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Baseball

Phillies focus on situations

By Times wires and staff report

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 25, 2003


CLEARWATER -- The Phillies will play a situational intrasquad game today during their final workout at the Carpenter Complex.

"We'll put a guy on third base with one out and see if the pitcher can get out of it and if the hitter can get the run in," manager Larry Bowa said.

Clutch hitting was a particular problem for the Phillies last season. They stranded a major-league high 1,260 runners and batted .237 with runners in scoring position. They had a NL-low .172 batting average with the bases loaded.

"We definitely want to improve those numbers," Bowa said. "I don't think any-one likes to leave runners on base, but for some guys the mental approach is different. The good hitters who drive in runs understand that the pitcher is on the spot when guys are on base. Guys who have a problem tend to think they're in a jam."

WOLF TO START OPENER: Left-hander Randy Wolf will start and pitch one inning in the team's opener against Pittsburgh on Thursday in Bradenton.

-- BOB BROOKOVER

Bernie: Ailments not a problem

TAMPA -- Bernie Williams isn't concerned about discomfort in his shoulders.

"I go through it every spring no matter what I do in the offseason," the Yankees centerfielder said. "It's just overall discomfort, like I always have in the spring. Last year at this time I couldn't pick up a bat."

Williams went 2-for-3 with two singles in an intrasquad game. He also flied out to deep left.

"Bernie is fine," manager Joe Torre said.

Williams was slowed by shoulder problems during spring training last year and got a cortisone shot in both shoulders on April 15. After a slow start he wound up hitting .333 with 19 homers and 102 RBIs in 154 games.

During the offseason, Williams increased workouts to strengthen the shoulders.

"I just think it's getting used to the routine," he said.

Rightfielder Raul Mondesi, slowed by minor right shoulder discomfort, went 0-for-2 as a designated hitter. Torre said Mondesi likely will play in the outfield during today's intrasquad game.

GOOD NEWS: Jorge Posada IV, 3-year old son of C Jorge Posada, was released from a Tampa hospital over the weekend. The younger Posada has craniosynostosis, which occurs when the bones in a baby's skull fuse before the brain has stopped growing. He had 10 hours of surgery Tuesday.

-- TIMES WIRES

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