Fans in the Delaware Valley were treated to their first live glimpse of the Phillies this afternoon. Beerleaguer sat down with fellow blogger Tom Goyne of Balls Sticks & Stuff to soak up the action.
Outfield depth: For Phillies GM Pat Gillick, it must be difficult making judgments after a few spring training games, but if one deficiency is brought to light, based on today's broadcast, it should be the inadequacy of their outfield situation.
The Phillies have three outfielders ready to compete at an acceptable level, and they all have starting jobs. It looks like there is some rust on Jayson Werth. To say he didn't look comfortable would be putting it mildly. It’s not a stretch to believe that Werth, who missed all of last season with a wrist injury, is below Chris Roberson’s level of overall readiness. Karim Garcia, competing for a job as the final outfielder, also dropped a couple bad swings in his at bats.
Warden: Only Phillies bloggers get excited by Rule 5 picks and say things like "It's Jim Ed Warden time!" We were anxious to see the 6-7 side-armer deal, but he had no command on this day. In between, we saw one or two wicked change-ups against right-handers that looked impossible to hit, but left-handers will murder him, and did today.
Condrey: I caught Clay Condrey’s 1-2-3 on radio, and Scott Franzke reminded listeners that the right-hander is out of options. Larry Andersen is a Condrey supporter and liked what he saw last season. Condrey's a mop-up candidate, whether we like it or not.
Lineup: Today’s lineup was probably a season preview. Shane Victorino hit second, Pat Burrell fifth, Wes Helms sixth and Aaron Rowand seventh. Burrell and Helms had the best at bats today, and Ryan Howard had a couple well-struck balls.
Barajas: Talking with announcers during the home half of the fifth, we were impressed with Rod Barajas’ attitude and understanding of the role he's being asked to play. Phrases like "pitching staff" will eventually become "my staff," which is what the Phillies wanted.
Rowand's swing: Goyne and I will never be mistaken for hitting instructors, but in our humble blogger opinion, the quirk in Rowand's swing, and the reason he gets hit by so many pitches, is because he has stubs for arms. Goyne compares him to a weeble wobble at the plate.
Weight and fitness: One poster in the previous thread said he was disappointed with Howard’s weight gain. That comment should be dismissed. If anything, Howard packed on muscle like several others who worked out in Philadelphia during the offseason. Rowand, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley are included in that group, and look great. I was most impressed with Shane Victorino, who appears to have added about 20 pounds of muscle mass. Helms is another player who showed up ready to play.
Like they say, it's a marathon, not a sprint. The Phillies are preparing to go deep into October, which means building themselves physically in winter. Along with Cole Hamels' solid debut, their visible physical readiness was the best part of an otherwise forgettable broadcast debut.
Not sure what that says about Sarge, but it can't be good.