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Phillies Finalize Opening Day Roster, We Ponder The Lineup

Mar 31, 2011, 1:48 PM EDT

After dropping their final exhibition tuneup
to the Pirates, 4-1, Ruben Amaro Jr., Assistant GM Scott Proefrock,
Charlie Manuel, and the rest of the Phillies brain trust went to work on
finalizing the Opening Day roster. They actually got things started
earlier in the day when they released Luis Castillo (who had a
Tartabullian short stay in Phillies red).

Having released Castillo, there weren’t a whole lot of difficult
decisions left to make. With Chase Utley out for the foreseeable future
and Placido Polanco nursing his elbow, the only real roster drama
revolved around which reserve players, capable of playing multiple
infield positions, would make the squad.

The way things shook out there were three guys (Pete Orr, Michael
Martinez, and Delwyn Young) competing for two spots. Once Castillo was
released, word leaked that Martinez would be the beneficiary, which left
Orr and Young competing for the final spot.

Ultimately, Orr’s experience playing third (48 career games at the hot corner as compared to just 8 for Young) won out.

The final Opening Day roster breaks down as follows:

Starting Pitchers
Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton.

Bullpen
Jose Contreras, Ryan Madson, Danys Baez, David Herndon, Kyle Kendrick, J.C. Romero, Antonio Bastardo.

Catchers

Carlos Ruiz, Brian Schneider.

Infielders
Ryan Howard, Wilson Valdez, Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco, Michael Martinez, Pete Orr.

Outfielders
Ben Francisco, Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez, John Mayberry Jr., Ross Gload.

As CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury
points out, there’s a lot of flexibility in the roster. Both Mayberry
and Gload can play first and a corner outfield spot. Valdez, Orr, and
Martinez can play all over the infield, with Orr and Martinez providing
additional outfield depth.

Weather permitting, I’d imagine you’ll see the following lineup for the opener on Friday.

1) Shane Victorino (CF)

2) Placido Polanco (3B)

3) Jimmy Rollins (SS)

4) Ryan Howard (1B)

5) Raul Ibanez (LF)

6) Ben Francisco (RF)

7) Carlos Ruiz (C)

8) Wilson Valdez (2B)

9) Roy Halladay (P)

Is there anything you would change? Perhaps flipping Francisco and
Rauuuulllll? As it stands your lineup 1-8 goes switch hitter, right,
switch, left, left, right, right, right.

Righthanded bats off the bench: Mayberry

Lefthanded bats off the bench: Gload, Schneider, and Orr

Switch hitters off the bench: Martinez

Obviously there were no surprises with the starting rotation.
Bullpen-wise, with Lidge out, Charlie has said he’ll give Contreras the
first crack at closing. Madson will take the eigth. If for some crazy
reason they need a reliever in the seventh they can mix and match with
lefties J.C. Romero and Antonio Bastardo and righties Danys Baez and
David Herndon. Kendrick is your long guy out of the pen.

So, there it is. The Opening Day roster for the most heavily anticipated regular season in franchise history.

Thoughts?