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Crawford’s Chronicles: J.P. Talks Game Action, Teammates, Utley, Greene

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, March 19, 2015 08:00 AM Comments: 8

J.P. Crawford, image- Jay Floyd

Throughout spring training, Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford will be checking in to offer his thoughts straight from Clearwater, FL.

Crawford, 20, is widely considered the Phils’ top prospect after the team’s first round draft pick in 2013 posted a .285/.375/.406 slash line in 123 combined games at Class A Lakewood and Class A Advanced Clearwater last year in his first full pro season.

This week the lefty batting shortstop spoke about the start of game action, his double play combo partners, Larry Greene Jr.’s surprise absence from camp, Chase Utley once again plus plenty more.

Read ahead for all the exclusive quotes straight from the one and only J.P..

-With games getting underway, Crawford talked about how he and his group that’s being coached by the Clearwater staff did in the opening two days…

“We played the Blue Jays (on Tuesday) and the Pirates (on Wednesday) and we beat both of them.  We started off real well, playing real good team baseball.  I went 2-for-3 on Wednesday, so, I’m finally starting to get a feel for live pitching again and everything’s starting to come around.

“I think I went 0-for-3 on Tuesday and played all nine innings.  I played seven innings (on Wednesday).”

-On the topic of the intrasquad games in which the Phillies’ minor leaguers play against one another and if the players take those games seriously…

“We always take it serious.  Whenever we’re on the field playing a game, we’re out there trying to win.  And especially when we’re out there playing against the older squad, it’s a lot of fun.  It’s really competitive for us.  We’re trying- we’re going out there to beat them.

“The first intrasquad game, I went 2-for-4.  I faced Zach Eflin the first game.  I got a base hit off of him.” Continue reading Crawford’s Chronicles: J.P. Talks Game Action, Teammates, Utley, Greene

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Amaro refutes Biddle’s concussion diagnosis again and again

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, March 13, 2015 01:20 PM Comments: 33

Jesse Biddle, image- Jay Floyd

When a CSNPhilly piece by Jim Salisbury featured quotes from Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. discrediting prospect Jesse Biddle‘s assertion of suffering from a concussion last season, the uproar that should accompany such contradiction was missing.

The Phils’ 2010 opening round draft choice (27th overall), Biddle, missed considerable time last year after the Phillies told the media that the Germantown Friends School graduate needed a mental break.

Biddle struggled with his production after he was struck in the head with an ice pellet during a hail storm in May.  Prior to the ailment, which forced him to miss one start initially, the Philadelphia native posted a 3.18 ERA with 61 strike outs and 24 walks in 10 starts for Double-A Reading.  In the five starts that followed he had a 9.81 ERA with 15 strike outs and 16 walks issued.

At the time of the injury last year, Biddle was diagnosed by a doctor as having a concussion and, according to a piece by the Reading Eagle’s Mike Drago last year, it was his the third of his life.

Biddle’s high demands on himself drove him to push through the difficulties and things weren’t getting better.  In June he would be shut down to visit a specialist and participate in physical therapy in Florida.

Biddle offered a declaration to me in August that the damage caused by being struck in the head was quite substantial, having an impact outside of baseball.

“I definitely was experiencing some symptoms and whether or not they were affecting me on the field, they just affected my day to day life,” Biddle said. Continue reading Amaro refutes Biddle’s concussion diagnosis again and again

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Buchanan looks sharp in win as Phils down Tigers

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, March 12, 2015 04:35 PM Comments: 9

spring-training-2015On Thursday in Lakeland, the Phillies notched their fifth win on the preseason, led on the mound by righty hurler David Buchanan and on offense by infielder Andres Blanco.

Buchanan posted three scoreless frames to collect his first win of the Grapefruit League season.  In relief of starter Jerome Williams, the 25-year-old Buchanan allowed just one hit and struck out one batter while allowing no walks.

Williams, who is a lock for the Phils’ starting rotation along with Buchanan, allowed two earned runs on four hits, including a home run, in three innings of work.

Giving the Phillies a lead in the 5th, the veteran Blanco, who is batting .308 in seven spring contests, laced a triple that scored two in a six-run inning that gave the Phils all they needed to post the 6-5 victory.

Outfielder Jeff Francoeur and Rule 5 pick up Odubel Herrera each collected two safeties for the winning club.  Center fielder Ben Revere went 0-for-4 while slugger Ryan Howard was 0-for-3 on the day. Continue reading Buchanan looks sharp in win as Phils down Tigers

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Crawford’s Chronicles: JP Crawford talks Spring Training

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, March 10, 2015 07:30 AM Comments: 0

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JP Crawford, image- Jay Floyd

Entering this year as the widely regarded top prospect in the Phillies organization, J.P. Crawford will be taking time each week to provide insight  directly from inside spring training in Clearwater, FL, right here on PhilliesNation.com.

