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Amaro taking positives out of spring numbers

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CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies entered Friday's Grapefruit League game against the Red Sox with a 6-14-2 record, the lowest OPS in baseball and a pitching staff that ranked 21st in ERA.

Reports from scouts have not been glowing.

"We haven't hit the ball as well as we would like, but we're seeing some positive things about our pitching," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "Some guys are stepping up, guys like [Mario] Hollands and [Jeff] Manship and [David] Buchanan. Those guys have added to depth issues we might have had because of the injuries we've had. So there are some positives there.

"I think [Cody] Asche is starting to play better, a little bit more relaxed, and he's swinging the bat a little bit better. Ben Revere has been outstanding. He's had a very good spring. Guys like Tony Gwynn and others have stepped up. There are some positive things going on, too."

But the Phillies still need Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins to get them to a World Series. They are hitting a combined .197 (24-for-122) with three doubles, two home runs, 11 RBIs, nine walks and 29 strikeouts.

"We've got to get those guys going on all cylinders," Amaro said. "With veteran guys, sometimes it takes time for them to get their rhythm. I know Chase is still working on his timing. I know Howard is still working on some of his mechanics. He hasn't played in a while, so he's still getting his mechanics together with his swing. Jimmy has got to get reps and get ready to go.

"Chooch [Carlos Ruiz] has had a pretty good spring for us and done well. We need him to produce and Brownie [Domonic Brown] has been sick, so we need to get him back on the field and playing. I think there are some positives. We just have to get our veteran guys going. We'll sink and swim with those guys."

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

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