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Breaking down the Phillies opening day roster

The Phillies aren't dressing their best 25 players, not by any stretch.

Ryan Howard needs to return to his productive self if the Phillies hope to surprise some and make a run at the playoffs in 2014. Credit: Getty Images Ryan Howard needs to return to his productive self if the Phillies hope to surprise some and make a run at the playoffs in 2014. Credit: Getty Images

The Phillies aren't dressing their best 25 players, not by any stretch. With Cole Hamels, Mike Adams, Freddy Galvis, Darrin Ruf and a handful of others on the injured reserve to start the season, the team will need to tread water until some key players return to playing form.

Infielders

C Carlos Ruiz

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Last year: .286, 5 HR, 37 RBI (92 games)

Ruiz, even after an incredible offensive year in 2012, is a great defensive catcher and game-caller first. Anything else he chips in is a bonus.

1B Ryan Howard

Last year: .266, 11 HR, 43 RBI (80 games)

Howard at his best can lift the Phillies offense on his back and give the rotation the run support it needs. But at 34-years-old and coming off two major injuries, his production is an unknown.

2B Chase Utley

Last year: .284, 18 HR, 69 RBI

Utley, like Howard, is looking to stay healthy, but if he is able to replicate last year's numbers he will show he deserves the third spot in the Phillies' order.

SS Jimmy Rollins

Last year: .252, 22 stolen bases

Rollins won't be leading off but his speed on the bases will only be an asset if he can improve last season's .318 on base percentage.

3B Cody Asche

Last year: .235, 5 HR, 22 RBI

Asche earned his spot in spring training and down the stretch last year. It will be interesting to see if he makes himself the de facto third baseman of the future.

Outfielders

LF Domonic Brown

Last year: .272, 27 HR, 83 RBI

Brown was the hottest player in the National League near the All-Star break last year, but injuries slowed him down considerably. He will need to be close to his former self in the No. 5 or 6 spot in the order.

CF Ben Revere

Last year: .305, 22 stolen bases

Leading off, Revere has the right combination of hitting for average and speed on the base paths. He will need to take more pitches and walk more in 2014.

RF Marlon Byrd

Last year: .291, 24 HR, 88 RBI

The Phillies brought back Byrd after a career year in New York and Pittsburgh. If he can keep hitting for power he can really make an impact in the middle of the order.

Starters

Cliff Lee

Last year: 14-8, 2.87 ERA

Lee looked ready to go in spring training and has always been an anchor, no matter what rotation he is in. The lefty will make his second career opening day start with Hamels on the DL.

Cole Hamels

Last year: 8-14, 3.60

Hamels will be back in three weeks or so, and once he returns Phillies fans can only hope he gets some run support after some of the worst support in the league in 2013.

A.J. Burnett

Last year: 10-11, 3.30

He has won at least 10 games for nine straight years and is an innings eater. Exactly what the Phillies need in the middle of their rotation.

Kyle Kendrick

Last year: 10-13, 4.70

Roberto Hernandez

Last year: 6-13, 4.89

Bullpen

Left-handers: Antonio Bastardo, Jake Diekman, Mario Hollands

Right-handers: Justin De Fratus, Brad Lincoln, Jeff Manship, B.J. Rosenberg

Closer: Jonathan Papelbon

Bench

Cesar Hernandez, Jayson Nix, Tony Gwynn Jr., John Maybery Jr.

Injured reserve

Hamels (Biceps tendinitis, due back late April) Mike Adams (Shoulder, due back mid April) Freddy Galvis (Staph infection, due back in april), Jonathan Pettibone (right shoulder, due back mid April), Darin Ruf (Left oblique, due back in late April), Ethan Martin (right shoulder), Miguel Gonzalez (right shoulder)

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