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Archive for February, 2012

Wolever Takes Assistant GM Post with Phillies

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, February 22, 2012 05:31 PM Comments: 0

Marti Wolever (CsnPhilly.com)

A statement from the Phillies:

Marti Wolever has been promoted to Assistant General Manager, Amateur Scouting, Senior Vice President & General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced today.

Wolever had been the Phillies’ director of scouting since October 2011.  Prior to this role, he served as the club’s national cross-checker and scouting coordinator for nine years.

“Marti has played an instrumental role in securing some of our top talent since joining the club,” said Amaro.  “We are pleased to recognize his numerous contributions with this promotion.”

Wolever oversaw the drafts that brought Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and pitchers Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick, Vance Worley and Mike Stutes to the team. Those drafts also supplied the players who would go on to be used in trades to acquire pitchers Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Jamie Moyer, Brad Lidge and Joe Blanton and outfielders Hunter Pence and John Mayberry Jr.

Prior to joining the Phillies in November 1992, Marti was a Midwest cross-checker with the White Sox (1991-92). He began his scouting career as an area scout with the Tigers (1984-88) and the Yankees (1989-90).

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Howard Swings in Cages; Feels “40 Percent Healthy”

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, February 22, 2012 02:30 PM Comments: 46

(Photo: Ryan Lawrence, Delco Times)

Ryan Howard joked during his press conference in Clearwater today that he’d done a lot of searching. For the remote.

Knowing that his surgically-repaired achillies would keep him on the couch, his fiancee, Eagles cheerleader Krystle Campbell, made him watch “Housewives” shows, as he put it. Unable to put up a fight, Howard actually took a liking to the reality TV programs that I make fun of my own girlfriend for watching. But I digress.

Howard said his time off was a good way to refresh his mind and body. With that, he’ll have a lot of recovery to do as he diagnosed himself at about 40 percent healthy currently, according to Comcast SportsNet’s Michael Barkann.

While taking random trips to the grocery store, Howard says he encountered many people who had the same injury. He’d even compare scars with those in the produce section.

From the way he spoke on Wednesday afternoon, he’s prepared for a long battle back, but does say he’s getting there. During morning BP, Howard took live swings for the first time since the injury. That mammoth strength was still apparent, as many reports said he hit a few balls out of the park at Bright House Field.

One thing Howard would not do is put a time on a return to the Phillies lineup. His manager, Charlie Manuel, believes he’ll be back before May, which is just about two months from today. Howard did say he didn’t think he’d be playing in any Spring Training games, so the team will continue to take a cautiously-aggressive approach with the Big Piece.

And that’s fine. There’s no need to rush him back. Sure, the division is stronger and teams are gunning to unseat the incumbent champions of the NL East. That’s no reason to push Howard past his limits. The Phillies know that, Howard knows that. Howard understands his full power might not be back until around the All-Star break in July. If he’s 100% for the second half of the season, look out.

I’m also interested to see how the fans will react to Ryan Howard once he returns. Will they give him leeway, knowing this is a serious and sometimes career-altering injury? Or will they continue to ride him hard as he enters year one of a five-year contract extension worth $125 million?

Video below is from Ryan Lawrence of the Delco Times:

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Prospect Nation 2012: #9 RHP Jonathan Pettibone

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, February 22, 2012 11:02 AM Comments: 0

Right-handed pitcher Jonathan Pettibone, a third round selection in the 2008 amateur draft, was among the excellent starting rotation with Class A Advanced Clearwater that became known as “The Baby Aces” last season. As he has taken strides to improve his skills, Pettibone has begun to earn an increased amount of recognition in the Philadelphia developmental ranks.

The 6-foot-5-inch 200-pound Pettibone made his pro debut with the Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2008, recording an inning of work. The following season, the Esperanza High School (California) product joined the starting rotation for the Williamsport Crosscutters of the short-season New York-Penn League. In 9 games, Pettibone went 2-4 with a lackluster 5.35 ERA and a .261 batting average against. He was then sidelined with an injury and missed time in the latter portion of the season.

In 2010, Pettibone improved his velocity and effectiveness by working closely with pitching coach Steve Schrenk to adjust his mechanics and extension. Pettibone’s results on the mound became increasingly solid as his remarkable campaign progressed. After posting a 5.04 ERA in 12 games through the end of June, Pettibone served up a 2.37 ERA over his final 12 appearances of the regular season with Class A Lakewood. That terrific performance down the stretch helped the club win its second straight South Atlantic League championship. Overall, Pettibone recorded an 8-6 record and finished among the league leaders in ERA with a 3.49 mark.

Continue reading Prospect Nation 2012: #9 RHP Jonathan Pettibone

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Clearwater Notes: Halladay & Snakes, Qualls in Camp

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, February 21, 2012 11:20 PM Comments: 4

DOC IN THE AMAZON

The tall tale was just that. While in the Amazon over the winter, Roy Halladay and friends (including Chris Carpenter and B.J. Ryan) came across a local man whose boat had been overturned by a large snake – the mighty anaconda, to be specific.

But the legend of Halladay wrestling the snake in the muddy waters of the rainforest was false. In fact, Halladay said he hates snakes. Here’s Roy’s version of the story (from David Hale of the Wilmington News Journal):

Continue reading Clearwater Notes: Halladay & Snakes, Qualls in Camp

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De Fratus Diaries: J-Bone Zone Goes to Clearwater

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, February 21, 2012 02:55 PM Comments: 3

Ladies and gentlemen, join us in welcoming Phillies pitching prospect Justin De Fratus, who will be taking time this preseason to offer rare and unique glances inside spring training.

