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Philadelphia Phillies Add Depth With Veteran Mike Sweeney

(Philadelphia, PA) – With Ryan Howard on the 15-day disabled list and the Phillies still without a viable right handed bat off the bench general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. made a move yesterday acquiring veteran Mike Sweeney from the Seattle Mariners.

The Phillies acquired Sweeney for a player-to-be named or cash consideration, the teams have yet to agree, and Sweeney will fill in at first base until Howard returns from the DL.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel seemed pleased with the deal telling reporters. “He can hit…and help us right now”.

Sweeney, 37, is in his 16th season in the majors and is hitting .263 with six home runs and 18 RBI in 30 games. He has been on the disabled list with back spasms but was removed upon the trade to Philadephia.

In his last rehab start for Triple-A Tacoma last night he hit two home runs and had four RBI.

“We still think in the limited playing time he might have that he has a chance to win some games for us.” stated GM Ruben Amaro Jr.

This is a smart move for the Phillies as they make their push towards the playoffs because they gave up very little and added veteran depth to their bench. Sweeney will add something the Phillies have lacked at times this season, the ability to hit with runners in scoring position. (.313 10-for-32).

Sweeney spent the first 13 years of his career with the Kansas City Royals, after he was drafted in the 10th round by KC in 1991, and was a five-time all start at first base. He spent a year in Oakland before joining the Mariners in 2007.

The team expects the newest Phillie to be in tonight’s lineup against the Florida Marlins. Roy Oswalt is scheduled to take on Chris Volstad, game-time is 7:05.

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Phillies First Baseman Ryan Howard to Meet With Team Docs In Philly.

Philadelphia, PA- Just when you thought it could not get worse for the Philadelphia Phillies the injury struggles increased and, pending results, could send another Phillie to the overloaded disabled list.

What was thought as a minor sprain for Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard could turn into something more severe as Howard was sent back to Philadelphia yesterday to meet with team doctors.

Howard suffered the sprain in the first inning of the Phillies game three extra-innings-win against the Washington Nationals. Howard was taken for an MRI and X-Ray immediately and neither test showed a fracture.

After the teams off-day Monday the decision was made to send Howard back to Philadelphia to meet with team physician Michael Ciccotti to address the situation.

When speaking with the media Howard seemed optimistic and hopeful the sprain was not severe.

“I guess once the swelling goes down, we’ll see what happens”

For the meantime the Phillies will rely on bench players Cody Ransom and Ross Gload to platoon at first base.

Missing out on Howard’s bat could be tragic for the Phillies as he is leading the NL in RBI with 81 and his 119 hits is a team best.

No word if Howard will be sent to the disabled list but if that happens it will leave outfielder Jayson Werth as the only Phillies starter not to hit the DL.

The Phillies are currently three games back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East and three and a half games back in the wild card.

Ibanez optimistic about return.

After missing Sunday’s game against the Washington Nationals outfielder Raul Ibanez seem optimistic he will be back in the lineup against the Florida Marlins. Ibanez was held out of Sundays game due to a sore left wrist.

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Philadelphia Phillies Look To Gain Ground With Three Games vs. Florida

(Coral Gables, FL) – After a disappointing 1-2 in a three game set with the Washington Nationals the Philadelphia Phillies are heading on the road for a three game set with the Florida Marlins.

For the Phillies a three game set with the NL East third ranked Florida Marlins is coming at the worst time. The Phillies are 25-31 on the road this season and with the Marlins only four games back of the Phillies for second place in the division the Fightin’s will need to gain ground in Florida if they want to catch up to the Atlanta Braves.

As I mentioned a week ago the Phillies have become the walking wounded . The team is still weeks away from getting Chase Utley back from a surgically repaired thumb, Shane Victorino is on the 15-day DL and to top it all off the Phillies are now putting Ryan Howard as day-to-day after he rolled his ankle as second base in yesterdays 6-4 extra inning win against the Washington Nationals.

