3/4/2014 6:34 P.M. ET
Lee looking to throw curveball more often
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Cliff Lee's curveball is the fourth pitch in his arsenal, but he believes it is his best.
He throws it far less frequently than his fastball, cutter and changeup -- just 7.8 percent of the 3,253 pitches he threw last season, according to FanGraphs -- despite the fact he believes it has the best action on it.
So why throw fewer curveballs if it is the nastiest pitch he's got?
"It's the hardest pitch for me to command," he said after allowing one run in three innings Tuesday night in a Grapefruit League game against the Blue Jays at Bright House Field. "I can command my fastball, cutter and changeup on a high percentage. My curveball I command it on a very low percentage. It's hard for me to justify throwing it when I think I can locate a fastball, cutter or changeup at a high percentage."
But Lee is working on throwing more curveballs in Spring Training with the hopes his best weapon can be used a little more frequently during the season.
"I definitely need to use my curveball more," he said. "I'm going to mix it in more often, but I need to make sure I get the fastball, cutter and changeup down before I move onto other things."
Sandberg not pleased with early spring struggles
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies dropped to 1-6 in Grapefruit League play with Tuesday's 5-3 loss to the Blue Jays at Bright House Field.
Do the early losses bother Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg? It is just one week of Spring Training, after all.
"Absolutely," he said. "I don't like losses. You like to win games. It seems like in some of these games it's been a one-inning type of thing. A crooked number in one inning. But our offense hasn't come alive to overcome a crooked number by the other team. Six hits tonight, the two-run homer by [Marlon] Byrd and then we're quiet after the third inning. So a lot of zeros up there on the offensive side."
The Phillies finished the night hitting just .194, which is the worst mark in baseball this spring.
But it is just one week of games. Countless players have had poor springs and played well during the regular season, so not much can be read into it.
"It seems to me like we get the bases loaded every game and don't get anything out of it," Sandberg said. "We get two guys on and we don't get anything out of it. It's about getting a big hit in an early Spring Training game like this. It seems like we haven't had too much offense later in the games. It's something we have to work on. With more at-bats, usually the guys start swinging the bat better."
Brown, former teammate Kratz enjoy Phils cruise
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- A lot of Phillies post pictures these days on Twitter and Instagram, but Domonic Brown posted an interesting one in early January.
He participated in the annual Phillies cruise, which went to Cancun, Mexico. He posted a photo that included himself and former Phillies players Greg Luzinski, Tommy Greene and Erik Kratz. It was interesting because the Phillies had just traded Kratz to the Blue Jays in December, so he was the only player not in a Phillies jersey.
"They actually called me," said Kratz, who started against the Phillies on Tuesday night at Bright House Field. "They said they still wanted me to go. I felt like I had signed up to do something, so it was my duty to still do it. And a trip to Cancun isn't the worst thing, either. And if people had signed up and paid money, not necessarily to see me, but maybe to see me. They were really cool about it. It was a good trip. Everybody treated me really well."
Phils, Braves to honor Fregosi at Bright House
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies and Braves will honor the late Jim Fregosi on Wednesday afternoon at Bright House Field.
Fregosi, who died last month following a stroke, managed the Phillies' 1993 National League championship team and spent the past 13 years in the Braves' front office as a special assistant to the general manager.
Fregosi's family, residents of the Clearwater area, and former teammates and players will participate in the ceremony.
• The Phillies scratched Jimmy Rollins from Tuesday's lineup because of the flu. Freddy Galvis took his place at shortstop and hit second.
• Third baseman Cody Asche could be back in the Phillies' lineup as early as Wednesday. He was hit with a pitch on his right hand Sunday, but participated in a full practice Tuesday.
• Left-hander Cole Hamels is scheduled to throw to hitters in a live batting-practice session Thursday.
• Phillies broadcasters took their annual team photo Monday afternoon. Photos will be used for promotional purposes. Everybody sported a traditional coat and tie, except radio broadcasters Larry Andersen and Scott Franzke. They wore bolo ties. Franzke stopped by Spencers Western World in Pinellas Park, Fla., to complete the Western motif. Why bolo ties? "I like to pack light," Franzke said.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.