Lidge ahead of schedule: Closer Brad Lidge is ahead of schedule to be ready to pitch by opening day. He threw off of a mound today, throwing only 20 fastballs. Pitching coach Rich Dubee doesn’t want Lidge throwing any sliders yet. A bull pen session could be in store for Lidge next Thursday.
“[Originally] two weeks behind … I feel like I’m ahead of that now,” Lidge said. “My arm is weak right now but strength is something that comes naturally. I didn’t come out and feel 100% but I didn’t expect that. My lower half is feeling strong. That’s an encouraging sign.”
UPDATE: Phillies and Joe Blanton reach a three-year deal worth $24 million Alden Gonzalez reported. The extension will lock up Blanton through 2012, or when the world ends. The news conference will be at 5PM today. This is excellent. The Phillies now have Blanton along with Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and JA Happ locked up through at least 2012 (Halladay locked in until 2013).
This is semi-old news but still worth mentioning: Jimmy Rollins is getting married this weekend in Grand Cayman on a beach on Saturday to his fiancée, fitness instructor Johari Smith. Some team mates including Ryan Howard and the recently married Shane Victorino will join Rollins in Grand Cayman for the ceremony. Congratulations Young James. While in Grand Cayman a couple days ago, an earthquake measuring in at 5.8 on the Richter Scale hit. Rollins sent a text message to Phillies officials that he was okay but had to evacuate the building he was in.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement, “Consumers who want to switch video providers shouldn’t have to give up their favorite team.”
Philadelphia-area sports fans have clamored for the rule change for years. Brad Bierman, 52, a media consultant from Willow Grove, said the FCC “finally realizes that consumers have the right to decide how they want television delivered into their home.”
I 100% agree with this statement. It isn’t fair at all for those who want a certain cable provider and may have to sacrifice watching their favorite Philadelphia sports team in order to switch.
Chad Durbin avoids salary arbitration. Agrees to a $2.125 million contract.
Durbin was 2-2 with a 4.39 ERA in 59 appearances and 69.2 innings pitched for the Phillies last year. This is an okay move. It will sure-up another spot in the bull pen, allowing the Phils to relax in their search to get as many arms as possible to compete for a spot. He also isn’t a terrible pitcher and has room to improve on his often shaky year he had in 2009.
A few interesting things happened today. First let’s focus on the positive. Todd Zolecki named Jimmy Rollins his “Player of the Decade” today, and deservedly so. Of the logical choices, he was the only player to play for the Phillies all 10 years (was a rookie in 2000) and was one of two to win a NL MVP (2007). He led the organization in games (1,406), at-bats (5,941), runs (945), hits (1,629), doubles (350), triples (95) and stolen bases (326). He ranked fourth in RBIs (621), behind Pat Burrell (827), Bobby Abreu (647) and Ryan Howard (640). He ranked fifth in home runs, behind Burrell (251), Howard (222), Chase Utley (161) and Abreu (158). Ading to his World Series ring and NL MVP are his three Gold Glove Awards and one Silver Slugger Award. He also played in three All-Star Games.
Not to rain on the parade but we have a new Billy Wagner to look forward to and this time it comes in the form of Brett Myers. The former Phillie and current headcase said that he wants to “stick it” to the Phillies when he returns this year.
From the AP:
“I wanted to go back to Philadelphia, but they didn’t show an interest, they had other obligations, which is fine with me,” Myers said. He then promised to “stick it” to the Phillies every time he faces them.
Brett, you proved you were a good pitcher here and the fans and organization were thankful for it. The reason you didn’t come back was YOUR fault. You had the injury problems. You got into a fight at a bar or fell out of your truck or got hit by a baseball by your kid or whatever excuse you flew with. You cried about being left off the post season roster and then did nothing when you were on. All of that was just this past season! How about I bring up when you dragged your wife through the streets of Boston or that you were so bad as a starter you were a closer for one year.
