Biddle slated to make Reading return on Saturday

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, August 16, 2014 07:00 AM Comments: 2


Jesse Biddle, image- Jay Floyd

After a miserable stretch of starts in June, lefty pitcher Jesse Biddle was placed on Double-A Reading’s temporary inactive list. On Saturday, he’ll make his long awaited return to the FirstEnergy Stadium mound when he starts the first game of the Fightins’ scheduled double header against Binghamton.

The 22-year-old posted a 0-4 record with a 12.64 ERA in four June starts. It was clear that there was something quite wrong with Biddle, who had missed a start in late May after being pelted with hail and suffering a concussion.

A mixture of feelings including confusion and discontent were firmly settling in while Biddle’s efforts on the mound were not.

The Phils saw a need for the Philadelphia native and Germantown Friends School product to take a break. Exams discovered lasting impact on Biddle stemming from the concussion and time off was required.

“For me it was an important time not only to take a mental break and to go down to Florida and fall back in love with the game of baseball, but it was also important for me to see a doctor, go to physical therapy and get my mind right because 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 and I can realize that not that I feel 100-percent better,” Biddle explained in the Reading clubhouse on Friday night. Continue reading Biddle slated to make Reading return on Saturday


PN Interview: Joe Jordan talks Phils prospects

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, August 11, 2014 08:00 AM Comments: 26

On Sunday, I sat down with Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan.  As usual, I bounced as many names as I could his way until I felt as though I may be keeping the former pro catcher and longtime scout from doing the work that he was at the ballpark to do.  Topics of discussion included Adam Morgan‘s recovery from shoulder surgery, Cameron Perkins‘ slow start at the Triple-A level, Maikel Franco‘s turnaround, Dylan Cozens‘ emergence and several more prospects.

Read ahead for all of Jordan’s remarks about some well regarded prospects.

-Are there any updates you can share on lefty pitcher Adam Morgan (3rd round pick, 2011), who underwent shoulder surgery last off-season?

He’s throwing, progressing well.  You know, I mean, we’re hopeful that during instructional league we may have actually him on the mound, participating.  But really, right now, he’s doing well.

-And righty Shane Watson (supplemental pick, 2012) is completely shut down till next spring, correct?

He’s not going to throw any (more) this year.  We’re just going to try to rehab him and get him ready for spring training.

-Tyler Viza (32nd round pick, 2013) is one of the youngest pitchers in the Class A South Atlantic League.  He’s got the Lakewood record for losses.  He’s 19 and it’s his first full season as a pro.  Any concern about what sort of discouragement that claim to fame could bring for him?

No.  He’s a strong minded kid.  He gets it.  He’s getting his innings, he’s (pitching) every six days.   He’s gonna gain from this year.  Obviously, some of it’s been his doing, some of it’s not scoring runs, but he’s alright.  Continue reading PN Interview: Joe Jordan talks Phils prospects


Brignac, Lee, Nieves Activated

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, July 21, 2014 02:45 PM Comments: 14

The Phillies have announced that infielder Reid Brignac, LHP Cliff Lee, and catcher Wil Nieves have been activated for tonight’s game. To make room for the trio, the Phillies have outrighted catcher Koyie Hill to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, designated Tony Gwynn Jr. for assignment, and optioned infielder Cesar Hernandez to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. None of the moves come as particular shocks, especially the since the Phillies have been carrying six outfielders since signing Grady Sizemore.


Chooch To Begin Rehab Tomorrow

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, July 16, 2014 02:15 PM Comments: 4

According to reports, catcher Carlos Ruiz will be on his way to High-A Clearwater to begin a rehab assignment. Chooch has been sidelined since June 26 with a concussion and was hitting .257/.363/.357 with two homers before the injury.

Analysis: If Ruiz’s rehab goes well, he could become a hot name in the catching market. While the Cardinals have recently acquired a stopgap catcher to fill in for Yadier Molina, a few other contenders have played through their seasons with injured starting catchers, like the Braves, Marlins, and Orioles. While intra-division trades are unlikely, Chooch could be a hot name in a thin catching market at the deadline with just one year, $8.5 million left on his contract for 2015 and a reasonable $4.5 million team option for 2016. 


