NEWS, SPORTS, COMMENTARY, POLITICS for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia

Ducks Split Doubleheader with St. John Fisher
Leading Experts Disagree on Evidence behind Prostate Cancer Screening Recommendations

Phillies finalize Opening Day roster


Bill Evans/South Jersey Times March 30, 2013 5:04:15 PM EDT

PHILADELPHIA – The Phillies finalized the 25-man roster they will take to Atlanta for Opening Day Monday prior to Saturday’s 7-4 exhibition finale loss against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Most of the primary roster moves had been made earlier in the spring, and GM Ruben Amaro and his staff made the final decisions on the front end of the bullpen and the bench.

Reliever Michael Stutes, who had a breakout 2011 before missing most of last season with a shoulder injury, will continue to work back into shape at Triple-A.

Humberto Quintero will be the backup catcher behind Erik Kratz until Carlos Ruiz returns from his 25-game suspension, and Rule V pick Ender Inciarte made the club in the outfield. The Phillies will have to keep Inciarte on the team the entire year or offer him back to the Diamondbacks.

Stutes posted a 7.36 ERA and walked nine in 10 spring innings. Right now, he didn’t appear to be ready to help the Phillies as much as right-handerPhillippe Aumont (3.24) or lefties Raul Valdes (4.15) or Jeremy Horst (4.24).

Aumont, Valdes and Horst join right-handersJonathan PapelbonChad Durbin and Mike Adamsand left-hander Antonio Bastardo in the bullpen.

“Valdes and Horst pitched really consistently,” said GM Ruben Amaro Jr. “I like having Valdes from the left side and Durbin from the right side to give us some length and balance. I kind of like having three left-handers.

“The guys we kept did a nice job this spring. The roster has a chance to change. …A lot. The beauty of the situation we’re in with the young players, they all have options pretty much. If guys aren’t (performing), we’ll adjust.

“That’s kind of the message we gave Stutesy. We don’t forget what he did for us two years ago. He just needs to get back and get reps. He hasn’t pitched for almost two years. He needs to go down there and gain some consistency there. Right now, Phillippe is a guy who has a better chance to get people out. We’re trying to take the best 25 players that can help us win a baseball game. As always, it’s subject to change and it will change. “

Amaro said the 22-year-old Inciarte made the club because of his defense. He hit .267 this spring and hasn’t played above A-ball.

“He has an instinct in the outfield. ..In my mind he looks a little like (Freddy) Galvis,” said Amaro. “He takes good routes, is aggressive, throws well. He could be a plus for us, because outfield defense is a concern.”

Amaro said right fielder Delmon Young (ankle) will begin limited outfield work in extended spring training on April 2 and is progressing accordingly. The GM said he is not actively trying to acquire another outfielder.

Overall, after an offseason in which Amaro added several pieces – including a new third baseman (Michael Young), center fielder (Ben Revere) and setup man - he seemed pleased with the final group he will take to Atlanta.

“Putting a baseball team together is kind of like a jigsaw puzzle and we had a lot more to figure out than in the past,” said Amaro. “We have 15 different players from 2012, and that’s a lot of turnover but we had a lot of holes to fill. The concern with this many changes is how they jell, but you bring in guys like Michael Young and Ben Revere, and it makes it easier to transition to a new club.

“I like our pitching, its’ still a strength for us. There’s going to be good pitching in this division and we had to keep up with the Joneses. I like the starting rotation, I like the balance of it. We have experience throughout and three guys you can consider No. 1s. Whether they pitch like No. 1, we’ll see.”

The best part for the Phillies might be that only one player (Delmon Young) will start the year on the disabled list and he could be back by the beginning of May. Last year, the Phillies knew they would be without second baseman Chase Utley and first basemanRyan Howard for an extended period of time.

“It’s go time on Monday,” said Howard. “As long as we can stay healthy, we can do big things. Guys just being out there being themselves, doing what they do, we’ll be alright.”

GAME STUFF: Kyle Kendrick gave up five runs in three innings in his final start before pitching Friday’s home opener against Kansas City and finished the spring with a 6.88 ERA. … Young drove in two runs with a double andJohn Mayberry Jr. homered off Toronto pitcher Josh Johnson as the Phillies scored all their runs in the third.

Contact Bill Evans at 856-845-9478 or [email protected]