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Jack McCaffery is the lead sports columnist for the Daily Times and He has spent several decades covering everything from the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, to college hoops, to high school sports in Delco.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


The Phillies Scoop/Jack McCaffery

PHILADELPHIA --- Domonic Brown was out of the Phillies' lineup Saturday, and not just because the Nationals were starting talented left-hander Gio Gonzalez.
“He said his knee is bothering him a little bit,” Charlie Manuel said. “I figured today I'd rest him.”
After a choppy start to his big-league career, Brown was starting to become a heavy Phillies contributor. He he was hitting .286 on the current homestand, with three RBIs in his last five games.
Brown had been on the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs' disabled list with a right-knee sprain in June. He reported the pain Friday.
“He just told me that his knee was bothering him,” Manuel said. “And I didn't feel like there was any sense playing him if his knee was bothering him.”
Manuel suggested that Brown was “day to day”, and believed the outfielder would be available to pinch-hit Saturday.
“We'll check him out and make sure he is OK,” Manuel said. “He just acted that he was just having some trouble with it and it was sore.”
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Placido Polanco recently returned from a back injury with one real challenge: Remain durable enough to still be considered a viable major-league player, if not with the Phillies, then someplace.
But his back problems have resurfaced and, by Saturday, he was not even available to pinch-hit, Manuel said.
“I tell him every time I talk to him that, 'If you’re hurting and playing, it definitely hurts you, it’s not good for our team and it’s not good for you,'” Manuel said. “That’s kind of how I see it. In order for Polly to help us, he’s got to get healthy. He’s got to be 100 percent. We’ve been trying to do that with him. Unfortunately, he’s missed a lot of time the last couple of years.”
For anywhere from a reported $500,000 to $1 million, the Phils could buy Polanco, 36, out of the final year of his contract after this season. Otherwise, they would owe him $5.5 million.
Manuel said the Phillies have not decided whether to return Polanco, who is hitting .258. in 86 games, to the disabled list.
Kevin Frandsen started Saturday at third base.
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With Brown out of the lineup, Michael Martinez started in right field. Martinez, in his second season, had never played right in a regular-season major-league game.
“He’s played there before --- I played him in spring training in right field,” Manuel said. “I played him in left field, in center. He can play there. All through his career, he’s played a lot of positions like that. He definitely could play the outfield.”
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Nate Schierholtz expected to be playing again by Tuesday, as he has recovered from a broken toe. So he will … in Lehigh Valley, where he will report today for a rehab assignment. Curiously, the Phillies are not planning to have the outfielder rejoin them until Saturday, which would be Sept. 1, when the major league rosters are expanded.
“That's the plan, I guess,” Schierholtz said. “I was planning on being ready for Tuesday. That's what I thought. I guess we are going to wait until Saturday.”
Schierholtz said his toe “feels good,” and that he will wear a protective guard while hitting.
“We'll get him ready,” Manuel said. “He should be able to join us when we go to Atlanta.”
In his 11 games since joining the Phillies from San Francisco in the Hunter Pence deal, Schierholtz hit .219.
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Steven Lerud is 27 and is finally a major league player. He joined the Phillies Friday as a backup catcher when Brian Schneider went on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.
“It was a shock,” said Lerud, who was promoted from Reading. “But I have played a long time. And you like to think good things will happen.”
Lerud was a non-roster Phillies invitee in spring training and was hitting .235 in Reading. He will back up Erik Kratz.
Carlos Ruiz, recovering from plantar faciitis in his left foot, is eligible to return from the disabled list Sept. 3. Saturday, he caught a bullpen session, his second since his injury.
Schneider, said Manuel, is close to requiring a paternity leave, and that could impact his return to the Phils. So Lerud it is.
“I am just here and I will be ready whenever they need me,” the catcher said. “I have been preparing about 10 years for it. It's awesome. Luckily, I was around most of these guys in spring training, so it's not too many new faces for me. Now, it's the big leagues and it's the real season. So it is pretty special for me.”
Manuel said he would not be reluctant to play Lerud, if necessary.
“He's more of a backup guy,” the manager said. “He’s more of an emergency kind of guy. But at the same time, if we get a chance I’m not afraid. I’ve seen him catch in spring. I’m not afraid to put him in a game. He could get in there. It depends how much workload we could put on Kratzie. I definitely could put him in a game.”
Might Lerud start a game?
“Yeah,” Manuel said. “Yeah, you could do that. He can hold his own.”
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NOTES: Manuel batted the right-handed-hitting Frandsen second and left-handed Juan Pierre seventh against Gonzalez, the Nats' lefty. “In the seven hole, if Pierre gets on, he can run. He can be more apt to run, especially down at the bottom of the order, with Martinez and the pitcher down there.” … Cliff Lee (2-7, 3.78) and Jordan Zimmerman (9-7, 2.54) will pitch Sunday. The Phillies will be off Monday, then host the Mets for night games Tuesday and Wednesday and a Thursday afternoon game.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