The Phillies are sitting two and a half games back of the division leading Braves and are in the midst of a nine game stretch against divisional opponents. Luckily for the Phillies their pitching match-ups for the division side in their favor.

Game 1: Roy Halladay (12-8) v. Sean West (0-0)

Phillies ace Roy Hallady starts off the series against an unknown foe in Sean West. West has been called up from AAA-New Orleans where he was 4-3 with a 3.12 ERA. Halladay has done substantially well against the Marlins this season going 2-1 1.08 ERA, and oh, yeah one of those wins was a perfect game.

Halladay has controlled Marlins hitters as Hanley Ramirez, Cody Ross and Dan Uggla have gone a combined 10-40 against Hallady with eight strikeouts.

With the Phillies repleted lineup they will need to rely on players like Jayson Werth and Jimmy Rollins. Werth is hitting a lowly .182 against the Marlins, most of that on his much publicized hitting slump. Rollins, who has hysterically hit well against Florida will get his first outing against the Marlins as he was out of the previous series nursing his injured calf.

Game 2: Kyle Kendrick (6-4) v. Anibal Sanchez (8-6)

Sanchez is coming off a strong one-hit outing against the San Francisco Giants and looks to do the same against the Phillies. He is 1-1 with a 3.55 ERA this season against the Phillies and has averaged on six and a third innings per outings against the Phillies.

Kendrick is 1-0 against the Marlins and has pitched pretty well since his three day stint in the minor leagues. In his last two starts he has pitched 13 1/3 innings recording eight strikeouts and has held opposing batters to only 10 hits.

The key to this game will be the run support Kendrick gets. If you look at his season numbers when the Phillies hit Kendrick shines.

Game 3: Roy Oswalt (6-13) v. Chris Volstad (5-8)

In the final game of this three game set all eyes will be on the newly acquired Roy Oswalt. After a not so stellar outing in his Phillies debut where he allowed five runs on seven hits in only six innings of work, Oswalt will look to redeem himself with the Phillies faithful.

The only thing that could hurt Oswalt are his career numbers at Sun Life Stadium. In three games at the Marlins Roy Oswalt is 0-2 with one no decision. In 2009 he was drilled for 10 runs in only six innings of work and the year before he was 0-2 with an 11.2 ERA.

Dan Uggla has suffered against the new Phillies going 2-15 with an .133 batting average, striking out five times.

As you can see, other then the Kendrick v. Sanchez match-up, the series could look very positive for the Phillies. It will be important for the Phillies to get wins in the series because as the number two and three teams in the NL face each other the Braves will attempt to distance themselves as they take on the sinking New York Mets.

The Phillies have an off say Monday with game one starting Tuesday night and hopefully that full day of rest will allow Ryan Howard’s ankle to heal and possibly make him eligible for games two and three.

Now that its August it is time for the Phillies to make one of their historical late season runs towards the playoffs. With Utley weeks away things are looking up but the Phillies are definitely showing signs of late season wear. Lets just hope, for our sake, all of the injury setbacks are behind them.

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Philadelphia Phillies Hitting Coach Milt Thompson Used as a Scapegoat?

It is quite obvious the Philadelphia Phillies are in a slump. A team riddled by injuries and inconsistency without an ignition towards change.

Despite getting an extra innings 2-0 win in St. Louis yesterday, where Cole Hamels shined, the team still showed the overwhelming stress that comes from being back-to-back National League Champions.

The Phillies have been plagued by non-existent bats that have turned consistent players like Jayson Werth searching for a way to right the ship.

The legendary preseason beard Werth was rocking during his early hot streaks has been reduced to a whimsical and mildly scary goatee in an attempt to fix his batter’s box issues.

We’ve seen things like Chase Utley using voodoo on his bat to ease his hitting struggles. Yet the hitting gods couldn’t keep him from a thumb injury that will have him sidelined till Labor Day.

