The Phillies' payroll is maxed out, meaning they can't add an infielder to help make up for the loss of Chase Utley. At least that's what Ruben Amaro Jr. told MLB Network Radio on Monday.
"I don't know how many times I can say that publicly -- I have no money to play with," Amaro told host Jim Duquette. "Our payroll is going to be over $160 million or so, and I'm tapped out, my friend. Maxed out."
Of course, Amaro has said that before -- most notably before he pulled off this offseason's biggest surprise by signing Cliff Lee. But at the Lee news conference, the Phillies' general manager talked about going outside his budget to bring in another ace pitcher.
So regarding rumors about the Phillies acquiring insurance for Utley?
"All [nonsense], my friend," Amaro told the station. "Just so you know."
Amaro could, however, clear $17 million if they trade fifth starter Joe Blanton, though his name hasn't come up in rumors lately.
Utley is sidelined indefinitely with patellar tendinitis, chondromalacia and bone inflammation in his right knee. The Phillies are expected to go with Wilson Valdez until Utley is ready.
Location, changeup source of Hamels' hiccup
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- After three successful Grapefruit League starts, Phillies lefty Cole Hamels struggled in his fourth and chalked it up to trouble commanding the inside part of the plate.
That issue was displayed rather prominently in the second inning, when he buzzed one in on Bill Hall and wound up angering the Astros' second baseman. But it was more evident on the three home runs he gave up -- all on fastballs that Hamels believes stayed too high on the inside corner.
"I have to locate my fastball down more, especially into the righties, and get my changeup to work a lot more for me to be successful," Hamels said.
Hamels surrendered home runs to Carlos Lee, Chris Johnson and Jason Michaels -- all righties -- en route to giving up five runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings. Prior to that start, Hamels had given up just three runs (two earned) in 10 frames.
Of course, this is still the point in spring when pitchers with the job security of Hamels are merely trying to get ready for April. Hamels said he located down and away well, but he wasn't happy with his changeups and cutters in his outing of about 65 pitches.
2010 Spring Training - Philadelphia Phillies
News & Features
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- Manuel likely to keep Rollins in leadoff spot
Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
"He was having a little trouble putting the ball where he wanted it, but at the same time, his stuff's good," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He got his work in. He was having trouble with his command, he was having trouble locating the ball exactly where he wanted. When Cole's good, he won't make mistakes like that."
Madson relished chance to catch up with mentor
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Ryan Madson has no idea where he would be or what he would be doing without his changeup.
His appreciation for the changeup is why he was thrilled last October to reconnect with the man who taught him the pitch.
Fletch Jernigan's grandson last year contacted Madson's wife, Sarah, through Facebook. He told Sarah that his grandfather just wanted to say hello. Madson was happy to hear from him. He said he had been looking to find his old pitching coach, but could not recall his last name. He only knew him as Fletch.
"It awesome," Madson said of a visit last year in Temecula, Calif. "We had lunch. We talked for a couple hours. I was choked up."
Jernigan taught Madson the changeup when he was nine or 10 years old. Jernigan was a pitching coach for kids. He read books and articles about pitching and applied what he learned when he instructed a kid like Madson.
Madson uses the same changeup grip Jernigan taught him roughly 20 years ago.
"He would sit on a bucket and I would throw to him," Madson said. "Then I'd go home and play catch with my dad. We'd have a competition in the front yard -- who could throw the better changeup? That's how it developed. We threw it every day. I thank both of them -- [Jernigan] for showing it to me, and my dad [Jan] for throwing it to me."
Madson smiled as he recalled those front yard games of catch.
"It didn't take long for me to have a better one than him," he joked of his father. "He would be like, 'Is that a good one?' I'd say, 'No, watch this one.'"
Jan Madson did not want Madson throwing a breaking ball at such a young age, which is why Jernigan taught him the changeup.
"That's why I don't have a breaking ball," Madson said with a laugh. "I never threw a breaking ball. I just used my changeup all the time, because it worked. That's the reason why I'm here. I wouldn't be playing baseball without it. Probably not the big leagues, for sure. My fastball is good, but I don't think I could have pitched with just a fastball."
Madson said he plans to fly Jernigan to Philadelphia for a game this year. He said wanted to bring him to last year's World Series, but the Phillies never made it. He hopes this year he does, so he can show his gratitude to the man who helped get him to the big leagues.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.