Phillies Weekly- Pitchers and Catchers!

The Phillies have hired former Phillie pitcher Jamie Moyer and former Phillie Matt Stairs as replacements for Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews in the broadcast booth for this upcoming season. Stairs and Moyer will join play-by-play broadcaster Tom McCarthy and in-game reporter Gregg Murphy as part of the Phillies broadcast team. Also, Stairs and Moyer will broadcast more than 100 games which includes more than 30 games together. Comcast SportsNet president Brian Monihan said this about the hiring, “We are thrilled to have World Series Champions Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs join our Phillies broadcast team. These two former Phillies bring a unique perspective to the booth, and their expert analysis will add a new level of energy, insight and enjoyment to our Phillies broadcasts.”

Moyer Stairs

As pitchers and catchers reported on Wednesday, there was not a shortage of stories but the pitchers grabbed most of the headlines. Ruben Amaro Jr. signed yet another veteran in his 30s in A.J. Burnett to a one year, $16 million dollar deal. With the signing of A.J. Burnett, the Phillies payroll now is sitting at $176 million. Burnett has been exceptional since leaving the New York Yankees as Burnett has gone 26-21 with a 3.41 ERA for the Pittsburgh Pirates the past two seasons. Burnett also struck out 8.9 batters per nine innings and had a groundball rate of 58 percent, which is second best in the big leagues. Phillies homegrown and number 1 starter Cole Hamels said that he will not be ready for Opening Day for the 2014 season. Hamels said that he felt discomfort in his pitching shoulder this offseason. Hamels said this to the media, “I just wanted to be up front with everyone. I am behind schedule in my throwing program. In November/ December when I started my throwing program again, I felt discomfort in my shoulder. I talked to our trainers and saw Dr. Michael Ciccotti and he diagnosed a little tendinitis.” Pitching coach Bob McClure commented on Hamels, “After seeing him throw on the field the other day, I have no concerns.”

Spring training

Veteran reliever Chad Gaudin was released on the first day of workouts due to a failed physical exam. Left handed reliever Antonio Bastardo commented on getting caught for using PEDs by simply saying, “I made a mistake.” Cuban defector and rookie Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez threw his first bullpen session of Spring Training and gather a crowd around which varied from people in the front office, scouts, coaches, and even Roy Halladay, who is working as an instructor this spring. Carlos Ruiz was the catcher for the session and Ruiz said this, “It’s hard to say right now because it’s the first day. He was a little wild. I said to him, ‘It’s the first day of spring training.’ He threw some strikes, but he left some balls up and bounced a couple curveballs.”

As the excitement for the Phillies was around the arrival of pitchers and catchers, but the excitement became turned down as former manager Jim Fregosi passed away at the age of 71. Fregosi was the manager of the iconic ’93 Phillies pennant team. Fregosi led that fun loving team with his great personality to 97 wins. Fregosi brought a Phillies team that finished last the previous year to the 6th game of the World Series the following year. Fregosi was the manager of the Phillies from 1991-1996 and he went 431-463 and got them to the postseason for the first time in a decade. Fregosi was true baseball lifer as he started in 1961 with Angels but then stayed in the game as became a manager and scout.

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