Spring Training 2011 Stop #1: Clearwater

Our long northeast nightmare winter is over. It's 80 degrees and sunny, with the Phillies ready to host the Orioles in Clearwater. Cole Hamels, the youngest of Philadelphia's "Four Aces" got the start and, typical of an early Grapefruit League game, seemed more eager to work specific pitches in his repertoire than treat it totally as a regular game situation.
Above: Orioles manager Buck Showalter still loves that jacket.
Below: A Phillies logo you won't see at Citizens Bank Park.

Above: John Mayberry Junior, who caught my eye two springs ago, now among those trying to win Jayson Werth's old job as the Phils rightfielder.
Below: Of course, he wanted to see The Birds play!
Above: Ryan Howard, who with Werth gone and Chase Utley's knee barking, will have to shoulder more responsibility for the Phils offense, connects against the Orioles lefty Brian Mattusz in the 4th inning. "Outta here" to the left field Tiki Bar.

Last year, Manhattan College product Matt Rizzotti became one of the rising stars in the Phillies farm system (I caught him playing for Reading at New Britain in July). Nice to see him in a Phils uniform, taking over for Ryan Howard in the late innings.

Outfield prospect Michael Martinez, trying to make the Phillies after spending five years in Washington's farm system, lays down a bunt as part of the Phillies come-from-behind rally.
They scored twice in the bottom of the 9th for a 4-3 victory.


Mike McCann said…
Its fun looking back on these a decade later, knowing how the careers played out of those we see here. Hamels is a borderline Hall of Famers, Mayberry underwhelmed and Rizzotti never made the majors.
That's the beauty of sports. Spontaneous.

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