Spring training preview: Phillies players to watch

Philadelphia Phillies v Miami Marlins
Darin Ruf channeled his inner Roy Hobbs at the end of last season. Will that carry over into 2013 and earn him an every day spot?

 

Phillies fans know all too well all that could go wrong this season. Are Roy Halladay’s days as an ace over due to a very high odometer? Will Chase Utley play during the first half of the season? Can Ryan Howard post big numbers again? There is considerable worry about the veterans, but could there be some pleasant surprises for Charlie Manuel?

1. Is Darin Ruf for real?

Prior to last August, Ruf showed only occasional pop before turning into Roy Hobbs for the last two months of the season. During the last week of the season, Charlie Manuel expressed doubts, but Ruf is going to get a shot to show what he has — and there are vacant jobs to win in the outfield.

2. Could Kyle Simon make the team?

This would be quite a story since Simon was floundering in the Orioles’ organization as a minor-league starter before he was a throw-in when the Phils dealt Jim Thome to Baltimore last June. Simon was exceptional in Clearwater after being converted to a reliever. Simon, a prospect the Phillies are very high on, was terrific in Reading, too. If he doesn’t make the final roster, keep an eye on him in the minors.

3. Can Erik Kratz hit for consistent power?

Kratz was a revelation during the last two months of the 2012 season. He’s not Chooch behind the plate, then again who is? No matter what Kratz does, he’s a big upgrade over Brian Schneider. Expect production from Kratz, especially for the first 25 games when Chooch is serving his suspension.

4. If Utley has issues, will the Phillies add another infielder?

Could Ruben Amaro, Jr. call unsigned free agent Ryan Theriot? There is a chance as time passes that Theriot could be had for a minor-league deal. ‘The Riot’ is arguably a better choice to start at second base than Kevin Frandsen or Freddy Galvis. Theriot is a clutch hitter, a winner and a tremendous clubhouse guy. He also told Metro that he would love to play for Manuel.

5. Can Adam Morgan or Jonathan Pettibone emerge if Kyle Kendrick or John Lannan struggle?

You can never have enough starting pitching. Just ask the Red Sox, who gave up Bronson Arroyo for Willy Mo Pena after the 2005 season. Arroyo is a solid starter and whatever happened to Willy Mo? Considering how long the season is, the odds are that Morgan or Pettibone will get a chance to pitch in the ace-laden rotation.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

Local

New York-based Century 21 store coming to The…

The former Strawbridge & Clothier building will once again host a department store. City officials on Thursday announced New York-based Century 21 Department Stores will…

National

Electric Zoo tickets on sale Tuesday as festival…

Electric Zoo tickets go on sale Tuesday. The festival announced plans to amp up security after two attendees died last year from apparent drug overdoses.

Music

Championship of Collegiate a Cappella: Students who are…

Tickets to this Saturday’s International Championship of Collegiate a Cappella reportedly sold out within 11 hours of going on sale.

Music

M.I.A. talks 'Matangi,' divinity, spontaneity and holograms

"There’s pressure for me to become a theatrical production like 'Glee,' or something" says M.I.A., "It’s like, 'the pressure’s on, bitches.'"

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

NBA

Jason Collins named to Time's 100 Most Influential…

Jason Collins was named to the list after coming out as the first openly gay player to appear in an NBA game.

MLB

The return of Cole Hamels brings optimism

Cole Hamels’ quality start Wednesday was a nice change of pace from his recent season debuts.

MLB

Tony Gwynn Jr. a nice surprise for Phillies

Tony Gwynn Jr. has been a plus in every way for the Phillies.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

Food

Hai Street Kitchen opening in Rittenhouse May 22

Japanese cuisine will get a Chipotle-style twist at Hai Street Kitchen & Co., a new casual, quick-food restaurant opening near Rittenhouse Square on May 22.…

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.