If you missed Charlie Manuel's press conference, on Tuesday, that was referred to as his State of the Phillies Address, you can view some of it by clicking here. In the latter portion of that clip, Manuel speaks about the dependable relievers that the Phillies have acquired this offseason...Jose Contreras and Danys Baez, stating, "Let me tell you something. We got two guys, if they're sore, or stiff, or got a headache, or they don't feel good, they'll pitch. And I know they'll pitch. And both of these guys are mentally tough guys. And that makes me feel good and I know both of 'em can pitch at least two innings. And I know they'll take the ball every time I want to give it to them. I know Baez will not turn the ball down."
There's no question that Charlie Manuel is pleased with the acquisitions of each of these pitchers. The question remains, who was Manuel so sour toward that he feels like the Phillies have had pitchers who didn't truly want to pitch anytime the manager wanted them? Was it Scott Eyre? Was it Chan Ho Park? Could be both.
Eyre spent much time on the disabled list over the last two seasons. He missed nearly 4 weeks from June 12th-July 6th and only pitched on consecutive days 7 times all year. Eyre also missed more than 2 months in 2008, just before becoming a Phillie, when he didn't debut until May 10th, the was on the DL from late June through late July. Managers and coaches are sometimes restricted from really pushing guys who are prone to injuries.
Of the regulars, Park had the fewest number of appearances on consecutive days out of the bullpen for the Phillies in 2009, with only 5 during the regular season. Consider that Park was a starter until mid-May, and that still doesn't excuse the man from not being available on back-to-back days down the stretch run and into the postseason. Park always made it clear that he preferred to be a starter, as he liked to rest and be on a schedule. Thus, Park was treated very delicately by the coaching staff, even in his relief role.
So, while some fans wished the Phillies would re-sign Eyre or Park, and might still be hoping for one or both to return, the bottom line of their absences this coming season could be that Charlie Manuel wanted middle relievers who are more durable than those guys and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. went out and got Manuel some pitchers that could fill that request.
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