Myers Looking For Turnaround in 2005

With Eric Milton and Kevin Millwood leaving and only Jon Lieber coming to town, the Phillies rotation will have a question mark or two. Perhaps the biggest is Brett Myers. The young former phenom has seen his star fall while questions about his commitment and attitude have been on a sharp increase. Needless to say, the upcoming season is key for both Myers and the Phillies.

While it's impossible to point to a single player who holds the key to the Phillies' 2005 season, it's not a stretch to suggest that the Phillies desperately need RHP Brett Myers to regain his footing.

Myers was the team's number one draft choice in 1999. He made his major league debut at Wrigley Field in Chicago on July 24, 2002 and outdueled Cubs prodigy Mark Prior. In 2003, at age 23, he finished with a 14-9 record and a 4.43 earned run average and appeared to be on his way.

His career, however, hit a pothole last season. He went 11-11 with a 5.52 ERA. He butted heads with pitching coach Joe Kerrigan and was threatened with demotion to the bullpen.

Despite all that, the Phillies insist they are expecting big things from Myers.

"For one thing, I know that he's rededicated himself this offseason," general manager Ed Wade said. "A couple people have had contact with him, and he's gotten himself in a conditioning program and he's gotten himself in a lot better shape.

"In the discussion we had at the end of the season, he recognized that he had gotten himself off the right track. And he needs to get back on. He was out of shape and he acknowledged that. He told me that he agreed 100 percent and had already arranged for a personal trainer. He's taking a step in the right direction.

"Anybody you talk to will tell you that, based on pure stuff, he has the chance to be a number one. But he needs to refocus and stay dedicated to be as good as he can be. I don't think what we saw two years ago was an aberration."

The Phillies are counting on that.

Notes from Philly:

  • Doug Glanville, who declined the Phillies' arbitration offer, has until Saturday (January 8) to re-sign with the team or he can't return until May 1.
  • Jimmy Rollins, who is coming off a career year, and the Phillies are in the preliminary stages of talking about a long term contract.
  • Former Phillies farmhand P.J. Forbes will return to Lakewood for his second season as a minor league manager. Former teammate J.P. Roberge will serve as his bench coach with Steve Schrenk being added as the BlueClaws pitching coach.
  • Greg Gross has decided to stay with the organization. After serving as the hitting coach during Larry Bowa's tenure, Gross will now work with hitters at Batavia and serve as the club's bench coach.
  • There's a lot of work to do at Citizens Bank Park. The bank recently changed their logo meaning that all of the signs at the year old park need to be changed. In addition, over 43,000 cup holders attached to seats will all be replaced. The bank is paying for all of the changes.
He said what? "They (Tim Hudson to the Braves and Pedro Martinez to the Mets) obviously make the division stronger. There's no question about that." - General manager Ed Wade, on key moves by division rivals.

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