A summary of player updates straight from the horse's mouth.
Kyle Kendrick: Manuel believes he will be very good because he keeps his poise, and is glad to see he gained about 7-8 pounds of muscle. Manuel thinks if he continues to get bigger and stronger, he will touch 92-95 mph. Manuel thinks he’s going to be just fine.
Eric Bruntlett: Bench coach Jimy Williams, who managed in Houston, assured Manuel that he feels very strongly about Bruntlett’s ability to defend third base.
Setup situation: Manuel envisions a flexible eighth inning between Tom Gordon, J.C. Romero and occasionally Ryan Madson. Flash will get some closing time to give Brad Lidge a blow. He views Romero as someone who can go more than an inning depending how the opposing lineups fall with left/right matchups. Madson will be looked at to pitch anywhere from the sixth through the eighth. Getting leads, and establishing an early routine, will be key.
Chad Durbin: Durbin has learned how to be a complete pitcher, and the reports to Manuel are he can definitely pitch the sixth and seventh innings.
J.D. Durbin: Will be given a shot in the bullpen.
Travis Blackley: Will be looked at for the bullpen, in a low-pressure role.
Adam Eaton: Eaton is currently working out, according to the trainer. Manuel said he won 10 games, but was inconsistent, and toward the end of the season, there was shoulder soreness.
Brett Myers: Manuel wants him to concentrate on starting and doesn’t want him to think about relief.
Lineup against Tim Hudson: Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, Burrell, Jenkins, Dobbs, Ruiz. Will move Victorino down to six or seven sometimes. Will slide Jenkins fifth depending on the situation.
Brad Lidge: It’s no secret Manuel likes hard throwers like Lidge at the back end of the bullpen. Lidge brings 94-98 mph heat. “If we lose a game with Brad Lidge pitching, then so be it,” Manuel said. “Go up and hit a 92-93 mph slider. He can tell you it’s coming, and he ain’t going to hit it. I say skin the ball and let it go.”
(Part seven in a series of small reports from Thursday’s Winter Tour in Reading.)