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Phillies seek return to securing basepaths

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies led the Majors in Spring Training with a 44.8 stolen-base percentage and 16 runners caught stealing by a catcher, but that hasn't translated into success in the regular season.

Entering Tuesday night's game vs. the Rockies, runners were successful in stealing 79.2 percent of the time against the Phillies, ranking Philadelphia 22nd in the big leagues. And the Phillies are getting run on often -- the 38 stolen bases allowed by their catchers ranked seventh highest in the league.

There's little that can be done against the Dee Gordons and Billy Hamiltons of baseball, with those two players alone combining for eight stolen bases against Philadelphia this season, but Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg still wants to see his team operating closer to where it was during Spring Training.

"We need to get better," Sandberg said. "Dee Gordon and Hamilton, they're a whole different class. We timed Dee Gordon at 3.1 [seconds] on a steal. Hamilton was the same thing. That's tough. You pitch out; you don't get the guy. We try and do some different things and do some different varied holds, picks and things like that. A.J. Burnett is having a particularly tough time with his condition of shortening up and not straining himself. He's trying to do some other things, but that's an ongoing process."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Erik Bacharach is an associate reporter for
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