Notes: Franklin feeling it

Notes: Franklin feeling it

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Ryan Franklin turned in another solid outing on Wednesday, lowering his spring ERA to 3.57.

He allowed two runs, three hits and two walks, with four strikeouts. The two runs came on solo homers to Atlanta Braves outfielders Andruw Jones and Jeff Francoeur.

"I threw all my pitches today," Franklin said. "I threw maybe 10 splits and got good results. I made a mistake on Andruw, a [batting practice] fastball, and he did what he was supposed to do with it."

Franklin's approach was not to show the Braves too much of his arsenal.

"I had the mind-set going in that I didn't want to show them too much how I was going to pitch them during the season," Franklin said.

Record tying: First baseman Ryan Howard smacked his ninth Spring Training homer on Wednesday, tying Dick Allen's club record for spring homers, set in 1964.

Howard must feel locked in, huh?

"Nope. Not right now," he said. "Obviously, I'm getting hits, but as far as playing the way I want to feel, no. I'm a little off-balance right now. I'm trying to get that cleaned up. I have a bit of a long swing. I'll get it all taken care of."

And when will that happen?

"That remains to be seen," the slugger said.

Turning the page: Every baseball marriage typically ends in divorce at some point, and Todd Pratt's case file is no different.

The veteran catcher spoke his mind on Wednesday about his separation from the team, right before the Phillies-Braves game.

Pratt felt there was a lack of direct communication between him and his former ballclub regarding their desire to go their separate ways.

"I was very surprised. I was upset," he said. "That's the way it is. That's fine."

Pratt claimed that he didn't hear from anyone from the organization until Dec. 7, when assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. phoned to say they wouldn't offer salary arbitration, effectively ending his tenure with the team. The 39-year-old played with the Phillies from 1992-94 and from 2001-05. Last year, he hit .251 with seven homers and 23 RBIs in 60 games, including a career-best 49 starts.

"They called me the last day," Pratt said. "That was it. I played the last important game for them [against the Nationals] and I don't even get a phone call? That's fine. There's definitely no hard feelings."

Amaro said he wasn't positive, but believed the team did call Pratt right after the season, but it's important to note that the Phillies had more pressing matters.

spring training 2006
News and features:
Multimedia:
• Abreu's RBI groundout:  350K
• Manuel on first week of spring:  350K
• Gillick on the Phillies' depth:  350K
• Cormier on the revamped bullpen:  350K
• Mike Schmidt on being at camp:  350K
Spring Training info:
MLB.com coverage  |  Schedule  |  Ballpark  |  Tickets

First of all, they had no general manager until Nov. 2, then had to focus on keeping, then replacing the now-Met closer Billy Wagner. A backup catcher ranked lower on their offseason to-do list.

Amaro also said the other major factor into his decision was that the team felt it needed a catcher who was probably going to start more games, and Pratt had averaged somewhere between 35 to 45 games over the past four years, plus Pratt was going to turn 39 this year.

"This stuff that happens every year," Amaro said. "We love Pratty. He did a great job for us. We were still in the process of deciding what we wanted to do with our catching and were still processing the guys who were available. We ended up making a decision to not bring him back.

"This has happened for years," Amaro said. "Guys aren't re-signed for whatever reason and are upset. That's part of the game. Obviously Pat had a lot of other things going on and we were still trying to make a decision on which way we wanted to go."

Ultimately, Pratt said the Phillies' decision ended up being a good thing and is happy to be on the Braves.

"I keep [saying] I want to play two more years," he said. "I'm in great shape. As long as I feel good, I feel I'll play well."

Quotable: "I want him to think that, but I don't want him to go." -- manager Charlie Manuel, on Howard thinking about stretching a double into a triple on Wednesday.

Philling in: Closer Tom Gordon threw a scoreless inning Wednesday, with a strikeout, and looked sharp. Third baseman David Bell played in his second Minor League game on Wednesday. He doubled, tripled, walk, struck out twice and grounded out to first.

Coming up: Robinson Tejeda makes his first start of the spring on Thursday against the Detroit Tigers at 1:05 p.m. ET, giving the Phillies more time to properly evaluate him. He had been promised a fair shot to make the team after pitching for the Domincan Republic in the World Baseball Classic. Ryan Madson, who would normally take that spot, is scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game.

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.