During Michael Young's introductory press conference at Citizens Bank Park Tuesday, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. updated the status of three players more important to the Phillies than any acquisition. As of mid-December, there is a reason to be optimistic that Chase Utley, Roy Halladay and perhaps Ryan Howard will be ready to go in the spring.
The Phils are "cautiously optimistic" that Utley will be able to go in spring training after missing it in 2011 and 2012.
"We’re going to monitor him," Amaro said. "We’re going to have a discussion prior to spring training about how he’s going to be utilized going into the spring. But I think he’s feeling like he’s ready to go April 1.”
Howard, who Amaro admitted was never at 100 percent strength last season, has been working out, even during his honeymoon, to get himself back into game shape. He may not be ready for the start of spring training but is "getting closer."
Halladay is working out in Florida with Kyle Kendrick and pitching coach Rich Dubee has seen him throw a few times. Halladay will begin throwing off a mound again soon. The strained lat that caused him to miss seven weeks in the middle of the season isn't as worrisome as is the shoulder tightness he later admitted to feeling since the spring of 2012.
“Doc’s done very well,” Amaro said. “But we won’t really know what kind of Doc we’re going to get until Doc’s on the mound firing in spring training.”