Manuel talked about who is going to replace Jayson Werth in right field. When asked about the matter Charlie immediately started talking about Dominic Brown.
He still has tremendous confidence in the young lefthander. The Phils skipper thought Brown was trying too hard to impress everybody a year ago. He noticed that the youngster continued to lift his bat up higher and higher and this created a hole in his swing.
Manuel talked about something similar happening to Ryan Howard when he first came up for the Phils. Manuel told a story about Manny Rimerez coming up as a youngster, getting the chance to play during spring ball and proving himself. He plans on having the same thing happen with Brown.
Charlie made it clear that he’s going to let Brown play quite a bit during spring training and see what he can do. He said each day Brown will be working with him and hitting coach, Greg Gross, as well as also working with their fielding coach and base running coach Sam Perlozzo.
Manuel thinks things will work out regarding his contract with the Phils. He thinks he will manage for a few more years and isn’t concerned at all about his contract.
“My contract, we put something out there and we know exactly where we’re at,” Manuel said. “I think it’s just a matter of time.”
He said the Phillies might miss Jayson Werth’s glove and arm more than his bat. Charlie felt Werth came up big for the Phillies with his bat the last couple of years. but he feels his defensive abilities are exceptional.
Every time the subject of the Phillies pitching staff of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels came up, Charlie started chuckling. He said he can go wrong with the pitching staff. Manuel told a story about Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. calling him to tell him he had acquired Cliff Lee. Joking Amaro Jr. asked him, “Is it okay?”
Charlie thinks Jimmy Rollins is going to have a big year and he considers him a leadoff guy. He didn’t buy into Gargano’s thinking of putting Rollins in the fifth slot in the batting order to protect slugger Ryan Howard.
“I have always looked at Jimmy as a leadoff guy,” Manuel said. “I think Jimmy is a very intelligent player. I’m not saying (Shane) Victorino won’t lead off for us. He would be our next option.”
Charlie doesn’t think Ryan Howard gets his just due because he feels the big guy is judged against himself. He feels that Howard raised the bar very high when he had the unbelievable year where he batted over .300, hit 58 home runs, drove over 140 runs and won the league MVP award.
Manuel feels people don’t think Howard is having a good unless he’s near those type of once in a lifetime numbers.
He also thinks second baseman Chase Utley will come back strong with a big year at the plate. Charlie talked about the thumb injury which Chase dealt with and how it affected his hitting. According to Charlie, Utley was never the same after the thumb injury.
Charlie talked about losing maybe the best baserunning coach in all of baseball, Davey Lopes. Charlie talked about knowing Lopes for a long time. Charlie knew Lopes when he was in the minors and of course during his career in the majors.
He thinks Lopes wanted to head back out west and as far as Manuel is concerned he’s the best base-running coach that Charlie has ever been around. Lopes did a great job of reading the pitchers for Phillies baserunners so they could get great jumps when they wanted to steal bases.
Manuel expressed tremendous faith in pitching coach Rich Dubee and third base coach Sammy Perlozzo. Manuel says Perlazzo is a tremendous teacher and great third base coach.