Joe Blanton

Nicknames 2008 Phillies will use for Players Weekend

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Nicknames 2008 Phillies will use for Players Weekend

Chooch.
 
Hollywood.
 
Silver Fox?
 
The 2008 Phillies will go down as one of the most loved teams to ever play in the city of Philadelphia, and while most have moved on, the nicknames we called them back in the day, and some we didn’t, will appear on real Major League Baseball jerseys this season.
 
During the weekend of August 25-27, the first-ever Players Weekend will allow Major Leaguers to wear nicknames on the back of new-look jerseys for the first time. Here’s what the current Phillies team will look like, which features some interesting nicknames.
 
Here’s a look at how the still-active members of the 2008 World Series team will suit up.
 
Chase Utley, embracing his age and look, will be known as Silver Fox.
 


 
Cole Hamels, as he was known with the Phillies, will be Hollywood.
 

 
Chooch, will be known as Chooch.
 


Jayson Werth will simply be known as Dub.
 


 
Ryan Madson will wear Blest. Perhaps “Bridge to Lidge” was too long.
 

 
Joe Blanton will slim down his name, as he has his appearance, to Joe B.
 

 
J.A. Happ will go with Happer.
 

Daniel Nava impressing Phillies with 'professional at-bats' in spring training

Daniel Nava impressing Phillies with 'professional at-bats' in spring training

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The first time Pete Mackanin saw Daniel Nava, it was in his first major league at-bat with the Boston Red Sox in 2010. Nava, on the first pitch he saw, hit a grand slam off Phillies starting pitcher Joe Blanton.

Mackanin said he's liked Nava ever since that day, and it was one of the reasons the Phillies signed him to a minor-league contract in December.

Now that the Phillies manager has gotten a closer look at Nava this spring he has an even greater appreciation for what the 34-year-old outfielder can bring to the team.

"One of the things we talked about over the winter was getting someone that can give us professional at-bats, and he certainly looks like he controls the strike zone," Mackanin said. "He doesn't get himself out, he gives you quality at-bats every time he goes up to the plate."

Nava went 4 for 4 with a triple and run scored against his former team on Sunday. He's hitting 10 of 21 (.476) this spring.

"Obviously, spring training, you take it with a grain of salt but 4 for 4 is also better than 0 for 4," Nava said. "I wasn't trying to do too much and the [ball] just fell where they weren't standing."

It's safe to say Nava took the road less traveled to get to his eighth year of service in the major leagues. He tried out for the baseball team at Santa Clara University and was cut, so he became the team equipment manager. After two years Nava left Santa Clara to play junior college baseball at the College of San Mateo (Calif.). He was named a Junior College All-American and was given a scholarship to return to Santa Clara.

Professionally, he bounced around in Independent Leagues and even took a year off before going back to the Indies, where the Red Sox purchased his contract from the Chico Outlaws for $1. Nava made it through big-league camp (the Red Sox paid Chico $1,499 to keep him after spring) and began working his way through the system until that grand slam against Blanton.

"You know, I've had a lot of doors open in my favor," Nava said. "The Red Sox gave me a shot when no one else did and I'll always be grateful for that. Fortunately, I was able to play well enough to get a chance to play for a World Series, something I'll never forget."

Nava's best season in the majors was in 2013 with the Red Sox. He played in 134 games and had a slash line of .303/.385/.445 with 12 home runs and 66 RBIs -- all career highs. His numbers have gone down considerably since then but he still has the desire to prove he belongs in the league.

This season with the Phillies, he will be asked to give quality at-bats and be a veteran influence on a talented young roster that is learning how to compete and fight for wins.

Nava is just happy to have the chance for days like Sunday to happen.

"It's a good reminder just to not take it for granted that you have an opportunity [to compete]," Nava said. "I know for a fact that that opportunity isn't always there."

For first time all season, Cubs not the World Series favorite

For first time all season, Cubs not the World Series favorite

For the first day, and perhaps the only day all season, the Chicago Cubs are not the World Series favorite.

Down 2-1 to the Dodgers in the NLCS with Game 4 Wednesday night in L.A., the Cubs' World Series odds are now 5/2, according to Bovada.

The Dodgers have the best odds of the final four teams at 7/4. The Indians, up 3-1 on the Blue Jays in the ALCS, are next at 2/1. Toronto is the longshot at 8/1.

Veteran John Lackey starts for the Cubs tonight against 20-year-old rookie Julio Urias. Jon Lester goes for the Cubs Thursday in Game 5; the Dodgers haven't yet named a starter.

In any event, Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz and Joe Blanton are just two wins away from returning to the World Series for the first time since 2009. 

Utley is 3 for 24 with eight strikeouts this postseason. 

Ruiz contributed in the NLDS with a pinch-hit two-run homer in Game 3 and a pinch-hit, game-winning RBI single in Game 5.

Blanton, who had a great season as a reliever, has made six appearances in the playoffs and five have been clean. In the other, he allowed five runs in two-thirds of an inning as the Dodgers dropped Game 1 to the Cubs.

Phillies fans still keep tabs on former players from their Golden Era and applaud them when they return, but seeing Utley, Chooch and Kentucky Joe in the Fall Classic wearing Dodger blue might be too much for some to take.