When things like this happen to a team with so many expectations from the public, front offices usually try to ignite their lineups with a trade or the firing of a manager or bench coach.

The Phillies did just that last night firing hitting coach Milt Thompson. Thompson, a former Phillie and member of the 1993 NL Champions, was with the team for six seasons and was a main contributor to the team’s 2008 World Series run.

When things go bad for a team, fans and owners are quick to forget previous successes.
Thompson was with the Phillies for six years, five of which the team was in the top three in the National League for runs scored and even lead the league in 2006, 2007, and, 2009.
He was publicly praised for the team’s success in 2008.
However, when a team falls behind for the first time in years, he’s the first to be sent packing. I am not suggesting any one person is responsible, but you have to consider the situation.

The rumors of a firing surfaced just weeks ago heading into the All-Star break. Manager Charlie Manuel vehemently supported Thomspon stating:

“It’s definitely not Milt Thompson’s fault,”…”He doesn’t do the hitting.”… and Charlie is right.

Many people in the Philadelphia media saw this move coming as most of the team’s struggles are coming from the batter’s box.

We all knew a firing was going to take place and getting rid of Thomspon is the easiest solution.

The real question is: are the Phillies using Milt Thompson as a scapegoat for other front office transgressions?

Right now the Phillies are sitting seven games back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East, which is good for second place. Not exactly where you’d like to sit heading into August, especially with the strength of the NL Wild Card Race.

The Phillies have spent major parts of this season without the services of players like Chase Utley, Placido Polanco, Carlos Ruiz, and Jimmy Rollins and have had to substitute these key players with medicore bench players like Greg Dobbs, Wilson Valdez, and most recently Ross Gload.
Usually players like these are added to rosters to pick up slop time during blowouts yet Wilson Valdez has played in 62 games and had 188 at-bats—a career-high for him.
Any team that loses that much run production from a group of long-time starters will slump.
Couple that with the fact that this is the strongest the NL East has been in almost a decade, no one should be surprised they are slumping.
You won’t gain ground in a competitive division with lousy bench players.
The 2010 Phillies are built for winning when all of their starters are healthy. If you look at the team’s depth chart, it’s filled with extremely inexperienced young talent or role players looking for a pay check.
That’s not just the hitting coaches fault; a team that has a solid bench to fill holes wouldn’t suffer like this.
The trade deadline is 10 days away.
The rumors seem to be that the Phillies are targeting pitching to fill their holes.
Unfortunately, the truth is you can have all the pitching in the world, but without consistency from your bats and a roster full of healthy players, a major trade has no use.
With Thompson as the sacrificial lamb being sent to pass, the pressure is now on Manuel and General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
What those two do in the upcoming weeks will have a lasting effect on their job security…
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Panic on Broad Street…Are Fans Too Naive To Realize It?

This article is a long time coming. I know the team is only 5.5 back in the division, but with the strength of the NL East and the National League in general, things may become very bleak on Broad Street.

This city of Philadelphia talks about 2008 like it was yesterday, the season where everything was perfect and the Phillies were kings of the world…guess what, it’s not and they are slipping HARD.

Phillies fans have been sold a bill of goods from management with two promises about this season:

1. The team would walk into the playoffs…

2. They would pretty much spend the entire season leading the NL East…

The team has walked with a certain sense of entitlement, believing these things, and if certain parts of their performance don’t change soon, it’s looking like neither will happen.

Just like many Phillies fans, I watched tonight’s Game four of the Cubs series with a sense of urgency. Halladay was on the mound and after stealing a win yesterday, I was hoping tonight would be a sign of brighter days, a refresher toward the team’s potential.

Like the rest of Philly, I watched as the game came and went, seeing much of the same inconsistent play that has haunted the team this season.

The Phillies were given a gift in Game three and, if it weren’t for the epic collapse of Carlos Marmol, they could have been looking at a sweep.

