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News » Philadelphia Phillies Roster Report 2009-03-31


Philadelphia Phillies Roster Report 2009-03-31


Philadelphia Phillies Roster Report 2009-03-31
There were few roster spots up for grabs this spring, but the Phillies did answer several health-related questions. Both 2B Chase Utley and 3B Pedro Feliz proved they're ready to open the season on time after having offseason surgeries, and ace Cole Hamels overcame lingering tightness in his elbow.

ROTATION:

1. LHP Cole Hamels

2. RHP Brett Myers

3. LHP Jamie Moyer

4. RHP Joe Blanton

5. LHP J.A. Happ or RHP Chan Ho Park

ROTATION ANALYSIS: Hamels' minor setback likely will prevent him from starting the season opener, but he doesn't figure to miss a start. It's possible he will make his regular-season debut April 10 at Coors Field in the season's fourth game. Myers will be seeking to be more consistent than he was last season, when a strong finish helped offset a terrible start.

Moyer led the team with 16 victories last season, but at age 46, can he do it again? Blanton will provide greater depth toward the bottom of the rotation, and Happ and Park are the last two candidates in a race for the No. 5 starter spot that once included four pitchers.

BULLPEN:

RHP Brad Lidge (closer)

RHP Ryan Madson

RHP Chad Durbin

LHP Scott Eyre

RHP Clay Condrey

LHP Jack Taschner

RHP Gary Majewski or RHP Chan Ho Park or LHP J.A. Happ

BULLPEN ANALYSIS: Without their best-in-the-NL bullpen last season, the Phillies likely wouldn't have won the division. It'll be difficult, though, for the relievers to keep up their 2008 pace. Lidge, for example, will be hard-pressed to repeat his success from last season when he was 48-for-48 in save opportunities, including playoffs.

Madson will be entering his first full season as the setup man, while Durbin is in only his second season as a full-time reliever.

Taschner was acquired late in spring training to give the team a second lefty. Another left-hander, J.C. Romero, will miss the start of the season while serving a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance.

If the Phillies keep 12 pitchers, Majewski could make the team as a non-roster invitee. Otherwise, he could be added to the roster in mid-April.

LINEUP:

1. SS Jimmy Rollins

2. CF Shane Victorino

3. 2B Chase Utley

4. 1B Ryan Howard

5. RF Jayson Werth

6. LF Raul Ibanez

7. 3B Pedro Feliz

8. C Carlos Ruiz

LINEUP ANALYSIS: Although management likes to talk about the lineup's balance (two switch hitters, three lefties, three righties), it leans decidedly to the left. The three top run-producers (Utley, Howard and Ibanez) are all left-handed. When the Phillies face a left-handed pitcher, manager Charlie Manuel likely will break up the lefties with righty-swinging Werth. Against right-handers, he may stack the lefties.

Feliz (Nov. 20 back surgery) and Utley (Nov. 24 hip surgery) have answered questions about their health by getting regular at-bats in the final three weeks of spring training, and both are expected to be ready for the season opener. Ibanez, the Phillies' biggest offseason addition, replaces LF Pat Burrell in the lineup.

Rollins batted .417 for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, while Victorino was trying to get as many at-bats as possible after splitting time in center field for Team USA.

RESERVES:

C Chris Coste

INF Eric Bruntlett

INF/OF Greg Dobbs

OF Matt Stairs

OF Geoff Jenkins

INF Miguel Cairo

RESERVES ANALYSIS: Like the lineup, the bench is decidedly left-handed. The Phillies have been trying to trade Jenkins, who has $8 million left on his contract. But they may find it easier to deal Stairs, who will make $1 million this season. If they can find a taker for one of their lefty-hitting reserve outfielders, there may be a spot for Cairo.

Dobbs has emerged as a superb pinch hitter, and he will start at third base against tough right-handed pitchers. Coste, the incumbent backup catcher, survived a spring training competition with Ronny Paulino, who was traded in late March.

ROOKIE WATCH: RHP Carlos Carrasco was a dark-horse candidate for the fifth starter spot, but he was one of the final spring training cuts. Carrasco said he learned a new grip for his curveball from pitching coach Rich Dubee and RHP Brett Myers, and that he benefited from facing major league lineups. Carrasco will open at Class AAA Lehigh Valley but could be in the rotation later this season if there's an injury.

MEDICAL WATCH:

2B Chase Utley (right hip surgery in November 2008) began playing in Grapefruit League games March 15 and is expected to be ready for the season.

3B Pedro Feliz (lower back surgery in November 2008) was playing in Grapefruit League games by mid-March and is expected to be ready for the season.

LHP Cole Hamels (left elbow stiffness) received an anti-inflammatory injection March 17. He is expected to be ready for the regular season's fourth game, April 10.

LHP Mike Zagurski (Tommy John elbow surgery) resumed pitching in late March and could be ready to open the season by mid-April.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 31, 2009

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