Notes: Chooch to DL, Collier DFA’ed, Camp Released

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Fri, June 27, 2014 06:42 PM Comments: 0

The road to contention just got even trickier.

2008 first-round pick Zach Collier was designated for assignment today to make room on the 40-man roster for catcher Koyie Hill. The 23-year old outfielder has struggled in the minors, posting a .240/.312/.349 over his minor league career while Collier has hit just .228/.307/.316 with just one homer in his second stint with Reading. Hill, 35, has been added to the 40-man roster and was recalled to Philadelphia

Why, you ask?

To take the place of catcher Carlos Ruiz. Chooch is battling concussion-like symptoms, per reports, and has been placed on the seven-day disabled list. Hill, a 10-year MLB veteran, was hitting .240/.341/.373 with three homers for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Additionally, RHP Shawn Camp has been released. Camp, who was released earlier this season and then re-signed with the Phillies as a minor-league free agent, appeared in three games with the Phillies, allowing two earned and a homer. Camp had appeared in 13 games for Lehigh Valley with a 4.20 ERA and his release is to make room for Jason Marquis.

Analysis: The Phillies chose the toolsy Collier 34th overall in the 2008 draft ahead of safer college arms Lance Lynn and Wade Miley. Collier never got his bat going but was seen within the organization as someone with enough tools and raw athletic ability to eventually become a Major Leaguer. Collier struggled to stay healthy, missing all of 2010 and parts of 2011 and 2012. When Collier was healthy, he showed flashes of being a potential 20/20 outfielder but missed time added up and adjustments weren’t made. Collier could remain with the Phillies if he clears waivers. 

With all of the catching movement, Sebastian Valle is temporarily Lehigh Valley’s only catcher.


Rupp Recalled, Altherr Optioned

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Thu, June 19, 2014 12:41 PM Comments: 0

Rupp will join the Phillies for his second stint in the Majors. Photo by Jay Floyd.

In the wake of Wil Nieves injuring himself in the ninth inning of yesterday’s game, the Phillies have recalled catcher Cameron Rupp and optioned OF Aaron Altherr to Double-A Reading. Rupp, 25, hit four homers in his first four games of the 2014 campaign with the IronPigs but has only two since April 9. Rupp is hitting just .167/.295/.370 with six homers but did have a two-hit game last night.

Analysis: This will tell you all you need to know, for now, about Nieves, tweaking his quad. If this was a longer-term injury, I would have to imagine veteran MLB back-up Koyie Hill would have been added to the 40-man roster to serve as the back-up. But with a short-term injury, and no DL trip announced, Rupp won’t miss out on significant playing time he would have received in Lehigh Valley to play sparingly in Philadelphia.


Report: Pettibone to Have Exploratory Shoulder Surgery

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, June 16, 2014 05:17 PM Comments: 0

As reported by multiple outlets, RHP Jonathan Pettibone will have “exploratory right shoulder surgery” tomorrow. The 23-year old from Anaheim, CA was last seen in the Major Leagues allowing eight earned on nine hits in four innings at Colorado on April 18. Pettibone had been rehabbing at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he was 2-0 with a 3.42 ERA, but had last pitched on May 12, 2014 where he went five innings allowing two earned in a no decision against the Gwinnett Braves.

AnalysisPettibone has been out of sight, out of mind for most Phillies fans this season. Pettibone would, in my estimation, be a slight upgrade over Roberto Hernandez or David Buchanan but has been unlikely with an uncooperative shoulder. Pettibone got through six innings only once for the IronPigs this season and made only two starts for the Phils. Depending on the severity of what the exploratory shoulder surgery reveals, Pettibone could be out for any number of days, weeks, or months.


