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Notes: Myers working out kinks

Notes: Myers working out kinks

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Two starts into his Spring Training preparation, Brett Myers is miffed.

The perfectionist vented on Wednesday after a four-walk performance against the Blue Jays in which he surrendered two runs over 2 2/3 innings.

"I felt uncomfortable out there," Myers said. "I guess you go through that during Spring Training. I hate it. It irritates me when I can't feel exactly what I'm doing wrong to correct it."

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Myers was upset about his mechanics. He focused on separating his hands during his bullpen sessions, and felt he was doing that later than normal as he started his windup. Because he was late, his pitches were up.

"Usually, when I miss, it's going to be down," Myers said. "But I was missing up."

Myers didn't feel right despite tossing two scoreless innings.

"I don't know how I was getting outs," he said. "It was one of the things where I was like, 'Oh, my God, I hope it goes there [to a fielder].'"

In particular, Myers has also been adjusting to pitching at 215 pounds, which is 25 pounds less than he was at the end of the 2006 season. He shed the weight in the offseason.

"I felt that I knew how to pitch at 240," Myers said. "Now, it's like learning my body all over again."

Myers knows it's early and he knows he'll continue to progress leading up to Opening Day. For now, he must be patient, which tends to be difficult for him.

"It's one of those things where you expect to jump right back into midseason form in your first couple of starts," Myers said. "It's frustrating, because you know you're not there and you know you can be what you were during the season."

Thoughts and prayers: The reality of not seeing John Vukovich around the batting cages for another Spring Training has been unsettling enough.

Wednesday's news on the former Phillies player, coach, interim manager and special assistant to the general manager was even more unsettling.

Since January, Vukovich, 59, has been in a Philadelphia hospital, where he's fighting for his life after doctors discovered a brain tumor.

"Just say prayers," said Phillies vice president of public relations Larry Shenk, who spent the day providing updates to hundreds of concerned friends, fans and associates.

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Vukovich has touched many lives during his 41 years in baseball, including 31 with the Phillies. A native of Sacramento, Calif., he was a first-round draft choice by Philadelphia in 1966 and debuted in the Majors in 1970.

Vukovich hasn't been accepting visitors, and his family has requested privacy during this time.

"I couldn't sleep last night thinking about it," manager Charlie Manuel.

Good to be the King: For the second straight game, Brennan King was a hero.

King lifted the Phillies to a 6-3 win over the Blue Jays with a three-run, two-out homer in the bottom of the 10th inning. A day earlier, King won an 11-10 game against the Pirates with a two-run single, also in the 10th.

Wednesday's home run bounced off the top of the left-field wall at Bright House Networks Field.

"I didn't know it was going out," King said. "The way the left fielder was going back, I thought he was going to catch it."

King, who was born in Murfreesboro, Tenn., credits an improved batting stance for his success. He's off to a .455 start this spring, after hitting .261 with 12 homers in 364 at-bats with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2006.

It doesn't matter to King that this game was played on March 7. His job is the same.

"You're trying to turn some heads a little bit and let them see what you can do," he said.

Quotable: "I want to make it as tough a decision as I can for them. These [starting pitchers] all have contracts, but if there's a shot, I hope they'll remember the name." -- J.A. Happ, who has tossed 3 2/3 effective innings this spring

Philling in: Ryan Howard has hit safely in all five of his Grapefruit League games. ... Friday's game against the Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla., will be broadcast exclusively on Gameday Audio. The Phillies and Red Sox will use the designated hitter.

Coming up: On Thursday, Phils righty Adam Eaton will start the "B" game in Dunedin, Fla., against the Blue Jays at 10 a.m. ET, while lefty Brian Mazone faces the Indians at 1:05 p.m. in Winter Haven, Fla.

This will mark the only spring trip to Winter Haven for Phils manager Charlie Manuel, who has a house 15 minutes away. He spent many years with the Indians as a hitting coach and manager.

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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