Spring Training Game 29 - Friday Afternoon, March 25th in Clearwater
One Sentence Summary: The Phillies rode Jimmy Rollins' two-run home run and Joe Blanton's fine pitching performance to a 3-1 victory over the split squad Braves.
What It Means: Rollins, who started the spring dreadfully slow, has quietly raised his average to .250. Manager Charlie Manuel has been trying Rollins in the 3-hole as the skipper continues to tinker with the Chase Utley-less line-up.
Top Hitters: Rollins scored again in the third when Ryan Howard's triple drove him in.
Top Pitchers: Blanton pitched six scoreless innings while striking out four. Jose Contreras struck out two in the ninth on his way to his first save of the spring.
Featured Card: This time next week, Opening 2011 will be in the books as the Phils face off against the Astros at 1:05 at Citizens Bank Park. In honor of the big day being a week away, I'm presenting Rollins' Topps Opening Day card, which looks a lot like his regular Topps card, but with less shine.
Other Stuff: It was reported earlier today that closer Brad Lidge would most likely be joining Utley on the disabled list to start the season. Lidge has pain in the back of his right shoulder, which is a new injury from the sore biceps he's been nursing all spring. Ryan Madson is the most likely candidate to step into the closer's role to start the season, although Contreras could see some ninth inning time as well . . . Luis Castillo recorded his first hit in a Phillies uniform and walked twice . . . Mike Sweeney signed a one-day contract with the Royals and officially announced his retirement today. Sweeney joined the Phillies last August and appeared in 26 games with the team, hitting .231 with two home runs. His final big league at-bat came in Game 2 of last year's NLDS when he hit a pinch-single off the Reds' Aroldis Chapman in the seventh inning.