Cliff Lee has MRI on Left Elbow, Placed on DL

Posted by Pat Egan, Tue, May 20, 2014 11:00 PM Comments: 10

UPDATE, Tuesday 5/20 at 11:00 PM: According to the official Philadelphia Phillies Twitter, Cliff Lee was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a grade 1-2 left elbow strain. A corresponding roster move will be made at a later date.


(Original Post, 5/20 6:30 PM):

Jim Salisbury of CSN is reporting that Phillies left hander Cliff Lee had an MRI on his left elbow today. The team has not received the results back from the MRI yet. Lee has reportedly been pitching through elbow discomfort (flexor pronator strain) for three weeks now. The injury is likely the reason for Lee’s drop in velocity in his recent starts. Even with the elbow discomfort Lee still managed a 3.27 ERA in his last 5 starts. He is scheduled to pitch on Friday against the Dodgers.

This is could be a crippling blow to the Phillies chances of reaching the post season. Lee has no history of elbow problems but with the recent string of pitchers going under the knife for Tommy John surgery its hard not to fear the worst when hearing this news. Lee is sporting a 4-4 record with a  3.18 ERA this season and has been the teams ace. The Phillies should have the results back from the MRI soon.


BlueClaws’ Crawford set to return Monday

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, May 18, 2014 07:15 PM Comments: 3


JP Crawford, Image- Jay Floyd

Out of the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws’ lineup for the past five games, top prospect J.P. Crawford is set to return to action on Monday.

Crawford, the Phillies’ top draft choice last year (16th overall), has been sidelined since injuring the index finger on his left hand during a routine team workout last week.  Sporting a bandage beneath his batting glove, Crawford, a shortstop, took pregame batting practice on Sunday and was available for the team’s contest against the Rome Braves if he was needed.

The 19-year-old lefty batter sports a .328/.421/.481 slash line in 34 games this season with Lakewood. Crawford has been hot of late, tallying a 1.110 OPS in 12 May games.

The BlueClaws continue their home stand with two more games against Rome on Monday and Tuesday with first pitch slated for 6:35 PM each night.


Fightins Quotables: Hewitt, Alonso & Wathan Speak

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, May 16, 2014 03:35 PM Comments: 2

While covering the Double-A Reading Fightins over the past week, I collected a ton of feedback from  many players and coaches.  With so much material in the hopper, here are some quotes that I didn’t want readers to miss from 2008′s top Phillies draft pick Anthony Hewitt, U Del product and utility infielder Carlos Alonso as well as team manager Dusty Wathan.

Anthony Hewitt, Image- Jay Floyd

-Hewitt (.139/.149/.181 slash line in 24 games this season) spoke of if there’s any mental impact related to his struggles at the plate thus far in 2014…

Mental impact?  I don’t even know.  I’m struggling, (but) I’m just going out there every day, grinding, having fun, having a positive attitude, getting my work in on and off the field and, you know, that’s all I can do.  It’s a game of failure.  Just, right now, no hits are falling.  No luck’s turning my way, but I’m sure that tomorrow, today, whenever it’s gonna happen, good luck’s gonna fall my way, hits are gonna start falling my way.  Everything comes in bunches and I can’t wait till the bunches start coming my way.

-The 25-year-old Hewitt on if he is discouraged with the lack of offense he has produced, when he was able to be more productive last season at the same level…

No, not discouraging at all.  It’s just that’s just the way it is.  That’s just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.  You just gotta stay positive and stay at it and, um, you know, things unfold the way they’re supposed to be at the end of the season.  It’s still early.  We still got plenty of season to go.

-Hewitt on if he is ever frustrated when his name is not in the lineup…

No, that thought process doesn’t even come to mind.  I just come to the field every day ready to work and with the mindset that I’m gonna play and that’s how I feel you gotta keep it.  Let’s say someone gets hurt during the day, I’m ready to go.  My mindset doesn’t change.  I come to the ballpark ready to play and that’s it.  That’s the mindset I’m always going to have, whether I’m playing or not. Continue reading Fightins Quotables: Hewitt, Alonso & Wathan Speak

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