This spring, these reconnaissance missions focus on players like Ben Revere and Delmon Young for reasons that are both similar and different.
Revere was the first-round Draft choice of the Minnesota Twins in 2007. He progressed steadily through the system before making his Major League debut in 2010. The 24-year-old center fielder had been with just one organization before he was traded to the Phillies on the last day of the Winter Meetings.
Young, on the other hand, knows what it's like to walk into a new clubhouse for the first time. Just 27, he's with his fourth big league club. And he hasn't been able to play in a game this spring, or even participate in full workouts with his new teammates, since he's rehabbing from microfracture surgery on his right ankle.
Coincidentally, the new teammates Revere and Young knew best were each other, having been with the Twins in 2010 and '11. And, fittingly, their lockers are right next to each other in the Bright House Field clubhouse.
Revere insisted that his transition to a new club has been smooth.
"I didn't think it was going to be too tough," Revere said after Tuesday's 4-3 win over the Yankees. "We played these guys last year. I talked to most of them. They welcomed me with open arms. Of course, there's always something about getting traded. You're going to miss the people back at your first team. The Twins were my only team. But you've got to move on. It's a business. So now I'm with a new family.
"I played against Domonic Brown in the Minor Leagues. I talked to Jimmy Rollins last year. Freddy Galvis, Michael Martinez, all those guys. I talked to John Mayberry. There are a few of these guys that I've known for a little while and I'm pretty close to."
Rollins called Revere after the trade to welcome him.
"Everybody was pretty nice when I first got down here," Revere said. "They were like, 'Hey, man, let's get a world championship.' A couple said, 'Let's get at it.' So that was pretty nice."
Noted Manuel: "Ben Revere has definitely got some energy. He's got laughter. He brings life to it because of the way he plays. He'll have a conversation with you. He's the kind of guy in a clubhouse where guys kind of pick at him, because of how he laughs and his size and everything like that. But he's in real good shape and he's very strong. He's going to be good because he'll bring some laughter to the guys and definitely help them stay relaxed."
Revere was asked if there was anything special anyone did that made him feel welcome.
"They said hello," Young deadpanned before answering the question.
Young also said he felt comfortable almost immediately. One reason is that all three of his previous teams (Rays, Twins, Tigers) were frequent Grapefruit League opponents of the Phillies.
Young said that not being able to play hasn't kept him from feeling like he's part of his new team.
"Because it's Spring Training," Young said.
Manuel said Young has fit in fine so far, but added that he thinks he'll become even more comfortable when he's able to play.
"Delmon's more quiet, but he likes to talk to you about baseball. That's one of the biggest things I've seen about him. He talks more than I thought he would, but he talks mostly about baseball," Manuel said. "The program that he's on is what we want him to do. But once we get to where we can turn him loose, I think you're going to see that he'll interact better.
"I think he kind of picks his way right now because he's not able to do the full practice with his teammates. Maybe he shies away a little because he feels like he has to get in there if he's going to be one of these guys."