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02/19/08 7:47 PM ET

Notes: High praise for Feliz

Schmidt extols Phillies' new third baseman at camp

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Pedro Feliz received a high compliment from one of the game's best.

Mike Schmidt, a Hall of Famer who is regarded as one of baseball's greatest third basemen, lauded the Phillies' new third baseman on Tuesday.

"He's an impressive young man," said Schmidt, who is in Clearwater for two weeks as a guest instructor. "He has tremendously impressive hands and a good arm. He's going to be a big key for the club this year."

Feliz is with the Phillies after signing a two-year, $8.5 million free-agent contract on Jan. 31. The righty had hit at least 20 or more homers in four straight seasons for San Francisco.

"Just watching him on TV, he caught my eye," Schmidt said. "I can see a good, solid fundamental hitter. I just know him as a mid-20s home run, 80-RBI guy. I don't know if he's ever gotten to 30 home runs or 100 RBIs, but he has that potential, without a doubt."

Feliz met Schmidt for the first time on Tuesday, and he added him to a list of Hall of Fame players he met while with the Giants, including Willie Mays, Gaylord Perry, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal.

"It's fun to have people like that around," Feliz said. "They know the game and can see a lot of things."

A poor performance: Manager Charlie Manuel is feeling better after battling the flu for two days, but that couldn't save his morning speech to his players on the first full-squad workout.

At least not according to him.

"I wasn't very good today," he said. "I rambled too much. Really, it wasn't one of my better rah-rah speeches."

Manuel said he did hit on some important talking points, mainly that the team knows it needs to go further.

"Our ultimate goal is to win the World Series," he said. "We have a lot of work to do. We haven't finished the job yet."

"I thought his speech last week [to the pitchers and catchers] was better," said Cole Hamels, with a laugh. "But he still said everything that needed to be said. He told the older guys what's expected out of them and the younger guys what to do to put themselves in a position to help out at some point."

Extended 15 minutes of fame: Kyle Kendrick endured another day of being reminded that he fell for an elaborate practical joke.

The second-year pitcher and Brett Myers went on NBC's The Today Show and relived his embarrassment with hosts Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira.

If you still haven't heard, Kendrick was led to believe that he'd been traded to Japan for a fictional player named "Kobayashi Iwamura" or "The Hot Dog Eater," as Myers called him.

Near the end of the segment, Shane Victorino showed he had Kendrick's back by dousing Myers with a shaving cream pie, leaving Vieira to comment that Myers received his "just dessert."

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"He probably knew it was coming, but not when," Victorino said. "They always call me the guy who gets everybody [with shaving cream] after games, so I thought it would be funny to get him now."

Does Victorino now fear retribution?

"No," he said. "Game on."

Despite the story taking on a life of its own, Myers doesn't regret it one bit.

"Negative, because he's going to get so many girls now, watch," Myers said. "The guy's face was on national TV, every girl in America would talk to him right now."

Perhaps then, Kendrick said, Myers would be forgiven.

Squeezing in Helms: While there's still a strong likelihood that Wes Helms will start the regular season with the team, Manuel allowed for the possibility of Helms staying.

Assuming So Taguchi, Jayson Werth, Greg Dobbs, Eric Bruntlett and Chris Coste all make the team as backups, Helms' addition would give the Phillies a six-man bench and require the team to carry only 11 pitchers.

That possibility isn't out of the ordinary, since Ryan Madson, Clay Condrey and Chad Durbin are all capable of pitching multiple innings.

"If we have guys in our bullpen who can throw two innings, that's how we want to set up our bullpen," Manuel said. "Madson is a two-inning guy. If Chad Durbin lands in our bullpen, he could go two or three innings."

Quotable: "I aspire to be young James. He's coming in to camp looking good. The only thing that's kind of heavy on him right now are those earrings. He might get hypothermia in his ear or something. Jimmy, what's up with the ice in your earlobes? Are they cold?" -- Ryan Howard, on giving National League MVP Jimmy Rollins grief as he arrived in camp

Philling in: Right-hander Kris Benson will throw a second bullpen session on Wednesday. For the next week or so, he'll throw, rest a day, play catch, rest a day and throw a bullpen. He hopes to throw about 60 pitches on Wednesday, two sets of 30. "I'm trying to get my endurance going a little bit," Benson said. ... Bright House Networks Field is dropping "Networks" from its name, and the new identification is being phased in over the next few weeks.

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