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Leftover bits of the Phillies in Clearwater

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I wish I was joking when I say that I spilled water on my keyboard yesterday and now the “r” key on it doesn’t work anymore. But that’s what happened. I’m putting them in via CTRL-V, which makes everything a lot slower. It’s pretty nuts, actually. Weirdest part? When I type the letter “i” it types “ir.” Like the r migrated down the keyboard. I think the water I spilled on it was possessed by evil spirits. Or the computer watched the movie “Electric Dreams” or something.

Anyway, I’ll try to salvage this post as best I can. I have no idea how I’ll write the rest of the day, but we’ll deal with that later.

It was a nice day. As I said the last time I was here back in 2010, Bright House Field is one of the nicest in all of spring training. a great park with a great, beachy-party vibe. Good food. Nice people. Phillies’ employees, from the people in the executive offices to the guys who wipe down the seats, are impossibly polite and make your day at a ballpark as pleasant as can be.

I already posted about my conversation with Gene Garber and the ceremony for Jim Fregosi — and as I said yesterday morning, the clubhouses were closed, so there wasn’t much of a chance to speak to players — so let’s just look at pictures I took. Lord knows the mostly boring game I saw — a 2-2 tie — wasn’t worth too many words.

There are lots of familiar faces on the Phillies spring training staff. Here’s one:

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Unfortunately, Chase Utley got the start over him today.

 

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Yes, I eavesdropped. The conversation was not quite as good as a Charlie Manual-Bobby Cox summit meeting likely was back in the day, but you take what you can get.

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A year ago, if I told you that all three of these guys would be significant parts of the 2014 Phillies, you’d have told me I was crazy. Abreu was out of the game, Brown was considered a bust and Utley hadn’t played a full season in ages. Yet here they are.

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Same goes for Larry Bowa, actually. He seemed done as a coach or manager and was left to TV duties only. He seems invigorated back in uniform. He hit fungoes for what seemed like forever, then pitched batting practice for much longer than you usually see a coach pitch. The man is a machine.

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But let’s not kid ourselves. This was my favorite coach on the field yesterday. For obvious reasons. Those reasons being that I am 12-years-old.

 

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I considered it for a second. But c’mon, there’s a reason I look so sad here. I could never purchase Phillies gear.

Bright House Field is home to some serious non-baseball entertainment:

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Coolio: you’re sharing a  marquee with a sibling, a cover band and “Black Honkeys.” Maybe it’s time to consider something else to do with your life? Something new?

Eh, who cares. I had all the entertainment I needed:

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A cheesesteak and a lager at a ballgame: that’s about as good as it gets.

Now, off to figure out how to be a professional writer without an “r” key.

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.