and printed it over Hamels' photo on the back page of the Feb. 24 national edition, which is available in the Clearwater area.

"I didn't know what I said when it happened," Hamels said of his "choke artist" comment. "I have to stick by what I said, and it's something where truly I like to do most of my talking out on the field. I'm not the type of guy that needs to look for attention in the offseason. You can say whatever you want, but you really do have to show up on the field. It's something where I really do think this benefits the excitement level."

--RHP Joe Blanton was acquired in a trade last July to bolster the Phillies rotation. But there were critics of the deal who insisted the Phillies shouldn't have given up prospects for a pitcher who has never been a legitimate ace.

"I heard somebody say, 'This guy's only a .500 pitcher,'" said former Phillies GM Pat Gillick. "Well, look in the book and see how many guys are over .500. Am I going to say the guy's a 20-game winner? I don't know if he's a 20-game winner, but he's a guy that will give you innings and keep you in the game."

And that's precisely what Blanton did for the Phillies last year. Blanton went 4-0 with a 4.20 ERA after being acquired from Oakland and 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA in three postseason starts.

"Getting that half year in the National League was good," he said, "but being able to start out with a team in spring, you know the whole season is going to be better than getting thrown in in the middle."

BY THE NUMBERS: 6.10 -- Adam Eaton's ERA during his two-year career with the Phillies.

QUOTE TO NOTE: Throughout a long season, you really do look forward to a tough series, and that's what the Mets have been able to provide us. It makes the season that much more enjoyable." -- LHP Cole Hamels, whose offseason comments about the Mets have stirred controversy in New York.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: March 4, 2009

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