Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Category Archives: Milton Bradley

Phils lucky to have replacements for Brown, Utley

The Phillies have yet to see Chase Utley out on the field in a Spring Training game and it's uncertain when they will again. (Yong Kim/PhillyInquirer)

Domonic Brown broke two things in his first at bat against the Pirates on Saturday. One was his hitless streak; the other was his right hand.

X-Rays showed that the hook of his hamate bone is fractured which means Brown will most likely need surgery. This puts Brown out for four to six weeks and means he will definitely not win the starting job for right fielder.

Brown’s injury wasn’t the only bad news on Saturday. Yesterday morning, Chase Utley talked about the severity of his knee injury and the cortisone shot the second baseman received on Friday.

Although Utley’s injury appears to just be patellar tendinitis, something Utley has even had in the past, there were concerns on the lack of progress Utley has been making and how long Utley will be out with the injury.

“I don’t think at this point I’d be much help to our team or to myself,” Utley told the Inquirer, “But the goal is to get this better. There’s still three weeks left in spring training and probably 190 games left in the season.”

If last season can be any indication on what Utley can be dealing with, the news is not good. A’s outfielder Ryan Sweeney had to get season ending surgery in July and Milton Bradley had to get season ending surgery in August. If you are optimistic, Josh Hamilton played through the injury and won AL MVP.

Outfielder Ben Francisco celebrates with Juan Samuel after his homer against Pittsburgh on Saturday. He looks to be the replacement for Dom Brown. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

With Brown out of the lineup for up to six weeks, and Utley being out indefinitely, the question becomes, who will replace them?

Brown’s replacement shouldn’t be too hard to find. Ben Francisco – he was arguably winning the right fielder starting job even before Brown’s injury – has had a great Spring thus far.

Francisco has 8 hits in 19 at bats so far (don’t hurt yourself kids that’s a .421 batting average) and these aren’t just singles either. Francisco has two doubles, a triple, and two home runs.

Francisco isn’t the only outfielder batting in the .400’s. Delwyn Young, who was with the Pirates last year, has 7 hits in 17 at bats which is good enough for a .412 average. John Mayberry, Jr. is also having a good spring. He is batting a solid .294 with a double, a homerun, and two walks.

Unfortunately if Ibanez keeps hitting the way he his hitting, (which is essentially not hitting at all) the Phillies may need to look for more outfielders. Ibanez only has 3 hits in 17 at bats.
Finding a replacement for Utley shouldn’t be too difficult either.

As mentioned above, Delwyn Young is hitting great right now. Luckily for the Phillies he can play second base too. Last year Young played in the outfield, at second, and at third base. Being able to play third is great for the Phillies too because it gives the Phillies the option to let Placido Polanco play second base. As most of you know, Polanco played second base during his first stint here with the Phillies. Polanco is batting .267 this spring, but Polanco is one of the game’s most consistent hitters. He is a lifetime .303 hitter. If Polanco is asked to play second, there would be little to no drop at all as far as average goes.

As we learned last year with the injury to Jimmy Rollins, Wilson ValDOES can do anything. Literally anything. Not only is Valdez having a great spring with a .417 average, but he can play short stop, second base, outfield, and probably pitch too.

Moral of the story? No need to panic just yet. It looks like this team is deeper then we originally thought, and the Phillies should be ok for a short period of time. If both injuries, especially the Utley injury become a season long injury, we might have a problem.

That problem of course is not with finding someone in the Phillies organization to play second or play outfield, but the problem will be having to listen to Michael Young trade rumors all summer.


5 Teams to Watch in the AL

Yankees – They’re the 2009 World Series champions and still kept intact the solid nucleus that got them there. They traded top prospects to land centerfielder Curtis Granderson, a much better defensive asset than Johnny Damon. They also traded Melky Cabrera to the Braves for Javier Vazquez to bolster the starting rotation. With guys like C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Brunett, and Andy Pettitte, the Yankees boast a very good pitching unit. Mariano Rivera is still the best closer in the game and the aging offense led by Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira can still put a ton of runs up on the score board. If things go right, they could have another parade down Broadway.

Red Sox – The pitching is truly phenomenal. Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Daisuke Matsuzaka form the best top-four in baseball. The offense is led by top young stars Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. Marco Scutaro is hoping to end the revolving door at the short stop position and Adrian Beltre is an offensive upgrade at third. Offensive depth is the only thing that should concern the Sox but they have the pitching to get the job done. David Ortiz is a shell of his old self but it still the DH.

Twins – It’s safe to say that Joe Mauer is the scariest hitter in the AL. The reigning MVP is one of the reasons Minnesota is buzzing prior to the 2010 season. Along with a new outdoor park and a very dangerous lineup featuring Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, and Michael Cuddyer, the fans and Twins have high expectations for this year. The only problem with them this year though is pitching. If their starters can have decent years, they could beat out Detroit for the division.

Mariners – Seattle is truly going to be a serious contender in the AL. The addition of Cliff Lee, Chone Figgins, and Milton Bradley will revamp a pitching staff and offense in need of fire power. Lee became a hot pitcher again after his last season transformation with the Phillies and will look to create a formidable 1-2 punch with Felix Hernandez. Figgins will add speed and Bradley will look to add power to a Mariners lineup that hit 160 homer (12th in the AL) last season.

Angels – Surely they make their case for a serious playoff contender every year but there has to be a breaking point. They improved an already solid lineup with Hideki Matsui and bolstered their bull pen with Fernando Rodney but the team still doesn’t jump out at anyone. The core of the offense is aging in Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, and Matsui and they lost Figgins to the division rival Mariners. Jared Weaver, Joe Saunders, and newly acquired Joel Pineiro will need to have season like 2009 to give the Mariners a fighting chance in an AL crowded with contenders.

East: Yankees
Central: Twins
West: Mariners
Wild Card: Red Sox

Pennant: Yankees over Mariners