SARASOTA, Fla. -- With Chase Utley on the shelf and the recently waived Luis Castillo set to hit the open market after clearing on Sunday, there's been plenty of talk that perhaps Philadelphia could be the veteran second baseman's next stop.
That would create an added wrinkle into what has been a very spirited competition for infield slots this spring. With Wilson Valdez slated to be the starter on Opening Day as of now, a quartet of others has been battling it out for two utility/backup spots.
Most of them have risen to the challenge. Josh Barfield was hitting .393 heading into Saturday afternoon's game against the Orioles, and Pete Orr was at .344. Michael Martinez (.310) and Delwyn Young (.304) also performed well.
"I feel the guys here have come in hungry," said Barfield, who started at second against the Orioles while Orr played third. "Everyone's come in and played well, kind of has that chip on his shoulder, and wants to go out and play. Whatever they do, whether it's one of us or they go out and get somebody, I feel like this team is still going to be all right."
Considering how well the quartet has played -- not to mention Valdez's .459 -- the question could be raised as to why the Phillies would want to kick the tires on a player like Castillo in the first place. It also could be a distraction to those already here who feel they've done plenty to prove they deserve one of those spots, but Barfield is simply keeping his head down and concentrating on what he's doing, not on what others are saying.
"I'm focused," Barfield said. "I came here to play my game, do what I can on the field. The front office is going to do whatever they feel best suits the team. You can't control it, you can only go out and play your game."