© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
04/17/07 9:05 PM ET
Notes: Manuel saddened by tragedy
Phillies skipper has multiple connections to Virginia Tech
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Not playing baseball for the second straight day depressed manager Charlie Manuel, but not because of the rain that flooded the area. Manuel grew up in Buena Vista, Va., and played baseball and basketball at Parry McCluer High School, about 75 miles north of Blacksburg, home of Virginia Tech. Manuel couldn't turn away from the sad news of the shooting at the peaceful university. "I can't believe it," Manuel said. "It's a small college town. I was totally surprised. I spent a lot of time there." Manuel's connection to the school began in the early 1980s, when he was a cross-checker for the Twins and would often watch the Hokies. While there, he got to know former head coach Chuck Hartman, and often sat on the bench during games. His neighbor in Winter Haven, Fla., is Billy Hardee Sr., a Virginia Tech alumnus who played in the NFL with the Broncos and Jets. Hardee's son (Billy Jr.) still attends the school as a medical student, and Manuel's niece, Kalie Manuel, graduated from there last year. Manuel himself was recruited by the school out of high school, but signed with the Twins. Native Virginian Billy Wagner, formerly of the Phillies and now of the Mets, hopes this tragedy makes parents more vigilant. "It makes you want to be more aware of what they're going through and what they're doing," said Wagner, a father of four. "You don't want to lose touch with your kids. If they are going through a tough time, you want them to know that you're there to support them, no matter what." New wardrobe: When Kali'a Victorino arrives from Las Vegas to spend some time with her father, she'll have some new duds. The Phillies right fielder got three "baseball" outfits for his three-week-old daughter, all with Victorino's No. 8 on the back. "They're supposed to be for 0-to-3 months, but they look like they'll fit a one-year-old," he said. "I'm going to try to put her in one. I wanted whatever baby stuff they had, and they brought this stuff down." Philling in: J.D. Durbin was designated for assignment on Monday for the fourth time in the past three weeks. If he clears waivers, he will head to Triple-A Ottawa and pitch in relief. ... The Phillies won't skip anyone's turn due to the rainouts, and everyone will be pushed back. That means every starter will receive two extra days of rest, except for Freddy Garcia, who joined the rotation on Tuesday. Quotable: "It can go both ways. If we come out tonight and score a lot of runs, I'm going to say, 'Yeah, it helped us.' If we don't, I'll say, '[Darn], those two days killed us.'" -- Manuel, on the helpfulness of the extra off-days. Coming up: Adam Eaton is scheduled to pitch for the first time in a week, thanks to two rainouts earlier in the week. He will face the Nationals in Washington at 7:05 p.m. ET. The right-hander rebounded from a poor Phillies debut on April 5 to hold the Mets to two runs on four hits last Wednesday night at Shea Stadium, and he said it was a matter of feeling more comfortable with a mechanical adjustment he made near the end of Spring Training. He's posted a 4.08 ERA against the Nationals in three career starts, but hasn't received a decision.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.