Friday, March 5, 2010

Moyer and Hamels Start With Great Outings

The Phillies played two games against the Blue Jays on Friday. The first, a "B" that doesn't count in the standings. The other, a regularly scheduled Grapefruit League contest. Jamie Moyer, the older veteran who is vying for a spot in the starting rotation, turned in 3 shut out innings against a Toronto lineup that featured only prospects. The concern around Moyer is his health. Moyer underwent multiple surgeries over the off-season, including procedures on his groin and abdomen. Phans and media alike have wondered if, at age 47, Moyer could fully recover at all, let alone by spring training. Moyer gave up just 3 singles and no walks, while striking out 3 opponents. Very solid.

Moyer was asked by the media if it ever crossed his mind that he'd be ready to go this early in spring training. His reply..."Yeah, I actually did. I really felt like I could get back with hard work. Without any setbacks, based on what the doctors were saying and as far as the rehab and everything like that, I felt like this was very possible."

As for young Colbert, he put in 2 solid innings in the afternoon game. Hamels did give up a lead-off homerun to Jose Bautista in the first, but looked good aside from that blemish. Media members in attendance were beaming as Hamels' fastballs were clocked mostly at 89-90 MPH, which is already faster than Hamels was peeking at in his first regular season start last year. Reflecting back on his first spring start last year, Jayson Stark of ESPN pointed out via Twitter that Hamels did not even break 80 MPH in his first spring start in 2009.

Hamels was able to work in his new breaking pitch, a cutter/slider hybrid, as well as the curveball that he struggled with through last season. Both pitches were used effectively through his 32 pitch outing. A deeper repertoire for a pitcher who has already been dominant in the Major Leagues can surely be something to improve his chances for continued success.

Speaking to the media, Hamels talked about how his improved physical conditioning, over where he was last spring, helped him work on the new pitch and improve his curve, "Having a fastball that I can throw at the same velocity I have during the season and having the change up I can always go to, it allows me to focus on the curve and the cutter. And that’s something where if you don’t have the arm strength, you can’t do that. That’s when you leave yourself susceptible to injuries. That’s where I can really work on it, and not be scared to throw it because I might tweak something or injure myself."

In an interesting side note, outfield prospect Tyson Gillies, one of the players acquired in the Cliff Lee trade with Seattle, hit the first homerun of the spring for the Phillies. Gillies, Domonic Brown, Placido Polanco and Ross Gload all had 2 hits each for the Phils, who ended up losing the game that counted, 14-9.


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