Ruben Amaro Jr. Awaits First Look at his 2013 Phillies Rotation, Laments Uncertainty at Corner Outfield Spots

January 14, 2013 – 5:50 am by Eric Schmoldt

Is there any chance we see Roy Halladay return to the Roy of old in 2013? Well, not even Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. knows the answer to that question right now. There’s also plenty of uncertainty at both of the Phillies’ corner outfield spots as spring training inches close, but Amaro Jr. says he’ll still put his team up against anyone if the Phillies can stay healthy.

Ruben Amaro Jr. joined WIP in Philadelphia with Angelo Cataldi to discuss Cole Hamels’ arm, how Roy Halladay is doing in the offseason, the addition of Michael Young to play third base, uncertainty at the corner outfield positions and the Phillies’ expectations in 2013.

What’s going on with Cole Hamels?:

“Cole, I guess, had some soreness at the end of the year. He changed his, kind of, offseason program after the ’08 season when he kind of shut down and then wasn’t ready for the ’09 season. One of the things we learned is he probably needs to throw, and he continued to do that. He kind of tried to throw through some soreness there, but it was bothering him a little bit. We told him to shut it down and he shut it down for a couple weeks and we started throwing again and all indications are that he’s just fine. It was all a lot to do about nothing, we hope.”

Are you worried about him coming back when he really begins throwing with 100 percent velocity?:

“It is different, but the fact of the matter is there’s soreness all the time. There’s not a pitcher who goes out there who’s not sore in some way, shape or form. If there was something serious going on with him, we would’ve had him see a doctor.”

What have you seen from Roy Halladay in the offseason?:

“Roy’s doing really well. Rich Dubee … saw him and threw with him and saw him throw with Kyle Kendrick — they’ve been working out together. His mechanics look very good. He feels strong. He doesn’t have that stiffness that I guess he had early in his throwing program. Very, very good, positive signs so far. Hopefully that will continue. … We won’t really know what kind of Roy we’re going to have until he’s firing on the mound in spring training.”

On bringing in Michael Young:

“Michael Young, people talk about Michael Young, he’s a Gold Glove-caliber infielder. He is a little bit older. I think one of the things that happened with Michael, and admittedly, he gets kind of out of sorts when he had to go play the DH role and play first base and third base and bounce around. … He’s a guy who’s going to work very hard to put himself in position to have success. I remember a couple years ago, people were thinking us signing Polanco to play third base was a dumb move. Well, the guy ended up being a Gold Glove-caliber third baseman, as well.”

He’s been touted as a guy who having him on the roster is like having an extra coach. Is that in your head when you make this move?:

“It’s absolutely a component. Makeup of the club is essential. If you look at the clubs that have had success over the years, they’re people who were professional, people who really take time to improve in their craft — whatever age they are. By in large, we have those guys, but the more guys we have on the club that can do that, and are like that, I think it absolutely helps.”

The two big concerns seem to be the corner outfielders. How do you feel about those spots and why haven’t you used some money to help those areas?:

“Just think right now we haven’t found the right fit, the right guy. We do have a little bit of money to work with, I just don’t want to put money in for money’s sake. We have been looking, and it doesn’t mean we’ve stopped looking. It is possible, and right now probable — because of the lateness that we are in the offseason — that we’ll go with two guys in a platoon, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to try to do anything to improve on that. … I don’t particularly like having unproven corner outfielders, there’s no question about that. I’d be stupid to think that’s a good thing. One good thing, though, is that you can’t have it both ways. We want to get a little bit younger and we want to give opportunities to young players, and we have some guys that we think can play. At the same time, we have to be cognizant of the fact that we’ve got to win.”

The line in Vegas for Phillies victories this year is 87. Over or under?:

“Clearly we want to be over 87. Our goal is to win that division again. It will be tough because Atlanta and Washington are very good, but I’ll put our team up against any club. If we can keep our guys on the field, I still believe we have a very good chance to have success.”

Listen to Ruben Amaro Jr. on WIP in Philadelphia here

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