Terry Collins said during a state-of-the-team address Wednesday at noon with New York media that he plans to have a small speech before pitchers and catcher stage their first official workout Thursday. He then will give the actual version that he's been prepping since being hired in November before the first full-squad workout.
One theme will be about being an underdog as motivation.
"We're going to try to rebuild some confidence," Collins said.
Here are tidbits Collins mentioned during the press conference:
• Asked to identify the areas of competition on the team, Collins named second base, the final two spots in the rotation behind Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey and Jon Niese and the bullpen, which he said the organization needs to "recreate."
Collins acknowledged projected rotation members Chris Young and Chris Capuano are "up there" in the competition, but he also identified Dillon Gee, D.J. Carrasco, Oliver Perez and Jenrry Mejia as candidates. The manager added that Mejia is likely ticketed for Triple-A to work on his secondary pitches.
• Asked for "slam dunks" for the bullpen, Collins mentioned K-Rod, Bobby Parnell, Carrasco (if he's not a starter), Tim Byrdak and Taylor Buchholz.
He also said he planned to have a long man, with Pat Misch a logical candidate and Ollie perhaps in that mix.
• Collins did not dismiss Luis Castillo as a second-base candidate, but this comment was telling: "I do believe today second base has become an offensive position." That bodes well for Daniel Murphy, who should be on the team in some capacity, as well as Rule 5 pick Brad Emaus.
Collins expressed full confidence in Murphy as a second baseman, noting how Wally Backman and Tim Teufel were among the coaches working with him Wednesday. "Somebody is going to teach him to turn a double play," Collins said.
• Catcher Ronny Paulino will be late to camp because of visa issues, according to Collins. He's expected "shortly."
• Collins on Carlos Beltran: "When he walks in the first day he's the center fielder." Collins added that the situation is somewhat akin to Ollie Perez's in that the veteran will be given an opportunity to earn his preferred role. But if it's not working, Collins will sit down with Beltran and move him to right field.
Collins said he has not met with Beltran yet, and he doesn't want to discuss his usage first with the media. But strategic rest might be prudent in order to avoid the outfielder's balky knees flaring up. And Collins did already broach DHing in interleague play.
• Sandy Alderson and Collins met with K-Rod. Collins said he wants a closer to go in the game when he warms up -- not ready multiple times in the pen -- which was likely music to Rodriguez's ears. The two have a shared relationship with Troy Percival from the Angels, and Collins said he wants to pattern K-Rod's usage like that -- meaning bringing him in for four- or five-out saves sometimes. Collins also pledged no funny business with K-Rod's vesting option at 55 games finished. "I plan on using him how I'm supposed to use him," Collins said.
• On Bernard Madoff, Collins said: "That has not been a factor" in the clubhouse.
• Collins said he can't be consumed with the Phillies. He noted the Angels in his day had success with the Yankees, but struggled against some other teams they were supposed to beat. "We play 162 times," he said. "We only play them 18."
• Collins met with Johan Santana. And even though the pitcher can only play catch, they resolved for Santana to lead his teammates onto the field for Thursday's workout and participate to the extent he can. "I want you on the field," Collins said he told Santana, citing his leadership ability.