Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel said that Rule 5 pick Michael Martinez made one of the best defensive plays he's ever seen Saturday in Lakeland.
Let's cut to the chase. Michael Martinez is making the team. From Jim Salisbury's recent piece: “Let me tell you something," Manuel said, "if he (Martinez) plays defense in the big leagues like he has here he'll have no trouble playing. He made some plays [at shortstop in Lakeland on Saturday]. He made three or four plays, a couple of them were off the chart. One of them might have been the best play I've ever seen. But there again, you have to have consistency. Spring training is different than the major leagues. Spring training is a hell of a lot different. I mean big-time different. Ten-thousand-to-one different.” Adding credence was all the face time and positive mentions the Rule 5 pick received during yesterday's telecast. Chris Wheeler was all over Martinez's energy and spirit and suggested that he's added life to the aging Phils.
Technically, Martinez, Luis Castillo, Pete Orr and Delywn Young are still in the hunt, but the prevailing wisdom says that Castillo and Martinez will make the squad. Meanwhile, it seems that Michael Stutes has worked his way back into the bullpen picture. Salisbury tweeted that he'll be brought north for the on-deck series. David Herndon could be the odd-man out.
Bats rounding into form: Yesterday's 6-1 win over the Braves encapsulated many of the Phillies' positives this spring. Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez and Ben Francisco, who will comprise the heart of the Phillies' lineup, continued to drive the ball hard. Francisco, who has big shoes to fill in right and entered camp as one of the great unknowns, finishes up what could be categorized as an MVP spring for his .387/.472/.645. Meanwhile, it was no surprise that the Phillies' best ace finished with the best spring as Roy Halladay twirled three dominant innings to wrap up 21 2-3 innings of one-run ball.
Game chat: The Phillies wave goodbye to Florida today against the Astros. Nate Bump makes the start. The lineup goes Polanco 3B, Castillo 2B, Rollins SS, Ibanez LF, Victorino CF, Francisco RF, Gload DH, Mayberry 1B, Ruiz C.