The Phillies really really need spring training to end. A couple days after Shane Victorino avoided disaster in an outfield collision, Roy Oswalt took a comebacker off the bat of Manny Ramirez a few minutes ago, knocking him to the ground.
He got up and walked off under his own power and seemed OK. Replays indicate that it hit his neck or shoulder, avoiding his head. Which is what everyone thought it hit in real time. Not that the neck is any better considering that it was a batted ball just below the ear that killed Mike Coolbaugh. At 60 feet, 6 inches, it doesn’t have to be a direct headshot to do damage.
In other news, whichever member of the Phillies found this little tiki and is keeping it in his locker, please return it to Vincent Price forthwith. And for God’s sake, don’t go surfing!
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.