Monday, March 28, 2011

Phils set to come home

Today's bout against the Houston Astros wraps up Grapefruit League play for the Phils, who will host the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizen's Bank Park for two in the On-Deck series starting tomorrow. The next time they face Houston, Roy Halladay will be the mound opposing Brett Myers on Opening Day.

With camp set to break, a few questions still remain about the roster. Here's what we know:

Catchers: Carlos Ruiz, Brian Schneider

Infield: Ryan Howard, Placido Polanco, Jimmy Rollins, Wilson Valdez

Outfield: Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, Ben Francisco, Ross Gload

Pitchers: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, Ryan Madson, Jose Contreras, J.C. Romero, Danys Baez, Kyle Kendrick.

That's 20 of 25. The Phillies have seven bullpen pitchers in camp right now, and they are all likely to make the team. That would add Antonio Bastardo and David Herndon to the club.

Now the team has to pick three final hitters, unless they search for another arm; but that's unlikely. I think John Mayberry makes the team. He's having a great spring, and they've used him at first base. I could see him filling in for Howard or Ibanez against a tough lefty, getting some time in right or coming off the bench late in games as a power and speed threat.

That would round out the outfield with two spots remaining for the infield. Luis Castillo hasn't played very well so far this spring, but it's a small sample size. On the bright side, he is running very well. Charlie Manuel might like having a veteran in there rather than some of his competitors. I think it remains up in the air as to whether Castillo makes the club or not. If he does, the Phils can always call up a Pete Orr or a Josh Barfield later in the season.

I also see Michael Martinez making the club. He's a Rule 5 draft pick, meaning the Phils would have to offer him back to the Nationals if he's not selected. Martinez is having a good spring, and Manuel loves his versatility and defensive prowess. If Martinez makes the team, that leaves one spot for either Castillo, Orr, Barfield or Delwyn Young. If I had to guess, I'd say they select Castillo for his experience. If he struggles and they cut him during the season, they'd only owe him about $414,000. Orr would also be an interesting choice. He has terrific speed, already hitting four triples this spring.

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