04/04/09 5:43 PM ET
Phillies finalize 25-man roster
Infielder Cairo is surprise selection to make ballclub
By Andy Jasner / Special to MLB.com
Philadelphia's Opening Day roster for Sunday's game at 8:05 p.m. ET against the Atlanta Braves includes 12 pitchers, two catchers, seven infielders and four outfielders.
The pitchers are Joe Blanton, Clay Condrey, Chad Durbin, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, Brett Myers, Chan Ho Park, Scott Eyre, Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ, Jamie Moyer and Jack Taschner.
Catchers include Chris Coste and Carlos Ruiz, while the infielders are Eric Bruntlett, Cairo, Greg Dobbs, Pedro Feliz, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley.
The outfielders are Raul Ibanez, Matt Stairs, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth.
Of these 25 players, the most surprising just may be Cairo.
Cairo was considered a long shot to make the team when he was signed to a Minor League deal in mid-February with an invitation to Spring Training.
Last season with the Seattle Mariners, he hit .249 with no home runs and 23 RBIs in 221 at-bats. Cairo has not homered since 2005, so he wouldn't be the type of bench player to provide some pop.
"Miguel is a guy who plays hard, and I like that," Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said. "He fits in with what we do and how we play."
Cairo stole third base in the bottom of the ninth inning of Friday's 3-2 win over the Rays. It was a somewhat obscure play in a Spring Training game, but it was something that Manuel sure noticed.
"It was heads-up baseball," Manuel said. "If you see us every day, that's how we play the game. It's how we talk to the players about playing the game. I liked seeing that."
Cairo is a career .266 hitter with 27 homers and 318 RBIs in 13 Major League seasons.
"I always play hard," Cairo said on Friday. "I knew I had to show the Phillies what I could do. I know if I play hard, I'll give myself a chance."
Cairo played for the Rays from 1998-2000 when Phillies assistant general manager Chuck LaMar was Tampa Bay's general manager. Phillies assistant general manager Benny Looper worked for the Mariners last season.
Andy Jasner is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.