Scott Lauber of The News Journal in Delaware offered the first report of competitive batting practice yesterday, with a couple of key pitchers looking sharp early. [Link]
Antonio Alfonseca, a candidate for setup man, "blew fastballs by outfielders Aaron Rowand, Shane Victorino and Pat Burrell," according to Lauber’s report. Pitching coach Rich Dubee also said Alfonseca's stuff was reminiscent of his years in Florida, when the big right-hander was the Marlins' closer. In addition, manager Charlie Manuel said he likes what he sees from sixth starter Jon Lieber, who is reportedly on the trade block. Then again, what else is Cholly going to say?
In the box, Ryan Howard hit his first home run of spring, going deep off reliever Brian Sanches. Lauber maintains a comprehensive blog, with three or four daily entries from Clearwater. Well worth a visit.
We've got our first option of spring, and an injury setback to a bullpen hopeful. Yoel Hernandez was optioned to Triple-A Ottawa. The 26-year-old right-hander missed most of last season with a bum shoulder. Also, left-hander Eude Brito is on the shelf with injuries he suffered in a car wreck a month ago, according to the Inquirer. That would almost certainly guarantee he will not break camp with the Phils. He has not pitched yet. In addition, Matt Smith agreed to contract terms, as did outfielder Shane Victorino.
Abreu: Back on the Phillies, I was ‘The Man’
Bobby Abreu was interviewed on Yankees.com and had this to say: "Everyone in this lineup is a star," Abreu said. "Back on the Phillies, I was 'The Man' -- the one everyone pointed to over the years. It's a good thing to be here, because sometimes you'll make a mistake, and you can deal with that. On the other side [with Philadelphia], when you made a mistake, everybody pointed at you." [Link]