I’ll be classier than you and wish you the best of luck in the “Land of Misfit Phils,” but the only “sticking to” that’s going to be done when you come back home is when Ryan Howard sticks your low-90’s fastball into the third deck in right field.
Well this was an interesting day so far and it’s only noon. First off, Placido Polanco was almost not going to return to the Phillies. The Phils contacted 8-year veteran Orlando Hudson of the Dodgers about making the switch from second to third but were denied. With that answer, they pursued and signed Polanco. Very interesting. I am much more pleased with the results we got now.
Now who here remembers this joker? Well for those who don’t, Matthew Mervine, 22, is the same idiot who tried to steal three World Series rings from the Phillies front office in October. How was he caught? He left a job application. Now he has a warrant for his arrest because he skipped a hearing yesterday. This, people, is the true definition of “dumbass.”
If the Phillies were to sign him, they would have to cough up a first-round pick because he is a Type-A player, meaning that the orginazation he previously played for will get compinsated for his loss. The Phillies were also targeting Adrian Beltre and Mark DeRosa, two candidates I strongly wanted to see here too.
Last season, Polanco batted 285 with 10 home runs and 72 RBI’s with Detroit. He hit .341 in 2007 and .307 in ’08. His average has slightly dropped the past two years but with moving back to the hitter-friendly park in Philly, his power numbers could rise a bit. He could very well bat .300 with 15-20 homers and 75-80 RBI’s next year and he would be an instant upgrade.
At this stage in his career, Polanco has no problem switching to third, something he didn’t want to do four years ago when Chase Utley turned into the star he is today. Polanco brings a great glove, winning two Gold Gloves in the last three seasons at second, and has chemistry with Ryan Howard, Utley, and Jimmy Rollins already.
NOTE: In Todd Zolecki’s article, he said Polanco could bat second in the line up. This is tough because Shane Victorino produces his best in the spot but Polanco gets on base more than Victorino and Rollins.
In an act of revenge for the Chris Coste signing (not really), the Phillies signed former Mets catcher Brian Schneider to a 2-year deal worth about $3 million. The left-handed Schneider hit .218 last season in 59 games with the New York Mets, but hit .382 (13-for-34) in his final 13 games. He missed 41 games earlier in the season with a strained back muscle.
This is a great signing for the Phillies. They have their first really reliable back-up catcher since Johnny Estrada. He will add a decent bat and solid defense, something the Phillies have lacked in that position. Coste had a better bat then Schneider but defense is what the Phillies are interested in and Scheider is an improvement from Coste and Paul Bako in that category.
Jamie Moyer was sent back to the hospital after reoccurring symptoms from his groin injury back in September according to Todd Zoleckia via Twitter. Moyer tore his groin when trying to field a ground ball back in September.
Also according to Zolecki, the Phillies signed outfielder DeWayne Wise and infielder Wilson Valdez to minor league contracts and also brought back catcher Paul Hoover and infielder Andy Tracy to minor league contracts.
Zolecki had this to say on these four guys:
• Outfielder DeWayne Wise, who preserved Mark Buehrle’s perfect game in July with a leaping catch at the wall in the ninth inning at U.S. Cellular Field, hit .225 with two home runs and 11 RBIs in 142 at-bats last season for the Chicago White Sox. He is a .216 career hitter in seven seasons in the Majors.
• Infielder Wilson Valdez, who hit .256 with seven RBIs in 86 at-bats for the New York Mets. He is a career .222 in four seasons in the Majors.
• Infielder Andy Tracy, who hit .417 in 12 at-bats for the Phillies.
• Catcher Paul Hoover, who had three hits in four at-bats in three games for the Phillies.
I doubt Hoover was the answer to the Phillies back-up catching problems. Tracy didn’t play that much either and won’t be a huge factor either. Both he and Hoover are in their mid-30’s and are insurance guys.
Wise is 31 but is an exceptional fielder. He may make the team as a late-inning defensive substitution so Ben Francisco can be used in pinch-hitting situations. Valdez will likely play a similar role to the first two.