Saturday, March 15, 2014

2014 Donruss Team MVP #9 Ryan Howard

Pirates 6, Phillies 5
Spring Training Game 17 - Friday Afternoon, March 14th in Bradenton
Record - 4-11-2

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies fell late to the Michael Martinez and the Pirates, 6-5.

What Happened:  Former Phillie Martinez had a key single as part of the Pirates four-run eighth inning, raising his spring average to .400 (8 for 20).  Of course Michael Martinez is hitting .400 . . .

Starting pitcher Jeff Manship gave up two runs in his four innings of work and reliever B.J. Rosenberg was on the other side of the Pirates big inning in the eighth.

Featured Card:  Ryan Howard hit his first game-action home run since July 5th of last year when he went deep in the sixth inning.  As a testament to his rough 2013, the last time I featured a Howard baseball card in connection with his performance in a game was back on July 3rd.  My local Target didn't have any Topps Heritage for sale yesterday, so I'll go with another card from the recently released Donruss set.  The Team MVP insert set harkens back to the 1989 Donruss set, and one can only hope that Howard lives up to the MVP title once again in 2014.

Camp Head Count:  51 - 8 + 1 = 44.  In the second round of roster reductions this spring, the biggest move was the release of catcher Lou Marson.  Marson appeared in only three games, going 1 for 3, but he had the distinction of being the first player publicly criticized by new manager Ryne Sandberg following this game.

Catcher Tommy Joseph, pitcher Jeremy Horst and outfielders Tyson Gillies and Zach Collier were optioned to the minors.  Pitchers Cesar Jimenez and Ken Giles along with infielder Andres Blanco were reassigned to minor league camp.  Catcher Sebastian Valle, who was reassigned last weekend, was brought back to Major League camp.

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