The Phillies will back in Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park on Friday. They play the Pittsburgh Pirates in the traditional on-deck series 7:05 p.m. Friday and 1:05 p.m. Saturday.
The Phillies open the season in Texas against the Rangers on the Monday.
What kind of team are the Phillies bringing north?
We’ll take a look at an aspect of the Phillies roster each day this week.
We start today with the infield.
There was plenty of concern in the off-season about the Phillies age.
Nowhere is that age more of an issue than in the infield with first baseman Ryan Howard, 34; shortstop Jimmy Rollins, 35; second baseman Chase Utley, 35; and catcher Carlos Ruiz, 35.
How have they played this spring?
The results are mixed.
Howard is batting .245 with two home runs. Utley is hitting .196 with no home runs.
On the more positive side after a slow start, Rollins is batting .271 with three home runs. Ruiz has played well with a .289 average and two home runs.
Normally veterans who struggle in the spring are given the benefit of the doubt. But because of their age and past injury history Utley, Howard, Rollins and Ruiz will be under the microscope from the first pitch of the season on.
In addition it will be interesting to see how Rollins interacts with manager Ryne Sandberg.
The manager has already benched Rollins in spring training and several national media figures reported the Phillies want to trade the shortstop.
The Phillies will have some youth in the in the infield with 23-year-old Cody Asche at third base. He batted .171 this spring with three home runs.