CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Chase Utley and the Phillies powered their way to a 9-2 victory over the Braves on Wednesday afternoon at Bright House Field.
Utley hit a three-run home run in the first inning and a solo home run in the third inning, while Freddy Galvis and Rene Garcia hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning against Braves right-hander Julio Teheran.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Cole Hamels completed his final tuneup Wednesday for his Opening Day start against the Red Sox.
He allowed six hits, two runs (one earned) and one walk with three strikeouts in six innings in the Phils' 9-2 victory over the Braves at Bright House Field. It was his final Grapefruit League start before he pitches Opening Day at Citizens Bank Park.
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Every spring for the past few years, Charlie Manuel and Ryne Sandberg established The Chase Utley Plan.
The former and current Phillies managers promised they would reduce the second baseman's playing time to keep him strong late into the season. But once the season started, the temptation to play their best hitter became too strong. They wanted to win. Utley wanted to play.
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Ken Giles said Wednesday morning that a doctor examined his back and told him the tightness he experienced there Tuesday is not serious.
The Phillies are confident about the diagnosis.
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies acknowledged this week the Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez signing might never pan out.
That became more apparent Wednesday when they announced Gonzalez, whom they optioned Sunday to Triple-A, had been outrighted from the 40-man roster. The Phillies placed him on waivers, knowing they risked losing him to another team. But no team claimed him because he has not performed as expected and because he is in the second year of a three-year, $12 million contract.
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillippe Aumont quietly packed up the things in his locker Wednesday morning at Bright House Field.
He could have been packing for a trip to another organization, but he was not. Aumont entered Spring Training out of options, which meant if he did not make the Opening Day roster, he needed to clear waivers to remain with the Phillies. But nobody claimed Aumont, so the Phillies announced he had been outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies cleared up their outfield situation Wednesday morning.
They announced they had reassigned Brian Bogusevic to Minor League camp. Domonic Brown will open the season on the 15-day disabled list with left Achilles tendinitis, which leaves Jordan Danks and Grady Sizemore as the top two candidates to be the team's Opening Day right fielder.
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies president Pat Gillick has been on the job since August, and in that time the organization has made a seismic shift philosophically and the team is rebuilding. Gillick recently spoke with MLB.com about the rebuilding process and more. Here are some highlights:
Question: From what you've seen this spring, is the rebuild further away than you anticipated, closer or still in that 2017-18 window?
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson each homered as the Blue Jays defeated the Phillies, 10-6, in their final home game of the spring at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
The heart of Toronto's order combined for three home runs, four runs scored, four RBIs and four walks in one of their final tuneups for the regular season. The Blue Jays will wrap up their Florida schedule on Wednesday before heading to Montreal for a two-game exhibition series against the Reds.
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Phillies right-hander Sean O'Sullivan tried to make the best of a short-notice start Tuesday at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium which the Phillies lost to the Blue Jays by a score of 10-6.
He said his wife read online Monday that he had been scheduled to start Tuesday's Grapefruit League game, but nobody from the Phillies told him until Tuesday morning, about 24 hours after it had been announced in big league camp. O'Sullivan, who is the in-house favorite to be the team's No. 5 starter, allowed five hits, four runs, four walks and two home runs with two strikeouts in four-plus innings.
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies have been trying for years to replace Jayson Werth in right field.
They have started Hunter Pence, Marlon Byrd, John Mayberry Jr., Domonic Brown, Delmon Young, Ben Francisco and 11 others in right field since Werth signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Nationals in Dec. 2010. But with the Phillies announcing Tuesday that Brown will open the 2015 season on the 15-day disabled list with left Achilles inflammation -- his DL stint can be backdated to March 27, which means he could be activated as early as April 11 -- that list could grow to 18 by Opening Day.
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies are pretty optimistic Chad Billingsley not only will join their rotation before the end of April, but that he will be effective once he is.
It explains why they released Kevin Slowey on Tuesday, and non-roster invitee Sean O'Sullivan's front runner status to be the No. 5 starter, which the Phillies will not need until April 12. Billingsley is recovering from a pair of right elbow surgeries, but he pitched in a Minor League Spring Training game Thursday.
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Phillies cannot afford to lose Ken Giles to a serious injury.
But Giles left the eighth inning of Tuesday's 10-6 loss to the Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium with what he described as tightness in the middle of his back. Giles said he is not worried about it and fully expects to be ready to pitch Opening Day, if needed. But the Phillies hardly want Giles to risk something worse, so his availability Monday against the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park is far from certain.
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Starling Marte, Tony Sanchez, Pedro Florimon and Pedro Alvarez hit two-run homers, Josh Harrison added a solo job and Alvarez capped the homers with a grand slam Monday as the Pirates downed the Phillies, 18-4, in the Bucs' final Grapefruit League home game, which was marred by a benches-clearing fracas.
A punches-free altercation was sparked by Sean Rodriguez's displeasure at being quick-pitched by Phillies right-hander Kevin Slowey in the fourth inning. Coaches Juan Samuel of the Phillies and Rick Sofield of the Pirates were ejected during the disturbance. Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle drew a later thumb from plate umpire Chad Fairchild for arguing balls and strikes.
BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Phillies have highlighted three of their better pitching prospects in the past week with Aaron Nola, Severino Gonzalez and Zach Eflin each getting a start.
Eflin started Monday's 18-4 loss to the Pirates at McKechnie Field, allowing three hits, four runs (one earned), one walk and two home runs with two strikeouts in three innings. The Phillies acquired Eflin in December in the Jimmy Rollins trade.
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Ryne Sandberg's emotions are difficult to read, but he seemed relatively upset Monday afternoon at McKechnie Field.
The Phillies lost to the Pirates in ugly fashion, 18-4. But the last week is cause for greater concern. The Phillies are 0-5-1 since a victory Tuesday against the Braves. They have been outscored 50-11 in that stretch.
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates left fielder Sean Rodriguez challenged Kevin Slowey to a fight Monday at McKechine Field.
It never got that far.
BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Phillies have made their starting pitching schedule top secret this spring, but they announced Sean O'Sullivan will pitch Tuesday against the Blue Jays.
It is noteworthy because O'Sullivan is the favorite to be the team's No. 5 starter, which they will need April 12. The Phillies reassigned O'Sullivan to Minor League camp earlier this month, but he has been getting stretched out.
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Ruben Amaro Jr. said the Phillies have about four or five decisions to make before they finalize the Opening Day roster.
One important decision has been made. Rule 5 Draft pick Odubel Herrera not only has made the team, but he will also be the Opening Day center fielder.
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. offered a blunt assessment about his offense a couple weeks ago.
"We're not going to score a lot of runs," Amaro said.
BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Phillies thought so highly of Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez in the summer of 2013 that they offered him a six-year, $48 million contract.
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg smirked Thursday when asked about his Opening Day starter.
"It's a secret," he said.
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Comcast SportsNet finally found a replacement for Jamie Moyer when it announced in February that Ben Davis will join Tom McCarthy, Matt Stairs and Mike Schmidt in the Phillies' broadcast booth this season.
Davis knows the Phillies and baseball. He grew up in the area, attending Malvern Prep. The Padres selected him with the second overall pick in the 1995 First-Year Player Draft before he played in the big leagues seven seasons. He spent the past four years working on Comcast's Phillies pregame and postgame shows.
He confirmed Sunday that he plans to use Revere and Herrera in those spots on Opening Day.
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Tigers finally jumped on Phillies right-hander Aaron Harang on Sunday at Bright House.
"Take it easy," he said. "I need some hits."