CLEARWATER, Fla. – Let the pranks continue.
Chris Wheeler went out to get in his car a little after noon on Sunday – and it wasn’t there. He knew right away someone was playing a trick on him. He immediately called media manager Greg Casterioto, knowing he had to have had something to do with it. He was right.
Casterioto had snaked the keys to Wheels’ BMW sometime during the morning workout. Traveling secretary Frank Coppenbarger and assistant equipment manager Danny O’Rourke helped execute the move. The car wasn’t taken far, just to the lot across the complex, just far enough to irritate Wheels. After rounding up his vehicle, Wheels said “Vuk (the late John Vukovich) had a hand in this, that’s the type of thing he used to do to me”.
Kyle Kendrick was happy to be back in the Phillies’ clubhouse instead of on a plane to Tokyo, one day after being told we was traded to Japan. His phony itinerary had him leaving Tampa at 7:03 a.m. Sunday. Kendrick has a bit of a prank hangover but said as he thought about it last night he realized how truly funny it was and how it would have been even funnier to him if he wasn’t the subject of the prank.
Kendrick holds no ill feelings and even praises the effort that went in to pulling it off. When I told him I’d make him a copy of the raw video he said with a smile, “I don’t know if I want to see it”.
Under the weather
Charlie Manuel has been feeling under the weather the last couple of days, and on Sunday he went home earlier than usual with flu-like symptoms. The skipper came close to feeling even worse. When leaving the practice field a ball came flying over the left-field wall of Bright House Networks Field and landed right in front of Manuel. Needless to say it startled him.
The ball had been hit by Outfielder T.J. Bohn over the tiki bar and Frenchy’s sign. While at first it looked like it went that far on the fly (which would have been extremely impressive) it turns out it did bounce before nearly striking the skipper.
Who is Bohn? Bohn is an outfielder who looks like a mix between a surfer and a power forward. He’s 6-foot-5, has shaggy hair and weighs around 200 pounds. Bohn was picked up by the Phillies after the Braves designated him for assignment last September. He’s currently on the 40-man roster.
Bohn originally was drafted by the Mariners in 2002, which was when Pat Gillick was the GM in Seattle. Bohn made his major-league debut as a pinch hitter in 2006 but hasn’t been able to stick anywhere. Think of him as a Chris Roberson kind of guy, someone who could get called up if they need another outfielder and someone we’ll probably see in September.
The second annual media batting challenge was held Sunday afternoon. We each got 10 pitches per round and went two rounds. There was a one pitch playoff between two guys, with Inquirer columnist Jim Salisbury taking home the title for the second year in a row.
I had a poor showing. After taking an hour of batting tips from hitting coach Milt Thompson on Saturday, I was sore and over-thinking everything. I had about three good hits in the first round, none in the second round, and I actually got in a third round with Shane Victorino throwing that session. I was terrible then, too. This is no excuse but the Phils’ center fielder gave me almost nothing to hit.
I’m not looking forward to how sore I’ll be on Monday.