    Make something of it. Make nothing of it. But Freddy Galvis resurfaced Thursday at Citizens Bank Park and said he has no offseason plans to continue to work at second base.
  "Shortstop," he said. "I'm going to be a shortstop."
    By the way, he said that on a night that Jimmy Rollins was out of the lineup, and when Charlie Manuel touted Michael Martinez as a perfectly suitable defensive replacement.
     Connect the dots?
     Rollins has two years remaining on a contract good for $11 million per. Just say this: If the Phillies can move him, their manager would be OK with Galvis at short. 

“I think he showed us he can definitely play second base,” Charlie Manuel said. “I think he can play shortstop too. The bottom line is, he showed us enough he could play shortstop. This is me talking, my opinion. If Freddy Galvis hits .250 or .260 in the big leagues at shortstop, he’s a prototype shortstop. Does that make make sense? He’s a prototype guy that you’re looking for if he can play defense like that. Put him over there at second, you look up and say ‘I’d like to see a better bat.’ But at shortstop, he becomes that prototype. He played good second base because he’d been playing shortstop.”
    Galvis, who had a season-ending back injury and recently completed a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance, was in town for the annual team picture. He did not discuss the suspension.
      But he may have provided a glimpse at the future.
      “I don't know the future,” Galvis said. “I don't see the future.”

      Check out the complete Phillies coverage in the Daily Times Friday and, as always, on

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I will be joining Daily Times editor Phil Heron and columnist Gil Spencer on "Live from the Newsroom" tonight at 7 only on

Among the topics will be the Penn State situation.

Tune in.

Monday, August 20, 2012


PHILADELPHIA — By the time Placido Polanco returned to the starting lineup Monday, it was way, way late to salvage the Phillies’ season.

 But how about his Phillies’ career?
That is what Polanco will hope to protect over the final 41 games of a trying season, during which he’d just spent nearly a month on the disabled list recovering from lower back inflammation.
 “I don’t know,” the former All-Star third baseman was saying before the Phillies hosted the Reds. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know. I’ve been here, I like it here, but I don’t know what’s going to happen. Whatever happens, happens. I don’t know.”

For a relatively reasonable fee – reported to be as low as $500,000, but also up to $1 million – the Phillies could buy out the final year of Polanco’s contract, setting him free after this season. Otherwise, they would owe him $5.5 million.
Polanco, 36, earned $6.25 million this season. He was hitting .255 with two home runs in 82 games when he was reactivated. Hector Luna had been returned to Lehigh Valley Sunday to make roster room.
 “You should ask that to the people who have control of the situation,” Polanco said, pointing, as if to suggest upstairs in the front office. “Would I like to be here? I would like to be here. But I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Charlie Manuel said he plans to play Kevin Frandsen Tuesday, then Polanco again Wednesday, then continue the pattern “for a few days” in an effort to keep Polanco healthy.
 “I think if he’s healthy and he can play into September and if you see him play good, then if he doesn’t fit in our plans, I’m sure somebody in baseball might have interest in him,” the manager said.

