Philadelphia Phillies preview: Is the window open for another year?
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The Philadelphia Phillies hobbled into 2012 with a variety of spare parts playing significant roles on a daily basis. Injuries to Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, as well as an elbow concern for Roy Halladay would eventually do enough to halt the Phillies run of five consecutive playoff appearances. However, it’s looking more sunny in Philadelphia as 2013 approaches for various reasons.
The usual suspects — Jimmy Rollins, Utley and Howard — appear to be at full health for the start of 2013. An overhaul of the complementary pieces to the roster did occur, though. Juan Pierre, Placido Polanco and Ty Wigginton are no longer in Philly. They’ve been replaced by Ben Revere, Michael Young and Delmon Young.
Aside from question marks surrounding Halladay’s health and velocity, the pitching staff looks formidable once again. The acquisition of John Lannan should bode well. He will provide a complimentary presence towards the back end of the rotation alongside Kyle Kendrick.
Additionally, the Philadelphia Phillies added to their bullpen with the signings of Mike Adams and Chad Durbin. Adams had significant issues with his velocity last season due to thoracic outlet syndrome. Adams underwent surgery in the offseason for this condition, and the Phillies appear pleased with his potential to rebound. Durbin, a core member of the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies championship team, is back and will provide stability in the middle-relief role.
After swinging and missing on Justin Upton and other high-profile movers from the offseason, the Philadelphia Phillies appear more ordinary than ever. No longer are Utley, Halladay, Howard and Adams at the pinnacle of their positions. Times are changing, and if anything, this offseason showed how far the Phillies are behind the rejuvenated Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves.
Philadelphia Phillies position players
Despite AARP memberships in sight, the veteran core of the Philadelphia Phillies lineup remains intact. First baseman Howard is entering April at full strength for the first time since 2011. At second base, Utley is opening with a clean bill of health for the first time since 2010. Meanwhile, Rollins will continue to man shortstop with Michael Young hovers at third base.
Aside from having zero pop in his bat and a weak arm, Revere will patrol center field. The Phillies hope his speed will make up for his other deficiencies. Once healthy, Delmon Young will start in right field. In the meantime, right field will be a platoon between John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix. The biggest surprise thus far is Domonic Brown. Since joining the coaching staff, new hitting coach Wally Joyner has tweaked Brown’s swing. After a breakout performance in spring training, Brown will be the everyday left fielder. If he can continue his production from the spring into the season, he will finally live up to the billing of a top prospect.
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