It was damn near 70 degrees yesterday, Kelly Drive is perpetually packed with people gearing up for the Broad Street Run and Rita’s Water Ice is open. It’s officially spring in our books, which means—no offense Flyers and Sixers—we’ve already shifted focus to what’s going on in Clearwater.
Some of us have semi-normal jobs that prevent us packing up our crap all willy-nilly and hopping a flight to Phillies spring training. Others, have careers that prevent them from watching the Phils in their offices. Luckily, that’s not a problem we run into at The Philly Post. So, while we’re stuck up here with the lions of March, we’ve got your Spring Training Cliff’s Notes from Week 1. You know, just in case you already feel like you’re behind the curve. Here’s what you need to know.
Phillies 2012 Contract Talks
While we’re thrilled that the Phils are back on the diamond putting balls in the gap and turning double plays, we’ve still got one eye on the contract negotiations involving Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino. Victorino says he has no intention of going anywhere else and Hamels has said he’ll stay if the money’s right. His agent just left Clearwater a few days ago without a deal in place, but J-Roll says Hamels isn’t going anywhere.
Is Domonic Brown Ready?
The organization honchos blame themselves for bringing him up before he was ready and essentially setting him back in his progression. Brown has said that he’s at Spring Training to win a job and anything less would be a disappointment. Ruben Amaro Jr. and company have been telling everyone to keep their hopes in check. He’s 2-8 with one run and a triple through the first week.
Chase Utley’s Neverending Knee Problems
His knee issues will never go away. It’s not something that’s going to magically disappear when he wakes up one day. So, Cholly has decided to hold him back in Spring Training. He hasn’t started yet and may not for a while still. Don’t worry: he’s Chase Utley. There’s no reason to panic.
Polanco Is Old, Too
He’s aging. There’s no reason to put miles on his legs this early. But, he looks like the effective Polanco we’re used to: 3-5 with a run and an RBI.
The Phillies Pitching Rotation
Halladay. Lee. Hamels. Three aces make the Phillies rotation very top heavy. The final two spots—presumably for Vance Worley and Joe Blanton to lose—are a bit of a concern. Blanton gave up two hits and struck out one in two scoreless innings. Worley gave up two runs in his first Grapefruit League start and is admittedly working on a new approach to his changeup as he tries to avoid a sophomore slump.
Will Freddy Galvis Usurp Jimmy Rollins’s Throne?
Freddy Galvis—the 22-year-old Venezuelan prospect that is primed to be J-Roll’s successor—is 4-12 with two doubles and three RBI. He also started a smooth double play this week when a ball took a high bounce and knocked him off his feet. He made the throw from his back.
A Possible Hole in Left Field
Raul Ibanez traded Phils red for Bronx blue over the offseason. This means, on the surface, it looks like there might be a hole in left field and the middle of the lineup. Enter John Mayberry. He’s 3-13 with a double and a walk to start the spring. Mayberry was very impressive after last year’s All-Star break and, according to Mitch Williams, is ready to prove himself worthy of an everyday spot in the Phillies outfield. The issue, though, is that he might be otherwise occupied some of the time…
Ryan Howard Is Still Out
Howard had an infection at the sight of the surgical wound left from when he had his Achilles repaired after that disaster of a Game 5. Expect him to miss at least a month or so. In his absence, Cholly will likely platoon guys at first base based on pitching matchups. Ty Wigginton, Jim Thome and John Mayberry will probably all see some time while the Big Piece is out. Thome will make his first spring start at first for the Phils on Monday.
Hunter Pence Is Awesome.
He’s 4-12 with two home runs and four RBI. Let’s go eat.
The Dontrelle Willis Experiment.
The Phils brought D-Train in on the cheap—much like they did with Pedro a couple years back. Signing Willis was a low risk move with a lot of upside, if he can look like the D-Train of old for spurts throughout the season. But, in less than two innings of work he gave up five hits and five earned runs. He says he’s got soreness in his forearm. Not a good start to the gamble.