Spring Training is quickly approaching and with pitchers and catchers reporting in the second week of February, the baseball season will soon be starting up. The Philadelphia Phillies pitchers and catchers must report down to Clearwater, Florida by February 12th. The start date is a bit early, due to the fact that the third World Baseball Classic is being held this season. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, does not expect many major player loses to the World Baseball Classic.
“We may lose a couple a couple of guys but I don’t there there is many at all,” Amaro told the Philadelphia Inquirer. They expect to know by the middle of the month and they will figure it out from there.
Two players that could likely be heading to the WBC to play for their native Canada are likely bullpen candidate Phillipe Aumont and speedy outfielder Tyson Gillies.
The two youngsters are in different situations for the upcoming season. Aumont, a 24-year old reliever who was part of the Cliff Lee trade from a couple of years ago, was called up towards the latter part of the 2012 season and showed signs of success. He is a likely candidate for a bullpen spot in 2013. The only worry about Aumont is his control issues. In 18 games last season, Aumont has a 0-1 record in 14.2 innings with a 3.68 ERA and two saves. His walk to strikeout ratio was not great for a reliever. Aumont worked out 14 strikeouts in his appearance while walking nine and hitting one batter. But his above average fastball and helpful breaking ball are two reasons that manager Charlie Manuel could select Aumont to stay in the big leagues.
Gillies, on the other hand, is also a 24-year old who was acquired by the Phillies from the Seattle Mariners as one of the final pieces in the Lee deal. Last season, he hit a combined .299 with four home runs and 29 runs batted in while splitting time in Low-A Lakewood, High-A Clearwater, and Double-A Reading due to injury.
Other Phillies players who could have likely been selected to the WBC are Carlos Ruiz and Jimmy Rollins. Since Panama did not qualify for the WBC, Ruiz will be able to participate in Spring Training all the way until the beginning of the season, when his 25-game suspension begins. Rollins, on the other hand, could still have a chance to be selected for the United States if Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is not medically cleared to play. Tulowitzki is the most likely player to start at shortstop for the United States.
With the likelihood that most of the core will stay in Clearwater for Spring Training this season, the Phillies find themselves having a chance to start finding their chemistry early, which could help them out to a quick start in 2013. The is also the first Spring Training in a couple of years where the roster was almost completely healthy. Look for the Phillies to surprise people around the league with a healthy roster in 2013.