Balls, Sticks, & Stuff
8/23/2004
 
Free Check-up
The Phillies turned their heads and coughed for Marcus Hayes's piece in Monday morning's Daily News. Some players passed the test, some failed.

Chase Utley passed:
Chase Utley has become an assassin.

His bases-loaded triple in the eighth won Saturday's game over the Brewers. His bases-loaded, pinch-hit single yesterday in the 10th scored two runs that meant the game and a Phillies sweep.

Utley moved to .278 on the season with a whopping 51 RBI in just 209 at-bats. Extrapolated, that runs to about 122 RBI in a 500 at-bat season.

"That's unbelievable," manager Larry Bowa marveled.

And Utley's batting .455 as a pinch-hitter with three homers and 11 RBI. All this in his first extended season in the majors.

Todd Jones passed:
Reliever Todd Jones strode menacingly off the mound yesterday and woofed at the Brewers' Bill Hall on second base to stop stealing signs. It was the eighth inning, the score tied 4-4, one out with Ben Grieve at the plate, and Jones warned Hall to knock off what ticks him off the most or Jones would plant one on Grieve's body.

That's the type of mental toughness the Phillies could use more of, particularly Vicente Padilla, who failed:
When Magruder's pinch-hit double sank under Jason Michaels' glove in leftfield to break a tie in the fifth inning Saturday night, starter Vicente Padilla looked to the heavens, rolled his eyes...and fell apart.

Padilla proceeded to repeatedly shake off catcher Mike Lieberthal, throw 20 fastballs in 22 pitches and give up two more doubles and four more runs - an especially questionable course since his fastball, clocked at 94 early in the game, petered out in that inning to around 88, a vestige of his 10 weeks on the disabled list.

And for Amaury Telemaco, it wasn't so much a matter of passing or failing, but a matter of survival:
...on the nearly ultra-painful grounder that he took off the inside of his left thigh Saturday, perhaps limiting his ability to procreate after fathering two children: "I'm done. I was done before the game."

John Kruk declined to comment for this post.



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