Notes: Crafty Moyer tames Tigers
Veteran lefty needs only 59 pitches to get through five frames
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- It wasn't really easy. Jamie Moyer just made it seem that way.The 44-year-old Phillies left-hander had no difficulty with the defending American League champion Tigers at Bright House Networks Field on Sunday, using his assortment of low-octane fastballs and even slower changeups to baffle the Tigers for five innings. Scheduled to throw 75 pitches, Moyer needed just 59 to get through his afternoon, and he had to convince manager Charlie Manuel to give him another inning. "They wanted me to go finish in the bullpen, but I wanted to pitch," Moyer said. "I felt like I had a lot of guys out front, which was good. I got ahead in the count and proved to myself what that can do for me." Moyer was particularly satisfied that he threw all his pitches, incorporating his cutter. "It just shows that you don't have to be the strongest or fastest," Phils catcher Rod Barajas said. "As long as you have something between your ears and are able to compute everything that's going on, you can be successful. This game is a lot more knowledge and game starts than ability." Knowledge is Moyer's game. There are few hitters he doesn't know or can't detect a weakness about. He proved that for the umpteenth time in the fourth inning, when he repeatedly shook off Barajas and forced a conference. "I knew what pitch was [Moyer] was trying to get to, and [Barajas] just wouldn't get there," said shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who watched the situation unfold. Moyer explained to Barajas that he wanted to throw a changeup inside, and he struck out Marcus Thames looking on the next pitch. "It's the only my second time working with him," Barajas said. "He has so many different locations where he can throw his pitches. It's still a work in progress. I'm still not 100 percent comfortable with the many signs, but I'm sure that won't happen anymore by the time we get out of here." Barajas is very comfortable with putting down the glove and watching hitters take awkward, defensive swings. "He's able to work down, work in, work slow, work hard," Barajas said. "He mixes his pitches, throws them for strikes and keeps guys not feeling comfortable. They can't look away. They can't look in. They had to try [to] cover both sides of the plate, and that's when he's at his best. He knows how to make hitters look bad."
Tightness: It's important because it's Ryan Howard.So the sight of Howard with his left thigh wrapped after Sunday's game was a noticeable event. "It's tight right now, a little sore," Howard said as he left the clubhouse. "I'm stretching it, icing it and stuff, taking care of it." Howard didn't remember a particular play or movement he made that caused the discomfort, and doesn't expect it to become an issue. "Just too much first-step quickness," he said, laughing. Constant reminder: The patches will serve as a reminder. The team debuted its black patches with "Vuk" written in white lettering, to honor the memory of John Vukovich, who passed away on Thursday at 59. They will wear them all season. "It's hard to think he's no longer here," bullpen coach Ramon Henderson said. "I still expect to hear his voice." Henderson is among a contingent of Phillies players and coaches planning to attend Vukovich's funeral. He'll be flying up to Pennylvania with Yankees right fielder Bobby Abreu. Though Vukovich hasn't coached for two years, his presence is always felt. The patch is just a symbol. "He hasn't coached for a couple of years, but that doesn't mean you forget when he was out there," left fielder Pat Burrell said. "I miss him." In addition to team president David Montgomery, chairman Bill Giles and general manager Pat Gillick, many members from the team's Major League and Minor League staffs plan to attend the funeral. Nine players and four coaches are attending, along with Manuel. Phillies alumni expected to attend include Ruben Amaro Jr., Larry Andersen, Bob Boone, Larry Bowa, Mike Compton, Darren Daulton, Lenny Dykstra, Lee Elia, Jim Fregosi, Dallas Green, Greg Gross, Von Hayes, Dave Hollins, Tommy Hutton, Pete Incaviglia, Kevin Jordan, Joe Kerrigan, Darold Knowles, John Kruk, Greg Luzinski, Jerry Martin, Gary Matthews, Dickie Noles, Mike Schmidt and Gary Varsho. Umpires Jerry Crawford and Bruce Froemming, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, Tampa Bay senior advisor Don Zimmer, as well as former Phillies Abreu, Curt Schilling, Scott Rolen, Tim McCarver, Ruben Amaro Sr., Mike Lieberthal and Randy Wolf will also be there. Madson making new pitch: At the request of pitching coach Rich Dubee, righty reliever Ryan Madson has ditched his inconsistent curveball and is developing a slider. He said he threw six of them in his outing against the Rays on Saturday, and will continue honing it. An effective third pitch to add to his fastball-changeup can only help. Madson's hopes the slider -- a ball that breaks later and side-to-side as it reaches the plate -- will be easier to control. A second offspeed pitch would be an effective weapon, especially against right-handers. "I just do what I'm told," Madson said. "I'm making progress every day. It's a new pitch. The big thing is trusting it." Philling in: With two hits, Shane Victorino is now batting .448 this spring. Greg Dobbs went hitless and is hitting .444. ... With the Phillies reportedly receiving unattractive offers for No. 6 starter Jon Lieber, they are tossing around the idea of pitching him or Adam Eaton out of the bullpen. While their preference is starting, both have said they are willing to do whatever is asked of them. Up next: With Brett Myers scheduled to throw in a Minor League game, prospect J.A. Happ will start against the Astros on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET at Bright House Networks Field.
Happ, a rookie left-hander in his first big-league Spring Training, has allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings this spring. He has rocketed through the system since being a third-round pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.