It seems the story of the season is inconsistency. Whether it’s the bats, the pitching, or the roster, this year’s Phillies have been suffering from a severe lapse.

Phillies fans are an interesting breed. Not only do we come off as critical but, at points, show signs of complete oblivion.

Fans are aware of the issues this team is facing, and they talk about how things need to be done; all it takes is a 12-2 win to turn things around and they are once again talking sunshine and daisies.

The four-game sweep of the Reds was incredible. The Phillies were the walk-off wonders and seemed as if the stars were aligning. It seemed as if their luck could never run out. The Reds were leading the Central at the time and, going into the break, all seemed well in the world.

Guess what…they just lost three of four to a team that’s 10 games back in the same NL Central.

The Phillies live and die by the long ball and if the line drives aren’t flying, then they are suffering.

I bet many fans aren’t aware the Phillies are ranked 23rd in batting average and 22nd in hits…not positive for a team coming off of back-to-back World Series.

The Phillies are hemorrhaging and every talking head in the media has their opinions on how to fix it. The talking points for tomorrow’s radio shows are written and the situations are well known. It’s important to address them and realize the logical and sad truths around many of them.

Jayson Werth: Can they/would they trade him and get legitimate compensation?

Most fans in the city have accepted the fact, at the completion of this season, Werth will hit the open market and play elsewhere next year. The Phillies have stated their salary cap ceiling and made it clear with the move of Cliff Lee that there are no exceptions to this rule.

Is it time for the team to sever ties with Werth in an attempt to bolster the team?

Yes this statement can be taken as treason, and without his bat the team will be lacking a strong presence from the right side of the plate. He has the ability to help the team via trade and it is a valid option the team needs to look into.

What would they get for him and would anyone want his expiring deal?…thus bringing up issue No. 2.

Do the Phillies still need another starter?

J.A. Happ is still working on his rehab and no definite date is set. With this known, the team needs to address the fact without another starter in the rotation things are going to get dicey around playoff time.

Fans throw out names like Roy Oswalt, Dan Haren, and Ted Lilly but none of these seems logistically possible without giving up more quality minor league prospects. Seeing as the only legitimate prospect the team has is Dominic Brown, who is the heir apparent to replace Ibanez, the team will balk with any deal involving their prized prospect.

Sure Cole Hamels is improving but with his history of meltdowns, he is never reliable enough to sleep well at night. Jamie Moyer is now you second-most reliable starter and, at 47, you never know what showing you will get.

If you can make a legitimate argument for Kyle Kendrick as a fifth starter, I would like to hear it; in 19 appearances, his 5-3 record and his inability to make it past the sixth inning wont allow fans to sleep well at night, and the same goes for Joe Blanton.

A record of 3-5 from a third starter will not help you in the playoffs, and batters have an .844 on base percentage against him.

Roy Halladay has been everything we thought he would be. He has had his rough outings, but with 10 wins fans are feeling comfortable when that fifth day comes around.

With the way the bullpen has produced, the team may need to send either Happ or Blanton to the pen to ease the suffering. The only problem with that is both may be needed to start.

The Phillies need more depth, and adding another solid starter could make taking the NL East a little bit easier.

Is it just injuries?

Placido Polanco is back from the DL and has looked relatively solid.

Ryan Madson is back from “Toe Gate” and has allowed three runs in 3 1/3 innings since returning with a record of 1-1 and a blown save.

Chase Utley is only weeks away from a return. No word of the healing thumb but even his presence should boost a normally second-half team.

What are their options?

Do they hold out and see how the returns of Utley and Happ help the offense, or is a move the only way to get back on track? And if they make a move, what can they trade and who’s interested?

With the July 31st trade deadline fast approaching, they may not have time to rely on Happ or Utley, and front-office decisions need to be made. If not, instead of talking three-peat World Series visits and 2008 Champions, we may be talking 2006 and missing out on the playoffs.

