Phils ready to face spring competition
Moyer to get nod against Pirates in Grapefruit League opener
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- For the past 11 days, the Phillies have experienced Groundhog Day at the Carpenter Complex.
Pitchers have thrown in the bullpen. Hitters have taken batting practice. There have been baserunning drills and fielding drills.
It often is monotonous, but fortunately for the Phillies, they open their Grapefruit League schedule today at 1:05 p.m. ET against the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla.
"We're ready," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Tuesday at Bright House Field. "[Pitching coach Rich] Dubee is ready. I'm ready. All of our coaches are ready. All of our players are ready."
Manuel posted the lineup for the opener Tuesday morning:
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Shane Victorino, CF
3. Raul Ibanez, LF
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Geoff Jenkins, RF
6. Matt Stairs, DH
7. Jason Donald, 2B
8. Eric Bruntlett, 3B
9. Chris Coste, C
Is posting the lineup a day early a new trend, Charlie?
"I'll put the lineup up," Manuel said. "Don't worry about it. It'll get there."
Jamie Moyer will start this afternoon for Philadelphia. Joe Blanton, Joe Bisenius, Scott Nestor, Dave Borkowski, Mike Koplove and Jake Woods also are scheduled to pitch. Pittsburgh is scheduled to throw nine relievers.
"Our practices have been good," Manuel said of his team's workouts this spring. "We've done our work. We've done everything possible and we're in a good frame of mind. Our practices have been very well organized."
Chase Utley, Pedro Feliz and Jayson Werth are the only regulars who won't be in Bradenton today. Utley and Feliz are recovering from injuries. Werth, who is expected to be the everyday right fielder, will make a road trip soon. Carlos Ruiz is making the trip, but Manuel is starting Coste instead. Coste is competing with Ronny Paulino to be Ruiz's backup.
Manuel said he isn't worried about when Utley will get into a Grapefruit League game.
"He'll let me know when he's ready," Manuel said. "If he keeps sitting on the bench, when he's ready, he'll flare up and tell me."
The Phillies play their first Grapefruit League home game at Bright House Field on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. against the Blue Jays. Beside the usual Grapefruit Leagues schedule, they also host Team Canada and Team USA in tuneups for the World Baseball Classic on March 4 and 5 at Bright House Field.
The Phils will be in Florida until April 2, when they host the Nationals. They will fly to Philadelphia after that game.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.