Baseball is Back: The Phillies Head to Clearwater for Spring Training

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By: Justin De Lange

It’s that time of year again; time for Phillies players and coaches to pack their bags, and head to sunny Clearwater, Florida, for Spring Training. Pitchers and catchers reported to on February 13, and the full squad of players and coaches reported on the

The Phillies are being watched by baseball analysts, commentators, and writers everywhere to see if they can boost their chances of winning the NL East crown.

2012 did not turn out as well as the Phillies hoped it would. They ended up in third place in the National League East with an 81-81 record, which is sub-par considering that they sat atop the division for five consecutive seasons.

They will have to contend with The Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves, who added a slew of all-stars. Just to name a couple, the Braves added the Upton brothers, Justin and B.J., to their outfield.

The Phillies go into spring training with a several question marks. One being, can the bullpen contend better than they did last season. The Phillies pen was second to last in the league when it came to the eighth inning. They produced an ERA of 4.89 (compared to the Astros 5.00), gave up 24 homeruns (Astros gave up less, 21), and walked 80 batters.

They will now look to their new eighth inning addition, Mike Adams. Adams is known to be the best eighth inning set-up man in the league, however injuries have side-lined the relief man last season.

Adams had an injury where he experienced numbness in his throwing hand known as TOS (thoracic outlet syndrome). He is very questionable as whether he will be able to perform. However, he is expected to be fine and his symptoms are gone.

Another question mark going into 2013 is whether or not the outfield will perform the way it needs tom. They will most likely platoon in left field between Laynce Nix, the unproven duo of Darin Ruf and Dominic Brown. That combination is expected by many to flop.

Even more questionable is whether they will get a great performance in Right field from the 27-year old Delmon Young. Young has been known in the past to be a hot head. There were a couple occasions where he threw bats at umpires. So, it’s iffy to say that he can be a great presence in the clubhouse.

On a good note, the acquisition of Minnesota’s Ben Revere seems to be a huge plus for the Phillies. Revere (24) is a young star out of Minnesota who can bat in the top of the line-up and eight hole if need be. He brings such an amazing energy to the club house because he just wants to be in a Phillies uniform.

The Phillies will need their top stars to stay healthy. Chase Utley, who had knee issues last season, Ryan Howard, who was out due to an Achilles tendon tear, and Roy Halladay, who suffered from shoulder problems early and late in the season, will need to avoid injury at all cost.

Overall, this spring looks to be interesting with all of the newly acquired players. This year will be a test to see if Philadelphia’s aging line-up can bounce back from injury ridden seasons, and perform to their World Series caliber way of play. Hopefully, we can enjoy this spring instead of loathing it.

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Baseball is Back: The Phillies Head to Clearwater for Spring Training