Aaaaah as we sit here in the middle of a winter in the Northeast, we can all warm up a little bit by thinking about how our Philadelphia Phillies start the defense of their 2007 NL East Division Title, as pitchers and catchers reported yesterday.
There is not much at stake this spring training for the Philadelphia Phillies, only a couple of middle relief decisions, maybe a # 5 starter spot up for grabs. This spring training is more about working the kinks out, staying healthy, and gazing at the trimmer, 20 pound in the pants lighter, Charlie Manager.
The Phillies top 4 starters are set; Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Kyle Kendrick, and ageless Jamie Moyer are in the rotation. The # 5 spot seems to be Adam Eaton’s to lose, which we all know he is very capable of doing. He will be one of the few guys to really take stock in his spring performance as last years rookie call up, JD Durbin, has been “told” he is still in contention for a starting spot. Barring a complete melt down (again) from Mr. Eaton, he should be the number 5 starter to begin the ’08 season. With the newly acquired Kris Benson waiting in the wings in Triple A, hopefully Eaton gets his act together and earns his paycheck this year.
As for the bullpen, it will be nice to see newly acquired closer Brad Lidge impress during spring training. It’ll also be interesting to see how Tom Gordon comes back from an injury riddled 2007, and see if he can once again become the dominate set up man he was for Mariano Rivera. The bullpen consisting of; Ryan Madsen, JC Romero, JD Durbin, Matt Smith, and Scott Mathieson, will soon fill out, and we will get to find out what we are working with this year. With 4, probably 5 spots open out of those Madsen and Romero are locks, with Smith and Mathieson all but anchored in. Look for Durbin to start season in AAA, being the first call up due to injury by either a starter or reliever.
The line-up is set with maybe the only battle being in right field. Will it become a straight up platoon with newly acquired Geoff Jenkins and Jayson Werth based on pitching match ups, or will one player be able to rise above and set themselves apart as needing to be the everyday starter? Other then that, everyone will be looking to get their timing down, getting in shape and staying healthy for opening day.