Crawford, 20, was named the top positional prospect in two leagues (Class A South Atlantic League and Class A Advanced Florida State League) last year, when he combined, in 123 games, to post a .285 average, 11 homers, 48 RBI and 24 stolen bases.  He also represented the Phils organization in the MLB All-Star Futures Game last season.

As the 2015 campaign approaches, the six-foot-two 180-pound lefty batter is expected to reach the Double-A level and continue to prove why the Phillies selected him in the first round of the 2013 draft.

In this initial installment of our weekly check-in with J.P., he shares thoughts on a variety of topics, including his exclusion from big league camp, which member of the big league roster he’s impressed by, which minor league teammate he looks up to, his coaches and more.

-Sharing his thoughts on not being invited to big league spring training…

“I mean, it’s (the team’s) decision.  I’m just going to go out, where ever I am, I’m just going to try to play hard and just try to impress everybody and do my job.  I didn’t have an opinion about whether or not I should be there, so I’m not going to get mad about anything.” Continue reading Crawford’s Chronicles: JP Crawford talks Spring Training

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Hanson is latest Phils minor leaguer to move on from baseball

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, March 09, 2015 02:50 PM Comments: 1

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Nic Hanson with Lakewood in 2013, image- Jay Floyd

News of Phillies minor league players stepping away from baseball seems to be a regular thing in recent days.  On Monday, righty hurler Nic Hanson became the latest prospect to announce his retirement from the game.

Faced with the hurdles of recovery from two elbow surgeries last year, the six-foot-seven 210-pounder confirmed via text message that he has officially retired from baseball.

Hanson, who was a 16th round draft selection by the Phillies in 2012, posted a 5-10 record along with a 4.54 ERA and a .287 batting average against in 46 games (24 starts) over three pro seasons.

The California native last appeared in two games for Class A Advanced Clearwater last August, where he allowed eight earned runs over six frames, before he was sidelined with a setback.

Moving forward, Hanson is excited about his future, as he is currently in school to follow in his father’s footstep and become a firefighter.

The details on Hanson come on the heels of former top draft selection Larry Greene Jr. choosing to not play baseball this year as well as minor league veterans Jim Murphy and Steve Susdorf moving on from the diamond.

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Another retirement announced out of minor league spring training

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, March 08, 2015 10:10 PM Comments: 10

With minor league camp underway and the initial work out groups list unveiled this weekend, thanks to Jim Peyton of PhuturePhillies.com (see below), a key question arose.  Where is Larry Greene Jr?  The omission of the Phillies’ top selection from the 2011 draft (39th overall) has plenty of people wondering about his status.

Confirmed by manager of the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, the 22-year-old Greene has retired from professional baseball.

In three pro seasons, the six-foot-one 225-pounder posted a .224 average with eight home runs and 74 RBI in 242 games.

Greene, a Georgia native, signed for a reported $1 million following the 2011 draft.  The Phillies retain the rights to Greene, if and when he decides to return to baseball.

Also of note from the list, per Legg, Andrew Pullin, who made an impact as the second baseman for Class A Lakewood last year (.270/.333/.394 in 129 games), will officially move forward as an outfielder, the position he played prior to being drafted as a 5th rounder in 2012 out of high school.

Additionally, multi-positional batsman Willians Astudillo, who was second in the Class A South Atlantic League in batting last year with a .333 mark, is listed as a catcher, where the Phillies hope he can catch on. Last season with Lakewood, the 23-year-old Venezuelan played first base, left field and catcher.

In recent days it was announced here on PhilliesNation.com that minor league slugger Jim Murphy’s playing career was likely done after he was not offered a deal by an affiliated team this off-season.

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Hamels tosses two scoreless in spring debut

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, March 06, 2015 02:40 PM Comments: 0

spring-training-2015In a game that was interrupted by rain, lefty ace Cole Hamels notched two scoreless innings in his Grapefruit League season debut.

The 31-year-old Hamels started against the NY Yankees, surrendering just one hit while striking out two and walking none in a pair of frames.  According to Ben Davis on the Phillies television broadcast, Hamels was clocked at 86 to 88 MPH.

Hamels, who is entering his 10th big league season, tallied a 9-9 record with a 2.49 ERA and an 8.7 K/9 mark in 30 starts last season for the Phils.

