05/03/2013 7:54 PM ET
Howard honors teacher at Citizens Bank Park
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies celebrated Teacher Appreciation Night on Friday at Citizens Bank Park.
First baseman Ryan Howard honored his favorite teacher, Paula Grana, who was Howard's first aid and physical education teacher at Lafayette High School in Wildwood, Mo.
"Ms. Grana was awesome," Howard said. "She was a teacher who didn't allow us to do any less than what we were capable of. She never let us slack off, because she believed that we each had the potential for greatness and she wanted that to come out. She worked hard to bring the best out of you. I had her for first aid and physical education while in high school. She taught us CPR and her class was always fun, but she didn't let you get away with anything. She would keep you in line, because she understood that while we were high school students, it was important for us to behave in a manner that others would respect us. We didn't want to disappoint her, because she believed in us. That meant a lot."
Said Grana: "[Ryan] was a good student and always enjoyed learning and participating. Ryan was a great leader both in and out of the classroom. Truthfully, his success is no surprise to anyone who knows him. I love watching him bat. He has always had a routine in the batter's box where he points his bat at the pitcher. He has been doing it since he was in little league. When I see him bat now, it's just like he has always been as a player: same routines, same facial expressions and same smile."
Halladay supports Dubee in face of criticism
PHILADELPHIA -- Mitch Williams criticized Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee on Friday, and Roy Halladay quickly came to Dubee's defense.
"Coming from the mechanical wonder," Halladay said. "Yeah, I strongly disagree. To come from a guy who's not around, who's not involved. He's not involved in the conversations. ... [He] honestly has no idea what's going on. He really doesn't. He has no idea what's going on in the clubhouse, on the field between coaches and players. To make comments like that, it's completely out of line. It really is."
Williams, the former Phils closer and current MLB Network analyst, appeared on 94 WIP's Morning Show to discuss the state of the Phillies. His opinion carries weight in Philadelphia because of his strong connection to the organization, helping the Phils win the 1993 National League pennant and his appearances at alumni events and fantasy camps. The Phillies had him throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 1 of the 2008 National League Division Series.
Williams mentioned immediately how he and Dubee had a disagreement in Spring Training about the former hurler talking to Phillies pitchers. A source said Williams contacted left-hander Jake Diekman in the offseason and offered to help with his mechanics. That got back to Dubee, and Dubee told Williams during Spring Training not to get involved.
"I got yelled at right in front of people, and I was really irritated," Williams said.
"Maybe I hurt his feelings with the dust up, but I don't know," Dubee said. "Mitch has got a chance. He can apply to 30 teams [to be a pitching coach]. I've got no comment to that. Maybe he got upset because I spoke to him about getting involved in our pitching, where I don't think he belongs. Maybe he's upset at that. But I don't think other people belong in our pitching. Again, like I said, he's got a chance to submit a resume."
Williams claimed his problems with Dubee are not personal. He criticized Dubee for not seeing what he considered easily fixable flaws in his Halladay's delivery, said he is not getting through to the pitchers and suggested he be replaced. He also credited himself for showing Kyle Kendrick his current changeup grip, which has resurrected Kendrick's career. Kendrick laughed about that. He said he taught himself, but if he had to give credit to anybody, he would credit former pitcher Justin Lehr, who learned the grip from Braves ace Tim Hudson.
"It may be time for a new voice," Williams said. "That's what I'm saying. It's not personal. I think these pitchers have to hear something new. What they're doing right now just isn't getting it done."
Halladay fired back before Friday's game against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.
"Rich Dubee, when I first came over, he taught me a changeup," Halladay said. "If I hadn't had that coming over here, I wouldn't have had the success I've had over here. Especially dealing with the injuries I've dealt with, if I didn't have that pitch, if I didn't have him working with me, I really would have been in a lot of trouble. In my opinion, it's a statement that I feel like he needs to make amends for. I really do. There's very few pitching coaches that I respect more than Rich Dubee. Watching Kyle Kendrick, the stuff that he's learned, the way he's grown, is because of Rich Dubee and it's because of his work ethic and the way he goes about things. It really does upset me. It upsets me that guys outside of our group of guys that don't understand what's going on here make comments like that.
"Hopefully, it's something he'll learn from. I'm not sure if that's the case, but he couldn't be further from the truth. And I don't think it's the first time he's been a little off base.
"I've heard him criticize a lot of guys for mechanics. For a guy who's never been a pitching coach, I wouldn't do that. I wouldn't go and look at any player in the Major Leagues and say, well, he should do it this way. I just don't understand where that comes from. I really don't. … I'm sure he's not a bad guy. I'm sure he's trying to do the best he can at his job, but I really feel like he was kind of off the mark on this one."
Hernandez, Biddle win Minors monthly award
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies named Triple-A Lehigh Valley second baseman Cesar Hernandez and Double-A Reading left-hander Jesse Biddle their Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month, respectively.
Hernandez, 22, hit .375 in April with a .917 OPS. His 36 hits in the month led the International League.
Biddle, 21, went 2-1 with a 1.74 ERA in five starts in April. The Philadelphia native struck out 40 while walking only 12 in 31 innings.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.