With spring training just underway, having started on the voluntary reporting date of February 14, the Phillies’ training camp is abuzz with excitement anticipating the start of the exhibition season in 8 days and the 2008 season beginning soon. end of March.
On February 14, voluntary reporting day, the Phillies made it official that pitcher Kris Benson, who missed the 2007 season due to recovery from right shoulder rotator cuff surgery in March 2007, had joined the fold.
Benson, who accepted a minor league contract, could earn just over $5 million in salary, signing bonuses and incentives based on time on the active roster, innings pitched and starts should he make the roster. .
As long as he’s fully recovered and fit to join the starting rotation, I project him as at least the fourth starter in a rotation of lefty Cole Hamels – chiropractor and all, Brett Myers, Kyle Kendrick with 45-year veteran lefty Jamie Moyer as the 5th starter. As for Adam Eaton, he was an absolute disaster last season with an astronomical 6.29 ERA. Hopefully, Benson will be a big improvement over Eaton’s performance in 2007, though the Phillies expect a substantial improvement from Eaton as well.
Meanwhile, with Ryan Howard’s salary arbitration hearing just a couple of days away, the great slugging first baseman is relaxed despite a $3 million gap between his $10 million asking price and the offer from the player. $7 million club. On the third day of training, Howard was in high spirits while conducting the regiment’s exercise and in brief conversations with the press. He notes that he showed up for camp;
Losing 15 pounds from last spring, he spoke after his workout, in which he spent at least 30 minutes working on his defense.
The cheerful Howard doesn’t worry or let a potential arbitration hearing get in the way of preparing and anticipating the new season.
In fact, as they focus on preparing for their upcoming NL East title defense, the entire club is so relaxed that they’ve let Carlos’ “Mets: The Team to Beat” boast go by without a word. Beltran, unlike the Mets’ terrified response to Jimmy. Rollins’ boast from last winter. The Phils are still living up to Rollins’ prediction that the Phillies will win 100 games in 2008.
How lazy is this team? Check out this Yahoo story about second-year starter Kyle Kendrick “trading” to Japan in a $1.5 million deal;
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick was surprised to learn that he had been traded to the Yomiuri Giants in Japan for a player named “Kobayashi Iwamura.”
“I don’t know what to think right now,” he told reporters outside his locker shortly after receiving the word from assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
If he had really been thinking, he would have realized that such dealings are prohibited. And with a little digging he might have discovered that there is no Kobayashi Iwamura playing in Japan.
The “exchange” was, in fact, a joke. The scheme was orchestrated by pitcher Brett Myers and was elaborate enough to include Amaro, manager Charlie Manuel, Kendrick’s agent, the media and others.
If you want to laugh your ass off, check out this YouTube video of how this “trade” got off the ground. Imagine being traded, as Myers put it in the punchline, for Kobayashi, “for a hot dog eater.” Kendrick – actually punked.
Even reliever Tom Gordon reported to camp feeling substantially better than he did last spring.
Philly.com’s Todd Zolecki reports on Gordon;
Due to shoulder problems and a respiratory infection, Gordon missed two months last season and pitched 40 innings.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he planned to monitor Gordon’s usage early on so he stays strong throughout the season. The right-hander believes that he will remain strong and hopes that Manuel will not take care of him. He would prefer to pitch as often as possible.
Gordon used a new shoulder program over the winter to get stronger.
“It’s really strenuous,” Gordon said. “I worked hard to make it stronger. I should stay away from things that caused me pain.”