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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

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Thanks to Billy Mac for his reports from Spring Training this week. BM soaked up six rain-free games during his trip, and will be returning north to the blistering cold tomorrow. Great work, BM!

Nice spot reporting, Billy Mac. At least the word on the pitching vets is positive. If Gordon and not Smith would have been lit up like that, there'd be panic in the streets.

Who knew the biggest question of spring training would become: can the Phillies play an exhibition game in which 23 runs are not scored after the seventh inning?

I would not want to be Danny Sandoval tonight. Would you?

Thanks, BM.

On the previous thread I got the impression that many of you thought David Bell had ordered HGH, when in fact he HCG, or did I miss something?

Based on the performance of the AAA slated players in camp, let's hope the callups are minimal this year.

RSB, the quote Carson from a few threads ago:

"Danny Sandoval is a no-talent ass-clown."

Hey is Alfonseca scheduled to pitch soon? I think that he will have a solid comeback season. Hey, does anyone know if espn's insider preview on the phills says anything interesting?

AWH: I understand the difference. I brought up HGH because it's currently undetectable, and therefore suspicion about it remains just that.

A few other items: Pat Burrell was scratched because of treatment for his stiff back. This will be a bigger story if he doesn't play again today against the Blue Jays. He's only played the outfield a few innings so far -- being mostly used as a DH. Aaron Rowand had some really bad at bats recently. He was 0-4 against the Pirates striking out twice. He struck out twice the day before to minor league pitchers in the B game against Toronto. Juan, Alfonseca pitched Friday against Cleveland and Monday against Toronto in the B game. He's been solid so far in both outings. My guess is he'll go again Thursday, since they have 2 games (Cleveland and another B game against Toronto).

Rowand strikes out a ton for a man with little power. He has difficulty swinging the bat because he lacks shoulders...seriously put out an APB on those things.

Hopefully this back thing with Burrell isnt' a real concern and the Phils are only holding him out of the games because they're meaningless.

Speaking of meaningless...Danny Sandoval!

Off topic with a slight Phils tie in. Maybe old news here. I just read that Matt White , who is trying out for the Dodgers (and former Scranton pitcher) could be baseball's first billionaire. He purchased 50 acres of land in Massachusetts that was unknowingly loaded with stone that is being sold for $100 / ton. It is estimated there is $2 Billion of stone on his property. Google Matt White billionaire and you'll see the stories.

Jody MacDonald podcast with Jim Salisbury from Inky from yesterday.

1. Discusses 3/6 game against Bucs
2. Bench spot competition
3. Howard's contract
4. Mentioned Dice-K will pitch March 31st against Phils at CBP -- final exhibition game.

http://www.gmppodcast.com/WPEN/JodyMac/tabid/59/Default.aspx

I'd rather see Andrew Dice-K than that dude for teh BoSox...just kidding. The only reason I'll be rooting for Dice-K this season is I hate the Yanks.

AWH: hGH (or HGH) is the acronymn for human growth hormone, a class of drugs that mimics substances produced in the body. HCG is human chorionic gonadotropin, one of many human growth hormones. It is used by athletes to maintain testosterone production while taking steroids. To my knowledge there is no evidence that Bell was taking steroids. The pharmacy order was simply for HCG, which is an hGH not a steroid.

More boring information: hGH is most commonly used in reference to a specific hormone secreted by the pituitary gland, which stimulates growth. HCG is the drug analog to the hormone produced by the placenta. It mimics the hormone that stimulates the production of testosterone. But both fall under the generic description of human growth hormones as opposed to steroids. The subtances were banned in 2005.

Didn't the phils say they were going to take it easy with Burrell this preseason - even before the back things started?

Thanks for the links to Matt White and the Salisbury podcast, Mac. I'll put the White thing in a post if time permits.

As for the Salisbury interview, the meat and potatoes version on Howard is this year may have represented a "look in the crystal ball," and he would put money on Howard going to the arbitration table next season if a long-term deal isn't worked out. In the meantime, he urges fans not to worry about his play this season, but joins the chorus in believing the Phils should have symbolically stretched the contract to $1 million. After giving it some thought, I would agree.

In addition, Salisbury would be reluctant to deal Lieber for a warm bullpen body because starting pitching depth is at a premium. He also raises the point that a major league team is more like 28 players instead of 25, and says Coste could be pushed out at first, but come in handy later. He implied the Phils are probably leaning toward the two lefty bats in Dobbs and Garcia.

If I hear one more thing about Dice-K, I'm going to the casino. I am totally sick of hearing about this guy. And that is a lame nickname, even if it is the way his name is pronounced, no excuse.

Steroids: I take back everything bad I ever said about anyone who used steroids or HGH. If David Bell was juicing, its obvious it does not affect performance. And if it does, I would hate to see how bad Bell really is.

Billy Mac: His land may be technically worth billions, but from what I read he is looking at a buyout of several hundred million. Because of how expensive the process of extracting the shale from the soil, he will not net the total value of the property. Still a hundred million is nothing to laugh about. I'd like to have that to take to the casino.

Clout: Question: Are you saying both HGH AND HCG were banned, or just HGH?

If there is any indication that the bull pen is not up to snuff (i.e. Matt Smith) I would still try to trade a starter. Would Moyer be a possability? I'd say Eaton but he just got here. If Leiber is pitching lights out may be he is having a comeback year. That would be big for the Phils.

Little disappointed by the front office not giving him the million, but I think eventually the big pay day is coming. He deserved to get a million though I think.