“But I think if he plays good, yeah, I think we’ll definitely talk to him.”
 If the Phillies have any remaining urge to keep Polanco, it will be because they believe he can remain functional.
 “I think the more he can stay on the field, that’s what makes sense for him,” Manuel said. “He has to show he can stay on the field and stay healthy to be able to play every day, to play enough where somebody thinks he’s an everyday player.”
 * * *
With Polanco starting, Frandsen had a string of 20 consecutive starts snapped. He had been hitting .329.
 “It is what it is,” Frandsen said. “I hope that people have seen what I’ve done. That’s how I’ve always played, and I’ve asked for the chance to play every day to make that adjustment. I’ve said this to everyone, but my minor league numbers speak for themselves.”
 The 30-year-old Frandsen had hit .309 and .302 in the minors in the last two years after previous big-league opportunities in San Francisco and Anaheim.
 “Getting that opportunity to play every day and make the adjustment on the fly – as opposed to sporadic – meant the world to me because it showed, maybe myself, that it’s not a lie what I did down there,” he said. “It is what it is here.”
 Frandsen insisted he had no intention of discussing his situation with Charlie Manuel.
 “With Polly back, you have the All-Star and the guy who has been proven year after year,” he said. “My job is to be ready to play every day and whenever I am called upon.”
 Frandsen’s strong audition in Polanco’s absence should boost his chances of remaining with the Phillies next season.
 “I think he’s been playing very good,” Manuel said. “Sometimes when you get a chance to play, you take advantage of it. He’s done that. He’s going to continue on getting a chance to play some more. He’s earned the right to play.”
 * * *
The therapeutic boot removed from his left foot and having recovered from plantar fasciitis, Carlos Ruiz took some loose, one-handed swings in the cage Monday and hopes to hit on the field as soon as Wednesday. He joined the disabled list August 4.
 “I want to come back real bad,” said Ruiz, who was hitting .335 when injured. “I want to finish the season healthy. I don’t want to go home. We’ll see how it goes. I’m happy now because I feel real good. I feel like I’m close.”
 Ruiz said he will resume running sometime early next week in advance of a likely rehab assignment. He has been doing some upper body exercises and some biking.
 * * *
As the Phillies began a 10-game homestand Monday, Antonio Bastardo had not pitched in 12 days. Jeremy Horst, also a left-handed reliever, had two appearances in the interim.
 “I still view him as an option,” Manuel said of Bastardo. “He hasn’t pitched in a while. It’s not because we have overlooked him. But the fact is that times have come up where we have kind of backed away from him with the situation, maybe because it was a righty (at bat). And Horst has been pitching pretty good.
 “There’s no way we’re going to give up on Bastardo. He is healthy.”
* * *
Cliff Lee (2-7, 3.83) will oppose Homer Bailey (10-8, 4.16) tonight. Vance Worley (6-8, 4.11) and Bronson Arroyo (9-7, 3.96) will pitch Wednesday. Thursday, it will be Cole Hamels (14-6, 2.94) and fellow Cy Young Award candidate Johnny Cueto (16-6, 2.44) as the Phils and Reds wind up their four-game series.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Though Placido Polanco is eligible to return from the disabled list, his manager is not necessarily ordering the welcome-back balloon bouquet.

Polanco is 36 and has been often injured in recent years, most recently with an inflamed lower back. He said Wednesday that he will resume hitting either Thursday or Friday. His recent replacement, Kevin Frandsen, was hitting .281 to Polanco's .255.

For $1 million, the Phils can buy Polanco out after the season, rather than pay him $5.5 million for 2013.

“If he's healthy and can be 100 percent ….,” Charlie Manuel said. “But the last two or three years, he has missed quite a bit of time.”

Manuel said he would have trouble returning Frandsen to the minors.
“It would be tough,” he said. “He's done a good job for us. He has held his own. He has been doing OK.”