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No Laughing Matter: Philadelphia Phanatic Gets Sued

Philadelphia— It seems that the world of a major league mascot gets harder and harder.

We have recently seen the issues within the Pittsburgh Pirates regarding disgruntled pierogies and their opinions on executive decisions.

Now, the other team that occupies the state of PA is getting into issues of his own.

Today the Philadelphia Phanatic got some bad news of his own as he was subpoenaed. The Phanatic is facing civil charges from a Bucks County woman claiming the Galapagoa Island native mascot injured her at a minor league baseball game.

Grace Crass is claiming the Phillies mascot climbed over her at a Reading Phillies game, causing her increased arthritis that led to knee surgery earlier this year.

In the suit, the Phillies, their minor league affiliate, the Reading Phillies, and Tom Burgoyne (the Phanatics “friend”) are all being sued for a combined $50,000 in damages.

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Steroid Pioneer: Lenny Dykstra Admits Use in New Book

(New York, NY) — In a new book on the world of Wall Street corruption, author Randall Lane manages to shed some light on the long time speculations of one of Philadelphia former darlings, Lenny Dykstra.

Dyrstra, a member for the 1993 NL Champion Phillies, became a wall street and market speculation guru after his playing days and has been involved in current controversy over money he was given to influence his stock tips.

Lane writes that one day in 2000 he was meeting with Dykstra in his NYC apartment to pick up a settlement check. The two started discussing the ongoing congressional inquiry on steroids in baseball and Dykstra began to admit his past discretion.

“I was like the very first to do that,” stated Dykstra, “Me and Jose [Conseco] were the first ones.”

His steroid legacy was so well known and he was even consulted by MLB execs in 2000 about his career and his ability to educated the league on steroids.

The book entitled “The Zeroes: My Misadventures in the Decade Wall Street Went Insane,” even contained Dykstra’s admittance that part of his steroid use was to get more money from the Phillies organization.

After the 1993 season, Dykstra was given a four-year $24.9 million dollar deal yet injuries kept him from playing a complete season for the Phillies and he retired in 1996.

Lane even describes how the once great Phillies rationalized his steroid use.

“‘You gotta understand, there were only 28 people who had my job in the whole world…So I needed to do anything I could to protect my job, take care of my family.”

Dykstra was a career .258 batter and has a career high 19 home runs in 1993.

Most of this steroid speculation is not revolutionary as Dykstra was one of 89 players mentioned in the 2000 Mitchell Report and Dykstra has been very public about the steroid era in baseball.

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Trouble In Philly: Chase Utley and Placido Polanco Sent to Disabled List

Philadelphia, PAThe injury woes for the Phillies grew today as it was announced that second baseman Chase Utley and third baseman Placido Polanco were both added to the 15-day disabled list.

Utley had an MRI on a strained right thumb ligament and may miss up to three weeks with the injury. Utley bruised the thumb in last nights 7-3 loss to the Reds.

Ploanco, who was innactive for two games in the recent Toronto series, was placed on the retroactive disabled list with inflammation in his left elbow. He received a cortisone shot in the elbow this afternoon with the hope that he would return to the lineup for tonight’s game. The bruised elbow did not respond well to the shot and the decision to move to the disabled list was made.

The Phillies have called up infielders Brian Bocock and recently assigned Greg Dobbs from Triple-A Lehigh Vallley.

Dobbs was hitting .152 in 42 games with the Phillies this season and was sent to Lehigh Valley just two weeks ago.

Neither is expected to start as the team will most likely go with bench players Wilson Valdez and Juan Castro to start in the meantime.

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Johnny Cueto Goes Eight Strong As Reds Top Phillies 7-3


Cincinnati, OH –  Former Phillie Scott Rolen played game killer and Reds ace Johnny Cueto went eight strong innings as Cincinnati topped Philadelphia 7-3 in the opening contest of the three-game set at Great American Ballpark.