Jason: Just hGH, the specific growth hormone related to the pituitary. According to Salisbury's column today, the hormone that Bell received is NOT banned, but it raises suspicions because it is used in conjunction with steroids. There is no test for growth hormones and thus no way to detect cheaters.

on rowand, if you recall, he had a horrible spring last year and started slow, but picked it up considerably until he got hurt. if he's healthy, i'm not worried about him. yes he Ks, but for a 7-hole hitter, he's not so bad. i'm more owrried about nunez and barajas each getting 300 ABs this season.

Someone on the last thread said an outfield of Rowand, Victorino and Bourn would hit 40 HR. I think it would be more like 20.

40 is a bit high, but 20 is definitely low, given that Vic hit 6 in a little over 400 ABs and Rowand 12 in about the same amount of ABs. (415 and 405 respectively, Utley had 658 as an everyday guy) Unless of course Bourne could actually hit negative HRs, to my knowledge that would be a first.

I realize it is a little unorthodox, but given that we had three infielders hit 115 (Utley, Howard, Rollins) and Helms if he plays every day should add 20 or so more, I don’t think it would be the end of the world to have speed and D in the OF.

Of course it would be the ultimate in irony given that it would be a configuration best suited to a much bigger park. (Speaking of distance from HP to the walls not capacity)

Rememeber even if someone "sucks" and they are on HGH it does not mean it isn't effective. A big thing about HGH is about faster recovery from injury or normal day2day wear. At the one end of the spectrum are guys like Bonds./Canseco who workout like crazy, thereby we see the physical effects. If used alone HGH's effect is not obvious to the eye, but nonetheless still effective.

So Maller reports Burrell now has a bad back and needs to start wearing contacts? Hopefully this doesn't mean that Burrell isn't able to make it on the field.

As much as people bemoan Burrell's flaws, this team would take a huge offensive hit if Burrell can only play in 80-100 games. I really don't want to see alot of Werth or Garcia in LF this year.

OK, so it would be 25. Either way, it's a joke. I have no problem playing 2 low-power, high-speed OFs, but three is suicidal. Small ball is not going to win many games at CBP.

MLB Gameday link for today's game vs. Toronto:
http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/y2006/gd.html?2007_03_07_tormlb_phimlb_1&brand=mlb

Phils are sending out their projected opening day starting lineup, albeit including a DH, of course. Myers vs. Chacin on the mound to start with.

Well, Ruiz is catching instead of Barajas so it is yet to be determined if that will be the same on opening day.

Thanks, BM. Great Job!!!

Tony: There's really no way I can allow that tidbit on my site without a substantive source. Once you have one, post again.

My bad Jason. Won't happen again.

Thanks for the link Josh.

Is it just me or does it look like Brett Myers was about to kick the #$^% out of the photographer that took that pic? Damn.

And the hitters for Toronto all have big goofy smiles on their faces. I have no idea why this amuses me so much.

Tony: No problem. Don't sweat it.

The headline of Bill Conlin's column says it all: "Phils put Selig's happiness ahead of Howard's." I don't mean to belabor a point that's already been made plenty, but the Phillies are just embarrassingly stupid sometimes. I'll reiterate that this is a harsh dose of reality after the Utley and Myers deals perhaps led some to believe that the organization was showing signs of getting its collective head together. Rest assured, it's stuck as deeply in the sand as ever. And it puts Howard in a difficult situation. Do you suppose he doesn't think of all the endless goodwill appearances and commercials and ads and promos and merchandising the Phillies are using him for, and get bitter about it? Yet, what can he do? If he opens his mouth, he'll become labeled as a malcontent and the team and public will use it against him. The Phillies, rather than go a little out of their way to show appreciation for what Howard has meant to them and their bankbook, instead squeezed every ounce of advantage they have over Howard at this stage of his career. And Amaro wants to have us believe this is somehow 'appropriate'. It isn't. If I were Ryan Howard, I would be pissed off. Did that really need to happen?

And speaking of over-merchandising: as much as I love Harry Kalas, they are really over-doing it with his screaming homerun calls on every single radio commercial. I'm not getting goosebumps, I'm getting earplugs.

RSB, you want to talk about squeezing every ounce of an advantage, the Phils aren't even close to the Yankees. 19-game winner and Cy Young runner-up Chien-Ming Wang is making just over $350k in 2007. batting title contender Robinson Cano? just over $380k.

I thought Rob Neyer put it well: "I don't think players 'deserve' any more than is contractually owed them. The Phillies gave Howard roughly 550K more than they had to, which is fine. We'll see if Howard is as generous when he's got the hammer."

there's virtually nothing to complain about in re the Phillies actions, unless we're really going to argue about the symbolic importance of another $100k.

I fall somewhere in the middle on Howard, but the flaw in Neyer's argument is that what Howard has done in two seasons - win ROY and MVP - is unprecedented.

well, unprecedented except for Cal Ripken. and Fred Lynn did him one better by winning both the same year. (Ichiro too, but obviously that's a different scenario.)

ae: I stand corrected. Nevertheless, that's some pretty special company.

undoubtedly, I wasn't trying to argue anything less. I don't disagree that Howard deserves a payday - and I think you're probably right that Neyer is a little dismissive (but then as fans we are probably less than objective).

I wonder what kind of raise Pujols would have gotten in an alternate universe where there was no Barry Bonds, since he would have followed up his ROY with at least two MVP awards.

A symbolic gesture is the most invaluable kind. What costs less than a compliment? Yet how much do you like hearing them? Someone pointed out that $950K would have done the trick, because then at least he'd top Pujols. Those bragging rights are a big deal in the clubhouse. Let's put it this way -- it's not as if the extra $50K would be coming straight out of Montgomery's pocket. And he stands to have his pockets lightened by a lot more than that when, as Neyer put it, Howard holds the hammer. It was a timid, short-sighted move, and from the Phillies I usually expect exactly that.

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