Check out the complete coverage of Wednesday's Phils-Braves game in the Daily Times Thursday and, as always, on delcotimes.coim

Sunday, August 5, 2012




BETHLEHEM --- As Andy Reid had told the Eagles he'd preferred Sunday, his football team practiced in a hot sun, even if in a heartbroken disposition.

Hours after learning that Reid's son, Garrett Reid, 29, had died in a Lehigh University dorm room, the Birds practiced under the guidance of offensive coordinator and assistant head coach Marty Mornhinweg, with the aid of defensive coordinator Juan Castillo.

According to general manager Howie Roseman, who had announced the death of Garrett Reid, Andy Reid had wanted the football operation to continue without interruption.

The plays, Mornhinweg and the Birds could control.

The emotions were more troublesome.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Andy, (his wife) Tammy and the Reid family,” Mornhinweg said after practice. “It has certainly been a tough day. I can only imagine how tough it has been on that family.

“As you know, Andy is a rock. And he has given all of us on this football team --- all the coaches and administration --- great support for many, many years. And we are here to support him now.”

As expected, the Eagles had their entire first-team offensive unit assembled Sunday. But the morning practice was limited to a special-teams walk-through, and the players did not wear pads in the afternoon workouts.

The Eagles made only Michael Vick, Jason Avant and Nnamdi Asomugha available to the press. None answered questions.

“Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to Coach Reid, Tammy and the entire family,” Vick said. “Coach has always been a great supporter of us. As a team and for the organization, he has been a rock for us. We will lean on him and we will be there for him and stay strong for him until he can come back and lead us on.”

The Eagles did not specify when Reid would return to coaching, though owner Jeffrey Lurie expects it to be soon --- that, for therapeutic as much as for professional reasons. The Eagles do not expect Reid to work Monday, but he could be back as soon as Tuesday. The Birds will host the Pittsburgh Steelers in a preseason game Thursday at the Linc.

“I expect Andy to be coaching this week and back,” Lurie said. “He feels that way and he is very, very focused on both his family and his profession. I can't think of anything else to say except when you're dealing with a family in pain, be gentle. And at the same time understand at times they are going to exhibit strength because that's what they need to do. I think that's what we all need to do.”

On the field Sunday, the Eagles were strong. Off it, they were compassionate.

“Obviously, it is a difficult time for us,” Asomugha said. “We still managed to come out here and practice, but it has been a tough day. Garrett was --- is --- a part of our football family, our extended family, our immediate family. So it is a very tough time for us.”

The Eagles have a light workout scheduled for Monday morning and a full-service practice on their afternoon agenda.

“We are working as hard as we can for him,” Avant said of Andy Reid, “just to let him know that this team really, really, really, really, really loves him. When this thing happened, we were hurting with him. He was with me personally when my dad passed last year. He was the first one to call me.

“I want him to know that I love him and his team loves him.”


Transcript courtesy of Eagles:


General Manager Howie Roseman

“Good morning. I have some heartbreaking news to share with you all. It is with great sadness that I tell you that Garrett Reid, the oldest son of Coach [Andy] Reid, was found dead this morning in his room here at training camp. This is a tough morning for all of us in the Eagles family. Garrett grew up with this team and this makes this news even harder for us to process. Our hearts go out to Andy, [wife] Tammy, [sons] Britt, Spencer, [daughters] Crosby and Drew Ann. Coach has spent the morning informing his family. We ask sincerely that you respect the family’s privacy during this time. The team has been informed of this news, as have [Chairman/CEO] Jeffrey [Lurie] and Christina [Weiss Lurie]. The chief will speak to you in a minute about what is known about this event. From a football perspective, I can tell you that Andy has asked that we go forward with training camp. I’m going to turn it over to [Lehigh University Police] Chief [Edward] Shupp in a minute. On a personal note, we’ve been with Andy for a long time. He’s always been strong for us. We’re going to be strong for him right now. As a father and a friend, we’re all hurting. Thank you.”

