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Age Still A Question For The Phillies

Citizens Bank Park (credit: Mike DeNardo)

Citizens Bank Park (credit: Mike DeNardo)

Ed Benkin Ed Benkin
Ed Benkin has been reporting sports for KYW Newsradio since April...
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By Ed Benkin

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —  As Spring Training approaches, the Phillies’ team colors appear to be red, white, blue…..and gray.

This may be more than just the color of the Phillies’ away uniforms.  Some believe it symbolizes a team which consists of several players in their mid-30’s.  Newly acquired outfielder Marlon Byrd is one of those players.

“We are an old team,” said Byrd.  “Nobody is lying when they say we’re an old team.  We have a lot of guys in the core who are in their mid 30’s, but it’s about going out there and producing and showing people we’re not playing old.”

While many of the Phillies core players are older in baseball years, there are still several younger faces on the roster.  Darin Ruf saw significant time in the lineup last season, and the 27-year-old says he doesn’t look at his veteran teammates as senior citizens.

“I think I call me dad old and he is 70-something,” Ruf said.  “That’s old to me and not 34 or 35 years old.  That’s definitely not old especially when you’re in as good as shape as all of these guys are.”

Many of the Phillies appear to be growing tired of a potential “Wheeze Kids 2″ label for the upcoming season.  Cody Asche took over at third base for the Phillies last summer and the 23-year-old says he learned a lot from the veterans, and doesn’t understand why there is a lot of talk in the media about a group of players past their prime.

“I’m excited,” said Asche.  “I don’t know about you guys.  You guys seem down and want to be in a somber mood about age, but I don’t think any of these guys feel like that.  I’m excited to play along side of them.”

Only time will tell if Father Time has caught up with the likes of Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.  However, players like Byrd believe there are advantages to having years of major league experience.

“The thing is making sure we use our knowledge,” Byrd said.  “We use our baseball IQ and the physicality that we still have at our old age to go out there and win games.”

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