*Ryan Howard leads MLB in homeruns (174) and rbi (493) since he moved into the Phillies' starting lineup back on July 1, 2005, taking Jim Thome's spot.
*Speaking of Howard, he's shown up to camp 20 pounds lighter (weighing 250ish) and vows to improve his defense (hard not to). "As far as my defense, I know a lot of people have a concern about it, [but] I've been down here and I've been working on it. Working with Sam [Perlozzo], he's taught me a couple things that have clicked a little bit. I feel very confident with the way I've been working with Sam that my defense will be better."
*Speaking of weight, Brett Myers is a reported 30 pounds lighter (that's a preschooler) and Scott Eyre is 10 pounds less on the scale.
*Speaking of Eyre, Richard Peter Dubee, or as I like to call him Dick-Dick, had this to say about a 2nd lefty in the bullpen, "I'm comfortable with Scotty. Would we like another lefty? Probably so. Whether that's J.A. Happ or [Sergio] Escalona or whoever, that will all play itself out this spring. Ideally, you'd love to have two lefties. If not, hopefully we have a righty we can use in the sixth inning to get a lefty out. Again, that will play itself out." Sergio Escalona is a converted started that has only seen 15 games at Double A, hard to believe he's ready to be tossed into the frying pan. Will Ohman, Joe Beimel, and Dennys Reyes remain on the free agent market.
*Charlie Manuel didn't beat around the bush this spring, he dove right into and announced Cole Hamels as the opening day starter...but only "pencil[ed] in".
*Speaking of Hamels, apparently he has a "whole cupboard of supplements he takes", but since Romero's suspension is being "a lot more cautious". This scares me a bit, you never know when one of those supplements might be containing a special ingredient that causes a positive piss test. What ever happened to the good ol' days of beer, Skoal, and women being the only supplements needed?
*Speaking of supplements, Todd Zolecki caught up with JC Romero and grilled him on his forthcoming suspension. He maintains he did nothing wrong, hinted at foul play from the drug manufacturer, and said the only thing he would have done differently is call the 1-800 number.
*Sounds like Pirates coach John Russel is taking a page from Rays manager Joe Madden's inspirational preparation book with this speech, "It's time for us as an organization and our players to realize that losing is not acceptable. It's not an acceptable way of life for a Pirate. It's not that we're not going to lose games, I'm not that naive. But it's the mind-set that it's not acceptable. We're not going to accept losing." Dude is in about as much denial as Adam Eaton; Pittsburgh has 16 straight losing seasons, it is "a way of life" for them.
*If the Pirates are going to be competitive they need miracles to happen, and perhaps new pitching coach Joe Kerrigan can do so. Although, as many Phils fans recall, he didn't work any miracles in Philly, only pissed people off.
*The Pirates have 4 spots open in their rotation, only pitcher assured a job is Paul Maholm. Zach Duke, Ian Snell, Tom Gorzelanny, Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens, Daniel McCutchen, and Jimmy Barthmaier are competing to follow Maholm in the rotation. I know competition is a good thing, but only having one guaranteed/known starter is nerve-wracking.