Sunday, March 18, 2012

Forecast: Cloudy

Right now the last 25 men standing are going north with the Phillies in a few weeks.  All kidding aside, manager Charlie Manuel bristled yesterday when asked about "bodies", meaning healthy ones.  Charlie can bristle all he wants; they are in short supply in Clearwater.

Three quarters of the infield is currently out indefinitely, inscrutably or, hopefully,  temporarily.  Only Jimmy Rollins, who was almost out of the picture permanently last off-season, appears healthy and ready to go.  Even Mini Mart, who frankly should have been out instead of Wilson Valdez, isn't 100%.  Will anyone notice in his case?

Then there was the lackluster performance by Roy Halladay last week, prompting speculation about his velocity, strength and stamina (the pitcher admitted to being "gassed" after his last stint) and prompting a no-nonsense response by the veteran right-hander as to the value of such conjecturing. 

There have been several pleasant surprises this Spring.  Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton have pitched well.  One of them, probably Blanton, can expect to be offered for some infield help if he keeps it up.  Vance Worley has looked good.  Freddy Galvis has looked ready to make the leap to the big club, especially given how much the infield is in a shambles.  It isn't certain he can hit big league pitching, but his glove is ready for the show and at the very least the Phils are going to need someone who can catch the ball.

Jim Thome has worn something other than a batting glove for the first time in memory.  He reported feeling quite sore after bending down a few innings.  The notion he will see some time in the field at first base seems pretty far-fetched at this point.  Charlie should probably consider using up a few pitchers at first base in a tight, extra-inning game before going to the big guy.  We can't have first basemen feeling sore after bending over.  I don't even want to imagine what he'd feel or, for that matter, look like chasing a pop fly down the foul line towards the stands.

John Mayberry hasn't gotten un-tracked, but still deserves the starting nod in left-field and/or first base.  Scott Podsednik appears to have won a spot on the roster.  Lance Nyx remains missing in action.  Domonic Brown appears headed for another round of seasoning in AAA.  If he doesn't get his act together there this year he is in real danger of being a phenom who never made it.

It's very difficult to get a read on this club's prospects at this juncture.