Mike Schmidt, special instructor at Philadelphia Phillies Spring Training, does not think this team is dead. He's only been in camp for a few days, but he's already talking about how hungry this team looks. "I see a hungriness this year that I've never seen before. Obviously, in the last four or five years, you weren't looking for guys to be hungry. They were the heir apparent to the division titles, MVP Award. We were the first place MLB Network came to every year. We were on the cover of Sports Illustrated. We were at the top of the game for many years here over the last six or seven. All of a sudden, we find ourselves not even being discussed as World Series contenders."
That's high praise from the Phillies Hall of Famer. Ryan Howard looks hungry. Schmidt thinks that Chase Utley wants to reset his career and prove he still has what it takes. Specifically, Schmidt is working on Howard becoming stronger against situational left-handed pitchers. "There's 20 left-handers that are in the Major Leagues that wouldn't be in the Major Leagues if Ryan Howard wasn't in the Major Leagues, right?" Schmidt isn't crazy. He knows that Howard will still strike out – Schmidt is in the top-10 for all-time strikeouts – but he wants him to do it less. I think we can all agree on that.
Optimism is high in Phillies camp, folks. If the veteran core of this team can stay healthy and coax some production from the young bench guys, we can all hope for a competitive season in Philadelphia.
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