The home team fell to 4-10-1 in Grapefruit League play yesterday. They also have a losing record this spring in discovering emerging talent.
Yesterday, we talked about spring training, what it means and whether it should be seen as a reliable gauge for what we can expect next season. From Charlie Manuel’s point of view, spring training is about finding someone who can step forward, surprise him and stake his claim to one of the few available openings, specifically in the bullpen or in the fifth starter slot.
Michael Bourn, Greg Dobbs and Chris Coste are among those who opened eyes the previous two springs, but for the most part, it hasn’t happened here. Yesterday, the Phillies trimmed Rule 5 pick Lincoln Holdzkom from the active roster, and smart money says they’ll do the same with fellow Rule 5er Travis Blackley. Other candidates, like J.D. Durbin, Chad Durbin, Clay Condrey and Fabio Castro, have been inconsistent.
According to the Inquirer, one of the few pitchers who’s impressed, Francisco Rosario, will be given a start Friday against the Braves. The report actually says he will start today’s game, but it appears Jamie Moyer will take his regular turn tonight against the Reds. It might have been a typo.
If the report is correct, I’m glad to see it, although it’s unclear what it actually means. Are they stretching him out against experienced hitters they way they did with Ryan Madson last night, or is he auditioning for fifth starter? Chances are, the beat writers will find out more in the next day or so.
Oddly, I’m finding myself pulling for Rosario more than any darkhorse in camp. There’s a scenario kicking around my head where the right-hander earns a handful of starts before Kris Benson is ready. He gives them a quality start or two, then folds back into the bullpen once Benson is added. If the Phils can milk anything close to that from the 27-year-old Dominican, add another to name to the list of value contributors made by Pat Gillick and company.