Mailbag: Kendrick's spring a concern?

Mailbag: Kendrick's spring a concern?

Is there any cause for concern with how Kyle Kendrick has pitched this spring? Is it a case of tweaking and fine-tuning some of his pitches, or have opponents figured him out?
-- Ron A., Jacksonville, Fla.

Kendrick arrived in camp with a goal of developing a changeup and wasn't throwing as many of his sinkers as a result. Many pitchers work on specific things in Spring Training, and they can get hit when a batter knows it's coming. Also, a pitcher might throw, say a changeup, in a count where he might throw a different pitch, because that's the day's focus. Kendrick's next three outings are more important than the previous three, because he'll be using his full repertoire and be more focused on getting outs.

Also, to address the number of questions about whether Kendrick should worry about his spot in the Phillies rotation, here's what manager Charlie Manuel said on the topic earlier this week:

"Kyle doesn't have to prove anything to me. He came up and went 10-4, and the way he pitched, it will take more than a bad spring for him to lose his job. Poise was his big thing last year, and his confidence, and he shouldn't let anything get him down. I'm the manager, and I like what he did for us. He's our fourth starter."

Should the Phillies be worried about playing poorly in preseason?
-- Matt L., Philadelphia

Manuel is upset by his team's performance, specifically with what he called a "too cool" approach by some of players, and he's likely to call a team meeting soon (if he hasn't already) to remind his team that this type of intensity level won't get it done in the regular season. That said, players have long said that it's hard to get up for Spring Training games, which serve as nothing more than a way to prepare for a 162-game season. They understand the manager's frustration, but largely aren't worried.

Why has little been said about Chris Coste's book? I tried to buy a copy last week and was told that it wouldn't be available until April 18.
-- Stuart L., Mt. Pleasant Mills, Pa.

Coste's book has been available for pre-order on and for a few weeks, and it's national release is scheduled for Tuesday. There's been plenty written about his long journey to the Major Leagues, and he said he's very happy with how the book turned out.

We hear about all the young pitching, Joe Savery, Josh Outman, Carlos Carrasco, Scott Mathieson and Kyle Drabek. What about Andrew Carpenter? He wasn't in big league camp. What's the deal with him? Are the Phillies still high on him?
-- Mike P., Jonestown, Pa.

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It has been written more than once this spring that Carpenter is this year's Kendrick, a pitcher no one heard of in Spring Training who could make an impact at some point this season. Many things had to go wrong for Kendrick to emerge, and that would be the same scenario for Carpenter. His repertoire is similar, as he relies on a ground balls via the sinker.

What is the scouting report on C.J. Henry? He was supposed to be the key piece in the Bobby Abreu deal and has since switched from shortstop to outfield.
-- Ben C., Princeton, N.J.

Henry never got going with the Phillies and was considering pursuing a basketball career, a la Drew Henson. He's no longer in the organization. While Philadelphia would've have liked to see more of a return from the other players received from the Yankees -- Matt Smith, Carlos Monasterios and Jesus Sanchez -- that deal served as a way to save a large chunk of salary.

Who is slated to be the Opening Day first-base coach, in place of Davey Lopes?
-- Ron J., Conshohocken, Pa.

Former outfielder Jerry Martin will be the first-base coach until Lopes returns, which could be sometime in May.

What song will Brad Lidge come out to? I think he should come out to "Wild Thing," like Charlie Sheen did as Rick Vaughn in "Major League." I'm surprised no one has done that yet.
-- Matthew N., St. Johnsville, N.Y.

Lidge said recently that he's leaning toward Drowning Pool's "Soldiers" over another of their songs, "Bodies." I'm not hip enough to be familiar with either song, but I heard them thanks to YouTube. "Soldiers" has sirens in the beginning, and could sound cool if it were blaring from the Citizens Bank Park speakers.

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