You can always tell the wide-eyed, doubtless optimism bleeding out of south Florida this time of year is coming off the keyboards of journalists and bloggers who haven’t seen a professional baseball game in a few months. Nobody’s getting lambasted for a poor performance because there’s still that hope that yeah, sure, maybe everyone will bat 1.000 this year. Maybe Rich Dubee bitch slapped Cole into submission. Maybe everybody will be Brad Lidge in 2008.
As long as we have nothing to go on but the progress reports of coaches and players, then I would say all three of those things are very possible.
Sam Perlozzo says Placido Polanco is coming right along as a third baseman. Rich Dubee says Kyle Kendrick is having a sparkling spring workout. Brad Lidge says Brad Lidge is ready to start “throwing every day,” a point that had Dubee send some dream-shattering mind-bullets in his direction mid-interview.
The Phillies know what their questions are, and have no shortage of answers: Everything’s cool. Just relax. We’re on it.
Ha, ha… okay.
In that respect, the Phillies other wounded key reliever threw off the mound yesterday to celebrate his liberation from a torn flexor pronator tendon in his left elbow, and surprise, surprise, J.C. Romero is jonesing for that sweet, sweet strikeout nectar that is only brought around by Sweet Lady K. 23 was his lucky number; 23 pitches off the mound since his unceremonious exit September 28 against the Astros.
But, Dubee’s not letting anybody chuck more than a heater in their first session, so all we got from J.C.’s sample tray was a collection of straight fastballs. Nothing fancy. Just throwing the baseball.
As these pitchers are trickling in, and saying “Each time, I’m throwing a little better than before,” sort of gives you the impression that sure, maybe they are progressing along just fine. They also want us to know they are progressing along just fine, too. Like, they really want us to know. Should we be expecting personalized phone calls as the season draws nearer?
*BEEP* “Hey, man, it’s Brad. Brad Lidge. Guess I missed you. Uh, yeah, just wanted to let you know things are great down here, each time I’m throwing a little better than before, still going slow, but going in the right direction, and, uh… yeah! Just wanted to get on the same page. Thanks again. Take care.” *BEEP*
J.C. also felt pretty happy with himself after his first session: ”It went well. I feel good and I’m very positive about it.”
Good… good. Well, I certainly hope things are as good as they say, because Brad just started hurling sliders off the mound, at Rich Dubee’s discretion of course (I love this guy more with every passing day). So I guess soon we’ll be asked to assume everything’s okay in that regard as well.
Wow, I’m so distrustful this morning. I guess this is what happens when I run out of coffee after falling asleep watching Invasion of the Body Snatchers.