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SARASOTA, Fla. -- Talk about his weight is weighing on Jon Lieber.
So the veteran found a creative way to fight back Monday, reporting his weight at a brisk 210 pounds.
"I feel great," he said.
Considering he reported to camp at 243, shedding 33 pounds in three weeks of camp would make Jenny Craig jealous. Sign the guy up as a Slim-Fast spokesman.
Pressed for details -- one reporter asked if Lieber sliced off a leg -- and the right-hander relented.
"I'm [messing] with you," Lieber said. "Put that in the paper."
Though he chuckled, Lieber's frustration showed. Lieber, who weighs 241 pouonds and wants to be at 235 by Opening Day, isn't thrilled about having to regularly address his weight.
"I'm just tired of it," Lieber said, with a sigh. "The way it works is you pitch good and they don't care what you
weigh. You pitch badly and they do. It gets to a point where you have to answer the same questions when things go bad. I try to go out there do what I do best, and hopefully that's pitch and throw strikes."
Lieber tossed two scoreless against Cincinnati on Monday. He allowed no runs on three hits and struck out three in front of at least seven scouts, who were conspicuously stationed behind home plate.
"I'm just watching the catcher's mitt," Lieber said. "I'm not thinking about anything. I'm just getting ready and
As he said when he first rolled in with his monster truck, Lieber can't worry about his final destination, which
likely won't be determined until the final weeks of Spring Training.
"There are a lot worse problems in the world than worrying about what's going to happen in these next two or three
weeks," Lieber said. "I'm not concerned about it. I'm just going about my business."
For all his struggles, Lieber recovered nicely after July 31 last season. He posted a 5-3 record with a 3.38 ERA over his last 11 starts, including a 35 1/3-inning stretch without a walk. Without that, his 2006 campaign might have been a lost cause.
With one year left on his contract, Lieber realizes he's playing for his next contract, if the 36-year-old (he
turns 37 on April 2), wants to continue to pitch. That's down the road. For now, he knows he'll be pitching somewhere.
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"It's not a hard position [for him to be in]," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He's a pro. He can handle it. I'd
digest it and pitch my [rear end] off, just like he's going to do."
Pat Burrell was scheduled to make the trip to Sarasota, Fla., but a sore back caused the Phillies to keep him in Clearwater. He played in the "B" game at the Carpenter Complex, with Karim Garcia making the trip to
"[Trainer Scott Sheridan] wanted him to stay over there," Manuel said. "His back has been a little stiff. He's going to be fine."
It's Werth it:
Maybe Jayson Werth is shaking off some rust.
Werth ended a 0-for-8 start to his spring with a single in Monday's 9-8 loss to the Reds. He had one at-bat, bringing his total to nine, or seven more than he received in the past 17 months.
"Talk to me on [March] 15th," Werth said. "I'll let you know where I'm at."
Werth takes solace in knowing that he has to again refine his baseball skills after a long layoff. He missed the 2006 season with an injured left wrist, stemming from getting hit with an A.J. Burnett fastball in his second plate appearance of Spring Training two years ago.
He was feeling particularly Werth-less on Sunday, when he went 0-for-4 and dropped a ball that got caught up in the
tricky wind at Bright House Networks Field.
"I just feel a little lost out there right now, defense, too," Werth said after that game.
He was feeling a little better on Monday.
"I'm not putting much weight into [early games]," Werth said. "I just have to focus on getting my timing back. My
plan is to be ready for Opening Day. I'm trying to get things back to normal. It's going to take some time, and I'm willing to wait it out. At least I'm on the field and playing."
The good news is that his wrist feels fine, allowing him to focus on his game. He is expected to open the season as
the team's fourth outfielder behind Burrell, Aaron Rowand and Shane Victorino.
The French connection:
Rheal Cormier said he has adjusted to post-Phillies life.
"I put it behind me," he said. "It was a tough transition, but over the course of the winter, I had a chance to get away and tell myself that it was time to move on."
With the Reds, Cormier is wearing No. 36, a digit lower than the 37 he wore in Philadelphia. Cormier keeps in touch with his former teammates, and he has seen them a few times this spring, including last week at the team's weekly bowling event.
With the Reds, Cormier fits in with an older team, but he isn't quite sure of his role. He's one of four left-handers in camp, along with Bill Bray, Brian Shackelford and Mike Stanton. Cormier will earn $2.25 million this season, and the Reds hold an option for 2008.
Last season, Cormier was in the final year of a contract with a '07 option. He agreed to a trade to Cincinnati after the Reds picked up that option and added a '08 option. In a perfect world, he would have liked that deal from the Phillies.
"I asked if there was something that could be worked out and they said they had no intention of bringing me back," Cormier said. "I liked playing there. When you play 5 1/2 years, you get accustomed to it."
Among short-term goals for Cormier, who turns 40 next month, is to secure the No. 37 he wore in Philadelphia. For that, he must convince Shackelford to give it up. He joked that he won't get Shackelford a watch -- a common price -- and is currently low-balling the reliever.
"I offered him a gift certificate to Best Buy," Cormier said, not specifying the amount.
Freddy Garcia made his first Spring Training appearance in a "B" game on Monday. He lasted three innings, allowing three unearned runs on three hits, while walking one and striking out three in his 47-pitch outing. He struck out the side in the second.
Two of the runs scored on a first-inning homer by the Jays' Russ Adams. That inning was extended when a ball glanced off Burrell's glove in left field.
Relievers Ryan Madson and Antonio Alfonseca pitched two scoreless frames apiece in the game, which was held at the
"Jon's a good pitcher. I hope he stays there and finishes his contract. If not, somebody else will benefit for it. He's in good shape and I think he's going to prove that he's the pitcher he is no matter where he is."
-- Cormier, on former teammate Lieber
Manuel arrived at Ed Smith Stadium during Jimmy Rollins' at-bat leading off the game. The skipper had spent the morning in Clearwater watching Garcia pitch in the "B" game. ... Toronto right fielder Alex Rios made the trip to Clearwater, fueling speculation that he's being showcased for the Phillies.
Coming up: Jamie Moyer is scheduled to make his second Grapefruit League start on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m. ET against the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla. He'll be opposed by Delaware native Ian Snell. Fabio Castro, Geoff Geary and Matt Smith are also slated to pitch for Philadelphia.