Phils head home for final two exhibition games


Monday, March 28, 2011
Posted: 4:29 p.m.
By Jim

CLEARWATER, Fla.The Phillies traveled to Philadelphia late Monday afternoon in preparation of their final two exhibition games to be played Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

The team still has a few decisions to make before submitting its 25-man roster on Thursday. The season opener is Friday against Houston.

First, team officials must decide whether Luis Castillo has shown enough to be the clubs primary second baseman. Castillo has two more games to audition. Hes made a solid showing so far.

If Castillo makes the roster, three playersMichael Martinez, Delwyn Young and Pete Orrwould be left competing for the final bench job. There are indications that the team is considering carrying Martinez, who has impressed club officials with his defense and versatility. Martinez, 28, is a Rule 5 pick from Washington. He has never played above Triple-A.

The makeup of the bullpen is still uncertain. Righthander Mike Stutes, who has been impressive in big-league and minor-league camp, will travel to Philadelphia for the final two exhibition games. He has some supporters in the organization and could end up on the staff if he continues to pitch well. Its unclear who would be sent to the minors if Stutes makes the club, but righthander David Herndon could be a candidate.

The Phils have until Thursday morning to set their roster.

Were keeping our minds open, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. No decisions have been made.

Were still assessing how well handle our roster and trying to make the right decisions to bring the best 25 guys north.

In addition to deciding on a roster, the Phils must decide who their closer will be. Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras are the candidates to replace injured Brad Lidge. Amaro said manager Charlie Manuel would make that decision.

What do you have, Chuck?

Wait till you see who runs out there, Manuel said.
The game
The Phillies won their Florida finale, 7-6, over Houston in the rain Monday.

The Phils finished 20-13 in Florida.

Ben Francisco belted a three-run home run and is hitting .385 with four homers and 13 RBIs.

Castillo had a double, a walk and scored two runs. He also turned a nice double play and ranged to his left to make another play.

Jimmy Rollins hit just .230 in Florida but Manuel said, It looks like hes in better shape.

Cliff Lee got his final work of the spring, three innings in a minor-league intrasquad game. The Phils did not want Lee facing the Astros because he is scheduled to pitch against them Saturday in the second game of the regular season at Citizens Bank Park.

Spring training didnt go as hoped for the Phils. Chase Utley and Lidge both went down with injuries and will start the season on the disabled list.

Nonetheless, Manuel said, Were ready. Weve been ready for a while.

The Phils drew a team record attendance of 157,201 in Florida.
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