De Fratus, an 11th round draft pick from 2007, has been one of Philadelphia’s fastest rising relief pitchers over the past couple of seasons. After posting a combined 6-3 record with 15 saves and a 2.99 ERA at Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley last year, De Fratus earned a promotion to the majors and appeared in 5 games for the Phillies.

This year, as the 24-year-old De Fratus battles for an opening day roster spot, he’ll share all sorts of thoughts and inside looks at camp in Clearwater, FL exclusively with you, Phillies Nation. Read ahead for your first dose of The J-Bone Zone.

I left for Florida from my off-season home in California back in late January. I drove cross-country with my buddy Jameson and I’ve just been down here since then, soaking in the baseball. I got to work at the complex from day one. Continue reading De Fratus Diaries: J-Bone Zone Goes to Clearwater

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Shane Victorino on “Hawaii Five-0″

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, February 21, 2012 12:26 PM Comments: 6

Shane Victorino on Hawaii Five-0. (CBS)

Did you miss Shane Victorino’s performance on CBS’s “Hawaii Five-0″ on Monday night? Fear not, it has been uploaded by someone named “BadazzTUBE” by the Phillies on YouTube.

Victorino’s cameo is quick, however, he does an OK job in what I believe is his acting debut.

All footage is owned by CBS.

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The Turnover of a Championship Team

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, February 21, 2012 10:00 AM Comments: 20

Brad Lidge and Jayson Werth have gone south. (AP)

It is now common knowledge that Ruben Amaro Jr. was engaged in negotiations to essentially turn Joe Blanton into Bobby Abreu, then turn Abreu into AJ Burnett. I have a soft-spot for Blanton: the big Kentuckian was perfectly serviceable during the 2008 championship run and, like Cole Hamels, did not register a loss in the postseason that year.

Blanton is affable and epitomizes the imperfections of Philadelphia that fans can relate to. Is Blanton the biggest or strongest pitcher? No. Is he the fastest to the plate or does he have the best repertoire? No. But what Blanton does posses is an intangible likability and projects an image of a workman who packs his lunch. As a fan, it would have hurt to see Blanton, a member of said championship team, gone.

Then it hit me: they’re almost all gone already.

Continue reading The Turnover of a Championship Team

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Play Fantasy Baseball with Phillies Nation

Posted by Brian Michael, Tue, February 21, 2012 08:15 AM Comments: 0

With the 2012 season just around the corner, it’s time to start another Phillies Nation fantasy baseball season, where it’s free to enter and winners of each division win a Phillies Nation Prize Pack at the end of the season!

If you are interested in playing this year, sign up below and we’ll email you an invitation to join one of our leagues. Invites will be sent out in March, but you can certainly start thinking of funny team names now.

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Clearwater Notes: Ibanez, Contreras, Howard

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, February 20, 2012 07:58 PM Comments: 23

Big Truck hopes he's fixed and ready to go. (AP)

RAUL MOVING ON

By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard the news. Raul Ibanez has moved on to the New York Yankees, inking a one-year deal worth $1.1 million. Echoing the post I put up on the Phillies Nation facebook page today, we wish him the absolute best.

It wasn’t always a smooth ride for Raul here in Philadelphia, but we know one thing; he was a tireless worker and an ultimate competitor. No matter what you thought of him on the field, off the field he was a perfect role model and citizen. Sure, he had his ups and downs – more downs than ups over the course of his three-year contract – but he fought everyday, every at-bat like it was his last.

We thank him for three seasons of being the consummate professional, regardless of the results. Best of luck to Raul in New York.

CONTRERAS TO HIT THE MOUND

According to multiple outlets in Florida, Jose Contreras will throw off a mound tomorrow. It will be the first time he attempts that toss since offseason elbow surgery. The Phillies are still hoping they can return Contreras to the 8th inning role that he dominated in at times last season.

At 40, you wonder what he has left in the tank. We will find out soon if he can take the next step forward.

HOWARD JOGGING, TAKING GROUNDERS

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Ryan Howard did some jogging and fielded ground balls today in Clearwater. He has also been swinging in the cages as he works his way back from achillies tendon surgery during the offseason. Any activity this early in Spring Training is an excellent sign that he’s on the right path to recovery.

(Video was taken by Ryan Lawrence of the Delco Times)

DE FRATUS TO ADD TO PHILLIES NATION

On Monday night, Jay Floyd will speak to Justin De Fratus as he gives his thoughts on the beginning of Spring Training from Clearwater. Look for more blog posts from De Fratus as he tries to win a big league job in the Phillies bullpen. He’ll undoubtedly have some cool insider information and we’re looking forward to it.

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Hamels: Not Focused on Contract Talks

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, February 20, 2012 01:37 PM Comments: 26

Cole Hamels spoke to the media for the first time at Spring Training on Monday. He used several cliches, which is to be expected. But Hamels made it known he is not worried about the contract negotiations and he’s completely focused on this season and winning.

Where there is concern is with the amount of time it takes to get a deal done; if it does at all. What Hamels did say is, there will be no deadline on negotiations between he, his agent John Boggs, and the Phillies organization. If it takes all season, Hamels says that will not be a problem and will not affect his on-field performance.

This is exceptional news, knowing that many players will shut down talks once the season begins (see: Albert Pujols/Cardinals). It at least shows his desire to remain with the franchise that drafted him in 2002. Jokingly, Hamels said that since he’s been here, the team has done a great job of keeping players they like, and that he hopes he’s one of them. Cole knows that this franchise wants him around for a long time, so both sides seem intent on figuring it all out.

Continue reading Hamels: Not Focused on Contract Talks

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