Phils set to open Grapefruit schedule

Phils set to open Grapefruit schedule

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Just the words "the drills are over" made Greg Dobbs smile.

"Whew," he said. "The games are what we look forward to."

After the standard introductory two weeks of sun-baking while tweaking baserunning, fielding short-hops and schooling fundamentals, the players will see the welcome sight of an opposing uniform. For the Phillies, that will be the red, black and white of the Cincinnati Reds, who arrive at Bright House Field on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. ET to kick off the Grapefruit League schedule.

The Phillies open their 62nd year in Clearwater and fifth at their new facility. The defending National League East champions will likely send their projected starting lineup out for the first game, so each player can receive the proper crowd appreciation from what could be a sellout crowd.

Philadelphia's venerable starter Jamie Moyer, the oldest player in the game, will start his 22nd Major League season against the NL's oldest franchise. Carlos Carrasco, one of the team's top prospects, is also scheduled to pitch.

Though the wins and losses don't matter in the standings, this is when the bonding process begins, often on long bus rides. The Phillies added Geoff Jenkins, Pedro Feliz, So Taguchi, Eric Bruntlett, Kris Benson, Chad Durbin and Brad Lidge this winter, and they have to get to know their new teammates.

"Getting to know each other is always important," said Dobbs, who went through his Phillies initiation last season, gaining the nickname, "Hobbs" in the process. "That helped us stay together during the season and accomplish what we did. We're looking forward to getting started.

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