PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – With a week left in Spring Training, Phillies fans are looking just about anywhere for a positive sign.
What will be a season full of questions has had a Spring without any answers – good ones at least. There was the Jimmy Rollins vs. Ryne Sandberg ordeal, a lack of offensive production from most of the team’s lineup, a Cole Hamels injury, and now disabled list trips for both Darin Ruf and Freddy Galvis.
There is one thing that has improved for the Phillies, and that’s the throwing arm of centerfielder Ben Revere.
“[Improving his throwing arm] was a priority for [Revere] since day one of Spring Training,” Sandberg told the 94WIP Morning Show on Monday. “He got into a throwing program with help, not only from the pitching coach, but Juan Samuel. He just learned how to grip the ball better and have a better arm swing and just better mechanics. He’s a young player, he’s 24 years old, and it’s just something where we said let’s give him everything we got to see if we could see some improvement. I’d say within about ten days and increasing his throwing program as far as long tossing and applying the new mechanics and he’s really taken to it and he’s done a good job. He went from an arm that probably went two notches—one and a half or two notches on the better side, so he’s come a long way.”
If Revere can pair an improved arm with the hot-hitting he was putting together before an injury ended his season in 2013, Revere can become one of just a few Phillies who can out-perform his contract. The Phillies and Revere avoided arbitration in January when they agreed to a one-year, $1.95 million contract.
As for Rollins, after benching the shortstop for three games last week, he and Sandberg seem to be on the same page.
“I had a conversation with Jimmy [Rollins] and he clarified what he meant by [the comment about Spring Training]. This is a team that has a core group of veteran players, obviously, and they’ve been through Spring Training’s numerous times, they know what they have to do to prepare and be ready,” Sandberg said. “So I clarified that with Jimmy and just had a conversation with him and other than that, at that time, I wanted to see Freddy Galvis at shortstop and let him catch up with some at-bats that he was lagging on.”
Sandberg also added that Cole Hamels was improving “on a straight line,” and could see game action later this week.