Standing at a scoreless tie, Friday’s spring game was stopped in the middle of the 3rd inning for a rain delay.

Once the game resumed, the Yankees plated three runs off of right-hander Mike Nesseth in the fourth inning, as they batted around.

Flame thrower Kenny Giles allowed one earned run in an inning of work, while Jake Diekman threw a scoreless 1-2-3 inning and was clocked at 93 MPH in his spring debut.

The Phils scored a run on a solo homer by Xavier Paul in the 7th inning.

New York won by a final of 4-1 to put the Phillies’ record at 1-2-1 on the spring season thus far.

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Longtime Phils minor leaguer Jim Murphy likely done with playing career

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, March 06, 2015 01:40 PM Comments: 0

Jim Murphy in the cage last year while coach Mickey Morandini looks on, Image- Jay Floyd

Slugging first baseman Jim Murphy has decided that his playing days are over.

Reached for comment on Thursday, the Washington state native asserted his time in the lineup has ended.

“I didn’t get a spring training invite from (a major league affiliate),” Murphy shared.  “I don’t want to play independent ball.  I’m done playing.”

The Phillies’ 17th round draft choice in 2008 out of Washington State University, Murphy notched a .264 average with 98 home runs and 432 RBI in 800 career professional games.  Having played at every single level of the Phils’ developmental ranks, the six-foot-four 240-pounder was twice an All-Star in his minor league career, in 2011 with Class A Lakewood, where he is a massive fan favorite, and in 2013 with Double-A Reading.

After wrapping up his 2014 season with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Murphy became a free agent.

Murphy has long been viewed as a player that could one day have a future in coaching.  Through his career, he’d  regularly spend time during off-seasons working at youth clinics and told me a few winters back that he would like to stay in the game after his playing days were over, whether as a coach or by working in the front office for a team.  If the right offer to again don a uniform came his way, it’s possible Murphy would return to the game.

Update: After the initial publication of this piece, I heard back from Murphy who did not wish for me to use the word “retired” to describe his status.  He declared that, despite stating that he’s done playing, he prefers the phrase “un-signed free agent”.

For now, the 29-year-old is currently working in the home loan industry in Seattle.

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PhoulBallz Podcast Episode 75: Baseball Betsy & Hoby Milner Interviews

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, February 28, 2015 08:30 AM Comments: 0

On the 75th edition of the PhoulBallz Podcast, Tug and Jay are joined by Phillies and minor league blogger “Baseball Betsy”, who shares some stories about being an American parent to some of the Phils’ up and coming Latin prospects and gives some updates on the likes of Perci Garner, Adam Morgan, Grenny Cumana and Carlos Alonso. Lefty hurler Hoby Milner takes time to answer Nine Silly-ass Questions. The guys also discuss the Phillies diving into the analytics era at long last, Kelly Dugan‘s injury, questionable Twitter etiquette and plenty more.

Use the media player below to stream the full episode, or simply download it by clicking HERE.

You can also check out previous episodes and subscribe on iTunes.

Additionally, thanks to the thousands of you for being part of the growing process as our previous episode featuring an interview with the aforementioned Alonso was our most downloaded episode ever.

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Oft-injured Dugan speaks on latest ailment

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, February 26, 2015 06:00 PM Comments: 1

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Kelly Dugan, image- Jay Floyd

Phillies outfield prospect Kelly Dugan expects to be ready to play when the regular season gets rolling in April.

Sidelined with a stress reaction in his right foot, Dugan, who is no stranger to injuries, showed up to spring training this week in a walking boot and has engaged in limited activity thus far in Clearwater.  This issue popped up recently while the California native was running sprints.

For those wondering precisely what a stress reaction is, Dugan cleared that matter up.

“There is no fracture.  It’s a low level bone injury from stress to the area,” Dugan explained via text message on Thursday.

The 24-year-old is working to stay in shape in the weight room and states that he is able to play light catch with a regular shoe, free of any pain.

Dugan, who was the Phillies top draft selection (2nd round) in 2009, will be in the walking boot for another week.

“Things are going smoothly so far,” Dugan stated.  “Doctors and trainers expect me to be a full go before camp breaks because the MRI showing a stress reaction that was very mild.”

The son of Hollywood director Dennis Dugan, Kelly sports a solid career slash line (.293/.368/.451) in five pro seasons and will likely open the 2015 campaign on the Triple-A Lehigh Valley roster.

In his professional career, Dugan has spent time on the shelf with a collection of injuries including a staph infection, an ankle sprain, oblique strains and turf toe.

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