Spring Training Report: Ryan Howard Loses the Boot

Plus why we're not worried about Roy Halladay.

Opening day is less than two weeks away. We can practically taste it. As the Phils work to finish off a troublesome spring, we’ve been panicking about injuries, griping about not being in Clearwater, and catching up on what’s been going on with the Fightin’s. So, stop gazing longingly out the window at everyone enjoying the gorgeous weather  and read up on what’s been going on with our beloved Phils.

The Boot Is Off. The Big Piece ditched his protective boot this week. He’s working on reaching little goals to help him progress in his rehabilitation and get him back on the field in a timely manner. Plus, he’s got his own website and podcast now. So, there’s that. [USA Today]

Another Infielder on the Shelf. This time it’s Michael Martinez. He fractured a bone  in his right foot during a spring training game on Tuesday. IT’S THE END OF DAYS. Seriously, though, that means that the Phils have a 41-year-old DH, an out-of-position rookie, an outfielder, Pete Orr, Ty Wigginton, and Jimmy Rollins as viable candidates to fill out the infield for opening day. That’s the same as a healthy Polly-J-Roll-Utley-Howard combo, right? Don’t tell us otherwise. So, if you can run (or walk quickly) and have a glove, give the team office a shout. Also, is it to early too start drinking? [CSN]

Is Halladay’s Velocity an Issue? Great. The one thing we were sure we didn’t need to worry about was starting pitching, but now scouts are chirping about Halladay’s lower velocity. The man has approximately three billion innings under his belt. He’s probably going to take a while to get into a groove. He say’s he’s fine. We’re going to trust him because he’s a doctor. [Phillies]

Vegas Says 95 Wins. The odds-makers in Vegas opened up the Phils over/under for wins at 95.5. Their infield is practically vacant, the bats are silent and they’ve only reached that many wins twice in over 30 years. So, under? Wow that’s depressing. [ESPN]

D-Train Departed. The Phils sent Dontrelle Willis packing after he complained of soreness in his arm and was unimpressive in a few Grapefruit appearances. Luckily for Willis, though, the Orioles are apparently still accepting cast-offs from the rest of the league. Baltimore snatched him pretty much immediately. [ESPN]

Cliff Lee Is Still a Boss. Lee gave up five hits and one earned run while fanning seven over six innings yesterday. But, the Phils scored exactly zero runs on four hits, so the Blue Jays still took home a “W.” Yeah, we should probably get used to that sort of thing. [Phillies]

Utley’s Knee Situation. We figured, what better way to ruin all of the nice weather we’ve been experiencing than to speculate about the knee issues plaguing Chase Utley? Rumor has it that Utley was in Phoenix and that he may have seen a doctor for the Suns/surgeon that performed microfracture surgery on Amare Stoudemire when he was playing there. Which is disheartening for a number of reasons, including the fact that Stoudemire’s knees have been a go-to punchline for NBA fans for years. Ugh. [Crossing Broad]