Halladay, Hamels among early arrivals
Several pitchers, catchers in Clearwater ahead of schedule
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Charlie Manuel strolled through the Phillies' clubhouse at Bright House Field on Tuesday, looking svelte in jeans and a golf shirt.
Manuel is a new man, having lost 56 pounds in the offseason.
"These are my NutriSystem jeans," the Phils' manager joked.
Manuel, who weighs about 230 pounds, hopes Phillies pitchers and catchers look just as good Thursday during their first official workout. They do not have to officially report to camp until Wednesday, but almost everybody was present Tuesday.
Roy Halladay has been here for weeks, impressing teammates with his workout routine. He was unavailable to the media Tuesday because the Phillies are holding an introductory news conference for him Friday. The Phillies also have news conferences scheduled for closer Brad Lidge, who will speak Wednesday, and Cole Hamels, who will speak Thursday.
Lidge is coming off a nightmarish season, which preceded offseason elbow and knee surgeries.
Hamels is trying to bounce back after struggling for the first time in his career.
"Hey, Dubes," Manuel said to pitching coach Rich Dubee as Hamels walked past him. "How about Hamels? We've got Hollywood Hamels and Roy Halladay."
J.A. Happ, Phillippe Aumont and Scott Mathieson threw bullpen sessions in relatively chilly conditions. It was in the low 50s. The unseasonably cool weather has had the locals upset, but they should talk to Philadelphians, who were getting more snow Tuesday.
Other than a few players throwing off the mound and playing catch, it was relatively quiet. The clubhouse certainly seems more subdued without Brett Myers running around. Chad Durbin, who is from Louisiana, talked about the New Orleans Saints' Super Bowl championship. Kyle Kendrick answered a couple of questions about his fiancé Stephanie LaGrossa's appearance on the latest season of "Survivor."
J.C. Romero, who had elbow surgery Oct. 7, talked about his chances to be ready by Opening Day. He said he likes the Phils' bullpen with the additions of Danys Baez and Jose Contreras.
"It's good, but sometimes it's not good to be that good on paper, because then expectations get extremely high," Romero said. "But you know what we expect here. Charlie expects us to win -- period. It gets to the point [that] when you have arms like that, it makes the job a lot more comfortable. You've got experience. You've got power.
"If you look around the big leagues, there's not many bullpens with 90 [mph]-plus fastballs one after another. We have that, so we have to take advantage of it. The important thing for us is to realize what our job is and go from there. The good thing is that this team always has good chemistry, and we're looking forward to having good chemistry this year as well."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.