Lehigh University Chief of Police Edward Shupp

“Good morning. I am Chief Edward Shupp from Lehigh University Police Department. This morning at approximately 7:20 am, officers received a 9-1-1 call about an unresponsive male in the Sayre Park dormitories. Upon arrival it was observed that attempts were made to revive the individual and it was unsuccessful. The individual, Garrett Reid, was deceased upon the officer’s arrival. There were no suspicious activities. At this time however I will turn it over to the coroner who will be handling that part of the investigation. Coroner Zachary Lysek.”

Northampton County Coroner Zachary Lysek

“Good morning. What I can tell you is this morning we were contacted by the Lehigh University Police Department and requested to respond for the discovery of a deceased male. We are conducting an investigation with the cooperation of the Lehigh University Police Department, and I personally pronounced Mr. [Garrett] Reid deceased at the scene. The investigation will be ongoing and at this time will be pending the completion of the investigation.”




BETHLEHEM --- Garrett Reid, the 29-year-old son of Eagles coach Andy Reid, was found dead in a Lehigh University room early Sunday morning, according to police.

“This is a tough morning for the Eagles family,” said Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. “Garrett grew up with this team and that's what makes this news even harder.”

According to Lehigh University police chief Edward Shupp, there was “no suspicious activity.”

Garrett Reid had been working as a strength coach with the Eagles at their Lehigh training camp. He was the oldest of five children of Andy and Tammy Reid.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, who was scheduled to meet the press Sunday, canceled his annual state of the franchise address.

“What I can tell you is that this morning we were contacted by the Lehigh University police department to respond to the discovery of a deceased male,” said Northampton County coroner Zachary Lysek. “We are conducting an investigation in cooperation with the Lehigh campus police department. I personally pronounced Mr. Reid deceased at the scene. The investigation will be ongoing and at this point it will be pending the completion of the investigation.”

Andy Reid was not at a morning walk-through practice, with the Eagles confirming a personal issue. Prior to the practice the Eagles were seen gathering in prayer.

Police said they had responded to a 9-1-1 call regarding an unresponsive male at approximately 7:20 a.m. Sunday.

“Upon arrival, we received confirmation that attempts to revive the individual were unsuccessful,” Shupp said. “Garrett Reid was deceased upon the officers' arrival.”

After a brief press briefing, in which no questions were permitted, Roseman was seen breaking down in tears.

“Coach has spent the morning informing his family,” the general manager said. “We ask sincerely that you respect the family’s privacy during this time. The team has been informed of this news, as has Jeffrey and Christina (Lurie).

“From a football perspective, I can tell you Andy has asked that we go forward with training camp. On a personal note, we’ve been with Andy for a long time. He’s always been strong for us. We’re going to be strong for him right now. As a father and a friend, we’re all hurting.”

In 2007, Garrett Reid was arrested following a traffic accident in Plymouth Township for charges including heroin possession. Later, he was found to have smuggled drugs into the Montgomery County Correctional Facility. He was sentenced at the time to up to 23 months in jail. In a related incident at that same time, Britt Reid, his brother, also received a 23-month jail sentence.

“The news is heartbreaking for everyone in the Eagles family,” Lurie said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to Andy, his wife, Tammy, and their children.”

Saturday, August 4, 2012


With little choice, Ruben Amaro has begun to rebuild the Phillies. If he is going to finish last, he can do that with Nate Shierholtz just as easily as he can Hunter Pence. And in the process he can save enough money to rebuild a contender in a hurry.

Three problems: Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins. That's because everything the Phillies have done, do and are financially handcuffed into continuing to do will be based on the belief (hope?) that the three former All-Stars will sparkle once again.

Good luck.

Maybe it will happen. But they are all careening into their mid-30s. And they are so overpaid that no one would dare sniff at their salaries.

Can they return to star-level form? Charlie Manuel, for one, thinks so.

Check out my column on the topic in the Daily Times Sunday and, as always, on