03/07/12 7:11 PM ET
'Shipping' not following Papelbon to Philly
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
Lead singer and bassist Ken Casey told ESPN Music this week that Papelbon cannot use the song now that he pitches for the Phillies.
"That's not Pap's song," Casey said. "That's the [Red Sox] closer's song."
Casey's comment blew up on the internet, but the band said on its Facebook page the comments were a joke and not to be taken literally.
"What's this we hear about us telling Papelbon he can't use 'Shipping Up To Boston' as his entry song?" the band wrote. "We would never do that! It was a joke, people!"
Papelbon signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Phillies in November. He said last month he already had a new song in mind -- something he planned to use in Boston before the Red Sox suggested the Dropkick Murphys' hit. Papelbon reiterated Wednesday he is keeping the song a secret until the pitches in Philadelphia, but he hinted it is a hard rock song.
"It's not 100 percent," Papelbon said. "I'm not totally set with it yet. I'm still thinking about a couple."
Casey, who is friends with Papelbon, is headed to Clearwater at some point this spring to help Papelbon decide.
Papelbon said Casey suggested changing up "Shipping Up to Boston," swapping Boston for Philly, but it didn't work for him.
The two also will talk about Papelbon's role as spokesman for the Philadelphia branch of The Claddagh Fund, a charity Casey founded to support underfunded non-profit organizations that help vulnerable populations in the community.
Willis experiences soreness after relief stint
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- This is not how Dontrelle Willis wanted to open Spring Training with the Phillies.
He allowed three hits, four runs and two walks in just two-thirds of an inning Wednesday in a 10-3 loss to the Astros at Bright House Field. He said afterward he has some soreness in his left arm, although he does not believe it is serious.
"My arm just felt fatigued out there today," said Willis, who has allowed four runs in 1 2/3 innings in two Grapefruit League appearances. "I need to go out there and battle and make better pitches. But I'll be all right. I just need a day. I'm really frustrated with my location, but if you're tired, you're tired. That's the bottom line."
Willis told the Phillies' athletic training staff Tuesday he felt sore, but he said Wednesday morning he felt OK to pitch.
A good spring is important for Willis, who is fighting for a bullpen job. Theoretically, Willis might have an advantage over other pitchers in camp, because he is a veteran left-hander, but he does not have a guaranteed contract like Chad Qualls, Jose Contreras or Kyle Kendrick, so the Phillies do not need to give him a chance at the beginning of the season if they do not feel he can help the team.
If Willis makes the team, it likely will be as a left-handed specialist. Lefties are 1-for-3 against him this spring, while right-handers are 4-for-7 with three walks.
"We're going to take the best team possible," Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "Again, I don't see any reason to have a second lefty if he's not better than the righty before him. If he can't get anybody out, what kind of look is that? Really. What kind of look is it? The fact of the matter is how serviceable are they? That's what we're looking for. How do they fit in the mix of the whole bullpen? I don't care if he's lefty or righty, who is the most effective guy?"
Willis said he isn't concerned, but he knows he needs to do better.
"I'm trying to help the ballclub here, and [my performance today is] not going to get it done," Willis said. "If I'm tired, then I'm tired. As an athlete, you have to humble yourself that, 'Hey, you went out there and tried, and now let's reel you in and get you right.'"
Thome set to be tested at first base on Monday
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jim Thome has been asked countless times about his ability to play first base since he signed with the Phillies in November.
Every time, he has politely said he doesn't know until he gets a chance to play.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Wednesday that Thome will get his first shot in a Minor League Spring Training game Monday.
"Sammy [Sam Perlozzo] says Thome is moving around OK at first," Manuel said. "You can see he's played there before."
Manuel has said he hopes Thome can play 20 games at first base this season, but is there a chance for more?
"It'll maybe depend on how the lumber works," Manuel said.
Laynce Nix, who had been bothered with a sore muscle near his left groin, played left field for the first time this spring. The Phillies view him more as a left fielder than a first baseman, although he could see some time there.
Third baseman Placido Polanco is expected to be in Thursday's lineup. The Phillies have been taking it slow with Polanco this spring.
The Phillies have not said when Chase Utley will play in his first Grapefruit League game. They said he is healthy, but are trying to avoid him putting pressure on his right knee.
Phillies infielder Harold Garcia had microfracture surgery on his right knee in Philadelphia on Monday, the same knee in which he tore his ACL last year. He is expected to miss the next four to six months.
Right-hander Justin De Fratus, who has been sidelined with a sore right elbow, is throwing again. He threw for the first time Monday and he said it went well. He is going to progress as tolerated.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.