Blogs > Jack McCaffery's blog

Jack McCaffery is the lead sports columnist for the Daily Times and He has spent several decades covering everything from the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, to college hoops, to high school sports in Delco.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Gostisbehere meets with heroic Delco police officer

Chis Dorman, the Folcroft police officer who was shot seven times in the line of duty last week, welcomed a well-wisher today at the Folcroft Police Department ... Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere.

“What he’s been through the last week, I’m pretty sure his world’s been flipped upside down," Gostisbehere said, in a statement released by the Flyers. "But I wanted to take time out to lift his spirits a bit and get him in some orange and black to make him look really good now. 

"People see hockey players and other athletes as role models. But when you see police officers and firefighters, and you see what he’s going through right now and you see how much of a warrior he is and walking around right now, and it only happened a week ago, he’s pretty amazing and I’m pretty sure kids are going to be looking up to him.”

Dorman, 25, who survived the shooting, enjoyed the visit. “It’s awesome," he said. "It’s really good to meet someone like him.”

The Flyers gave Dorman, of the 63rd police district, a personalized No. 63 jersey.

“Awesome," Dorman said. "Perfect fit!” 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Phillies complete draft

The Phillies completed their draft Saturday, adding the following players in the 11th round through the 40th rounds:
Joshua Stephen, a high school centerfielder from Newport Beach, Calif.; Justin Miller, a right-handed high school pitcher from Fresno, Calif.; Andrew Brown, a right-handed high school pitcher from Alpine, Calif.; Darick Hall, a first baseman from Dallas Baptist University; Alex Wojciechowski, a first baseman from Minnesota-Duluth; Brett Barbier, a catcher from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; Daniel Zardon, a first baseman from Nova Southeastern Florida University; Jacob Kelzer, a right-handed pitcher from Indiana University; William Hibbs, a right-handed pitcher from Lamar; Caleb Eldridge, a first baseman from Cowley County (Okla.) J.C.; Jonathan Hennigan, a left-handed pitcher from Texas State.
Also, Kyle Young, a left-handed high school pitcher from Syosset, N.Y.; Camden Duzenack, a shortstop from Dallas Baptist; Tyler Hallead, a right-handed pitcher from the College of Southern Nevada; Trevor Bettencourt, a right-handed pitcher from Cal-Santa Barbara; Tyler Kent, a high school centerfielder from Otterbein, Col.; Davis Agle, a right-handed pitcher from Spartanburg Methodist; Awa Kurok, a right-handed pitcher from Hawaii-Hilo; Alexander Kline, a left-handed pitcher from Florida Nova Southeastern.
Also, Logan Davidson, a high school shortstop from Charlotte, N.C.; Tyler Frohwirth, a right-handed pitcher from Minnesota State; James Garner, a right-handed pitcher from Northwestern State; Jackson Klein, a right-handed pitcher from Stanford; Luke Maglich, an outfielder from the University of South Florida; Carter Bins, a high school catcher from Fairfield, Calif.; Joseph Scheroler, a right-handed pitcher from Southeastern Louisiana; James Ziemba, a left-handed pitcher from Duke; Trevor Hillhouse, a high school left-handed pitcher from Canton, Ga.; Dante Baldelli, a high school centerfielder from Cumberland, R.I.; and Trey Morris, a right-handed high school pitcher from Katy, Texas.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Mackanin gives hitting coach the green light

By Jack McCaffery
PHILADELPHIA >> Pete Mackanin was looking at his lineup card Tuesday evening, essentially concluding that he would not immediately send it out for framing.
“It's funny,” the Phillies' manager said, before a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs. “Without (Tommy) Joseph in it, it becomes a little different.
“That's the best I could come up with.”
The Phillies having lost nine of their previous 11, Mackanin used .234 hitter Freddy Galvis in the three hole, hit Ryan Howard No. 5 spot and gave Carlos Ruiz a start.
But as Mackanin ran his finger down the card, name by name, he wondered aloud why so many hitters were struggling. By the time he reached Jerad Eickhoff at No. 9, it was time to wonder: Is the manager still confident in his hitting coach, Steve Henderson, who has been around since 2012?
“Yes,” Mackanin said, without hesitation. “It’s funny because I listen to him and I go in the cage and I watch what they’re doing. And they are doing exactly what they need to be doing. And in the cage they do it. The hard part is taking it into a game.
“If they’re doing it in the cage, great you've got it, that’s it. Then they swing at the first pitch and they’re underneath the ball. Like I said, you can only teach so much. I’ve said this many times, but I can’t teach you how to ride a bike. You've got to get on it and feel it. I can’t teach you how to ice skate. I can tell you how to tie your skates and push off but you've got to figure it out.”
l l l
Ruiz entered with a .226 average and hit No. 8, but supplied a single, stole his first base of the season and scored a run.
He's 37, has lost his No. 1 catching job to Cameron Rupp … and is testing his manager's patience.
“I don't like his swing,” Mackanin said. “He's upper-cutting the ball. And he doesn't look like the same guy. And I have talked to him about it and he's just not swinging the bat real well. But early on he did. It's a mechanical thing that I think he's got to correct. When you change your mechanics as a hitter, it's very hard to take it into the game. Because it feels different and therefore it feels uncomfortable. However, if you don't make that change, you're not going to hit. And it's as easy as that.”
Thus, Mackanin's stance, even if it is a bit wobbly: Ruiz's troubles are as much mechanical as age-related.
“I think it's a combination,” he said. “I'm looking at the cup half full instead of half empty. So that's the way I choose to look at it.”
l l l
Howard's fourth-inning home run was the 366th of his career, tying him with Lance Berkman for 80th on the all-time list. It was his ninth of the season.
After a week in which he was benched and had a beer bottle thrown in his direction, Howard looked refreshed, sending a ball to the center field fence later in the game, and making a nice throw to second in the ninth.
“It's good,” he said. “I wasn't thinking about the week or the past 10 days. I was just thinking about that moment. I got a good pitch to hit. He hung me a breaking ball. And I was just able to hit it out.”
l l l
Jerad Eickhoff struck out eight and walked two, allowing two hits and one earned run in seven innings.
“That was as good as he's been all year,” Mackanin said.
Gaining more command of his slider and showing velocity, Eickhoff improved to 3-8. His ERA is at 3.68.
“To win games like that you have to be fundamentally sound for the most part,” the right-hander said. “And I think we were tonight in key spots. Those guys behind me did a great job tonight.”
l l l
With his wife, Krystle, Howard will entertain 3,000 school children at Citizens Bank Park Wednesday morning with a read-along from the Little Rhino book series. The event will be on behalf of the Big Piece Foundation.
There will also be a chance for a question-and-answer session with some players. With the Howards, Rupp will act out some of the parts of the book.
The Phillies will play the Cubs at 1:05.
l l l
NOTES: A pregame rain chased both teams into the cages for batting practice … The Phils stole a season-high three bases … Howard had gone 50 at-bats between home runs … Jeanmar Gomez' six-out save was the first multi-inning save of his career … Vince Velasquez (5-2, 3.67 ERA) will face right-hander John Lackey (6-2, 2.88) Wednesday afternoon.