Ultimately, pitching for the Phillies is Benson's goal, along with helping them get past one of his former teams, the Mets. He likes the Phillies, as well as Philadelphia's proximity to New York, specifying that he wanted to remain on the East Coast.Hopefully, that opportunity will come. "I'm hoping it works out here because this is a perfect opportunity for me," Benson said. "You got a great defense, a great offense, a great bullpen, a great manager, a great pitching coach. I'm keeping my fingers crossed because I want to be here." Team to beat, Round Two: The first shot came from Port St. Lucie, Fla., from Carlos Beltran. Asked about the team's acquisition of Johan Santana, Beltran said, "Without Santana, we felt as a team we had a chance to win in our division. With him, now I have no doubt we're going to win in the division. I have no doubt we have what it takes." He closed with, "So this year, to Jimmy Rollins, we are the team to beat." Rollins, who hasn't arrived in Clearwater, is expected to reply. In the meantime, manager Charlie Manuel said, "Let Louisville do the talking." On Anna: Benson knows wife Anna, a former exotic dancer, draws plenty of attention for her revealing magazine spreads and risque comments. This is fine with him. "It goes with the territory," he said of his wife, who hasn't yet arrived in Clearwater. "It doesn't bother me one bit. Some of the stuff that's written, like I read the other day that she's a Penthouse model, and I thought, 'Come on, man, she's not a Penthouse model. Look up her name and show me some pictures.' You run into that kind of stuff. It's not a big deal. We have fun with it." If nothing else, it breaks up the monotony. "Baseball is boring sometimes, so you have to spruce it up a little bit," Benson said. "It's entertaining. It keeps me on my toes and [the media] on their toes. As long as you guys don't talk too much smack." Duly noted. Philling in: Anderson Garcia, designated for assignment on Feb. 7, was claimed by the Seattle Mariners. ... The Phillies signed 11 players for the 2008 season: Joe Bisenius, Fabio Castro, Clay Condrey, John Ennis, J.A. Happ, Lincoln Holdzkom, Shane Youman, Mike Zagurski, Chris Coste, Jason Jaramillo and Carlos Ruiz. ... Shane Victorino and So Taguchi arrived at camp on Saturday, leaving Rollins, Jayson Werth, Wes Helms and Eric Bruntlett as the only unaccounted players.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less