Found April 01, 2012 on Philly Sports World:

The Philadelphia Phillies will play their final Grapefruit League game today. Then, they will board a plane and head North. In the wake of their Spring, there will be several questions. Several of them we have already examined. Most of them center on the health of this team.

Ruben Amaro Jr. hinted over the weekend that relief pitcher Jose Contreras will begin the season on the disabled list. Contreras is still rehabbing from an elbow surgery, and while he has been pitching, isn’t quite where he needs to be yet. The 40-year old opened the season last year as the Phillies closer before going down to injury.

Michael Stutes, the 25-year old who stepped in last season and did a nice job for the Phillies in relief is also a candidate to start the season on the disabled list. Stutes has been battling shoulder stiffness.

It’s no secret that first baseman Ryan Howard (Achilles’ tendon) and second baseman Chase Utley (chondromalacia in knee) will also begin the season on the DL, along with utility infielder Michael Martinez (broken bone in foot.)

In order to add some infield depth at Triple A, the Phillies signed former Texas Ranger Andres Blanco. Blanco was released by the Washington Nationals. He is 27 years old and is a lifetime .255 hitter in the big leagues after stops with the Kansas City Royals, Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers. Blanco reported to minor league camp yesterday.

The Phillies added outfielder Juan Pierre to their roster ahead of the March 30th deadline to do so. The Phillies had until the 30th to select Pierre’s contract, or release him. The team believes that Pierre is a player who can still help the team.

The move to keep Juan Pierre leaves the future of Scott Podsednik up in the air. Podsednik joined the Phillies last year but had a foot injury that kept him on the sidelines. He has been healthy this Spring and has played very well. He has hinted that he would not take a demotion to Triple A from the Phillies, even though he has options remaining on his contract. The Phillies could force Podsednik to retire, or release him if he does not accept the demotion. It is also possible that Podsednik makes the roster too, given the rash of Phillies injuries.

Here is a quick look at how the roster is shaping up:

Catcher (2)
Carlos Ruiz
Brian Schneider

Infield (6)
Ty Wiggington
John Mayberry Jr.*
Jimmy Rollins
Placido Polanco
Jim Thome
Freddy Galvis

Outfield (4)
Hunter Pence
Shane Victorino
Laynce Nix**
Juan Pierre

Starting Pitchers (5)
Roy Halladay
Cliff Lee
Cole Hamels
Vance Worley
Joe Blanton

Bullpen (6)
Jonathan Papelbon
Antonio Bastardo
Kyle Kendrick
Chad Qualls
Joe Savery
David Herndon

Bubble
Scott Podsednik
Hector Luna
Pete Orr

DL
Ryan Howard
Chase Utley
Michael Martinez
Jose Contreras
Michael Stutes

* Mayberry also will play left field.
** Nix may also play first base

With the amount of injuries the Phillies are facing, it might make sense to keep Scott Podsednik on the roster, rather than see him possibly walk. Podsednik is an outfielder, on a team short in the infield, but he has played well offensively. Pete Orr and Hector Luna are also possibilities. Luna has also been solid at the plate, hitting .327 so far and leading the Phillies with 3 Grapefruit League home runs.

The Phillies have until Tuesday to trim their roster to 25.

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