Rolen went 1-for-2 with three RBI including a towering two-run shot in the fourth to lead the Reds. Joey Votto and Orlando Cabrera both went 3-for-4 with an RBI in the win.

Reds starter Johnny Cueto (8-2) went eight innings, allowing one run on six hits and lowered his ERA to an impressive 3.74.

Rolen got the scoring started with a home run in the fourth. Two innings later after a Votto RBI single in the sixth, the third baseman put the Reds up 4-0 on a sacrifice fly that plated Brandon Phillips.

Raul Ibanez paced Philadelphia with a RBI single in the seventh. He platted two more in the top of the ninth on a two-out home run to right that scored Jayson Werth.

Kyle Kendrick (4-3) allowed six runs on eight hits and struck out four. He was pulled in the seventh after a Ramon Hernandez double that plated Drew Stubbs.

Replaced by David Herndon, Kendrick was credited with another run as Hernandez was scored on a Cabrera two-out single to left.

The Reds tacked on another run in the eighth on a Chris Heisey sacrifice fly to bring the score to 7-1.

Box Score

Game Notes: Chase Utley did not bat in the ninth inning and will have an MRI tomorrow due to an apparent right thumb injury.

Rolen’s home run in the sixth was his 300th of his career. Rolen hit his first 150 home runs with the Phillies from 1996-2002.

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Jamie Moyer Shines in Philadelphia’s 11-2 Closeout of Toronto


Philadelphia, PA — Jamie Moyer went a solid seven innings, allowing only two runs on six hits, as the Phillies took the rubber match of their three game set with the Toronto Blue Jays 11-2.

Despite the win Moyer did clinch his spot in the “not so” record book when he passed Phillies hall-of-fame Robin Roberts for sole possession of the all-time home runs allowed list with his 506th.

The 47-year old Moyer (9-6) inched to the top of the list when Vernon Wells sent a two-run shot to left field in the bottom of the third.

Ben Francisco went 3-5 with two RBI and two doubles to lead the Phillies offensive assault.

The Phillies scored four runs in the top of the second the was capped off when catcher Drew Sardinha smacked a two-out double to left field that plated Wilson Valdez and Shane Victorino.

After Wells’ home run in the third, to put the Blue Jays on the board, Philadelphia responded scoring two runs in the top of the fourth. The runs came on back-to-back RBI singles from Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley.

Chase went 1-4 with the RBI single.

Blue Jays starter Brent Cecil (7-5) allowed seven runs—five of them earned—on 10 hits in only 4 2/3 innings.

The Phillies kept it going in the fifth as Ryan Howard led off the inning with a double and was scored one batter later when Shane Victorino hit a double down the left field line that scored Howard from second.

The Phillies batted around in the seventh as they scored four runs off Blue Jays middle-reliever Jason Frazer. None of the runs were earned as the Blue Jays defense fell apart in the inning.

After Jayson Werth flied out to right to start the inning. Ryan Howard reached on a bloop grounder to short that was overthrown by SS Alex Gonzalez. After Victorino singled to center putting runners on first and second Ben Francisco capped off his day with a double to left that plated Howard.

Raul Ibanez worked a one out walk to load the bases. The next two batters were a calamity for Toronto as Shane Victorino scored from third on a Wilson Valdez fielders choice but on the play second baseman Aaron Hill over threw first that allowed Ben Francisco to score from third.

Frasor got in on the defensive mishap when he overthrew first base on a Drew Sardinha grounder to the mound that scored Raul Ibanez.

The Phillies got another strong outing from their bullpen as David Herndon and Danys Baez both pitched scoreless innings to preserve the win for Moyer.

The Phillies are back in action today as they head to Cincinnati for a three-game set with the Reds. Kyle Kendrick (4-2) will take the mound for the Phillies as he will face Reds ace Johnny Cueto (7-2).

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