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Kenny Giles Interview Excerpts

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, May 23, 2014 07:30 AM Comments: 0

Kenny Giles, Image- Jay Floyd

Recently, I spoke with Phillies pitching prospect Kenny Giles for a segment on Phillies Nation TV.  Some of what the 23-year-old right-hander chatted with me about didn’t make the cut for the show, but I’ve transcribed that material below.

Through 18 combined games with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season, Giles has posted a 2-0 record along with eight saves, a 1.29 ERA and a .155 batting average against.  Additionally, the Phils’ 7th round pick from 2011 has struck out 33 and walked 10 in 21 innings.

Read ahead for some exclusive quotes from Kenny.

-I asked Giles which individual stood out among Phillies teammates that he learned the most from during his time with the big club in spring training this year…

I can’t just pick one guy.  I mean, everybody on that team opened up my eyes and opened my mind to bigger and better things.  Just things I never thought I would think about.  I’d just say everybody on that team opened my eyes.

-Giles spoke about the progress of his consistency and how that is key for him…

I think my consistency is getting a lot better.  My control is getting there.  I mean, I wouldn’t say I’m perfect.  I’m never gonna be perfect, but I think over the years, I’ve gotten so much better with my consistency.  I’ve been a lot better this year.  

-On the subject of how missing a lengthy amount of time last season with oblique strains and how that helped him develop mental toughness…

It was a big thing mentally.  I mean, everything I went through was really hard on me.  I really wanted to get on the field.  I’m one of those guys that even if something hurts a little bit, I’m gonna push right through it.  But, in that case, I couldn’t do it, ’cause it’s one of those things where (the Phillies) wouldn’t let me.  And, so, they sat me down and were like, “Hey, you need to take a breather.  Take some time off and focus on what you need to do first.”  And they broke me down and I started to see why they wanted me to do that.  Right now, it’s been great so far.  Continue reading Kenny Giles Interview Excerpts

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BlueClaws Quotables: Coaches talk about Grullon, Walding, others

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, May 21, 2014 07:30 AM Comments: 2

This week I spoke with Lakewood manager Greg Legg and team pitching coach Les Lancaster about a some Class A BlueClaws players.  Legg, who is in his 33rd year in the Phillies organization, shared some thoughts about a pair of young positional prospects, catcher Deivi Grullon and third baseman Mitch Walding.  Lancaster, who pitched in the majors for seven seasons and is coaching his fourth season in the Phils system, shared thoughts on righty starter Ranfi Casimiro and BlueClaws reliever Ulises Joaquin.

Deivi Grullon, Image- Jay Floyd

-Legg speaking about Grullon, an 18-year-old backstop who was ranked as PhilliesNation.com’s #24 prospect heading into the season…

“He’s as young as they get.  I don’t know if there’s anybody younger in the league than him.  He’s got a lot of energy back there.  He’s got a strong arm.  He’s just a young catcher with some tools.  And we’re hoping, Les and myself and Lino, that we can get him experience behind the plate on how to call a game and, especially with our young pitchers.  And he’s getting better at it every time out.”

-Legg on the 21-year-old Walding (.247 avg., three doubles, seven RBI in 20 games), who appears in great shape following surgery to remove a rib that had been a chronic problem dating back to last season…

“(He’s got) a little more experience.  He’s a veteran now and he knows what’s coming or knows what to expect and he’s been carrying himself real well.  He’s got great presence on the field and he’s got quick hands with that bat, when he uses them.  He gets us hits.”

-Lancaster spoke of  the 21-year-old righty Joaquin, who entered action on Tuesday with a 6.13 ERA, but regularly clocks 93-95 MPH with his fastball… Continue reading BlueClaws Quotables: Coaches talk about Grullon, Walding, others

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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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Fightins Quotables: Reading manager Wathan talks Phils prospects

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, May 09, 2014 11:28 AM Comments: 3

I sat down with Reading Fightins’ manager Dusty Wathan this week to chat about some well-known Phillies prospects.  The Double-A skipper openly discussed the progress of young pitching prospect Severino Gonzalez and outfielder Cameron Perkins.  He also shared details about the status of infielder Cesar Hernandez, who was a late scratch from the team’s lineup on Thursday with groin tightness, as well as catcher Tommy Joseph, who has had repeated concussion concerns.

Severino Gonzalez, Image- Jay Floyd

Talking about the output and progress of 21-year-old righty Severino Gonzalez, who sports a 3-2 record with a 4.02 ERA through seven starts this season-

He’s done a nice job.  He’s, obviously, advanced in the system quickly.  One of the younger guys in this league.  And he’s done a nice job.  You know, he’s learning a lot of stuff.  He’s here quick.  He hasn’t advanced through the system kind of the normal way a guy would.  He kind of flew through it.  He started in extended spring (last year) and then started here for us this year, so he’s still learning a lot of things.  I think sometimes people expect a guy to be in Double-A and sometimes guys are more polished than others.  

He’s still working on his fastball command and his change up.  I mean his fastball command is there most nights, but when he doesn’t have his fastball command, he has to be able to get outs with other pitches and make adjustments.  He needs to really work on his change up and he has.  We’re forcing him to throw it a little bit because we think it’s a very important pitch for all starting pitchers and it’s usually the last one to come.  Being a young guy we want him to get after it a little bit with that.

Speaking about 23-year-old outfielder/first baseman Cam Perkins, who sports a .359 average with two homers and 18 RBI through 30 games this season-


He’s been outstanding.  Another guy that’s got here quick.  Second full season in professional baseball.  He’s a guy that’s a tremendous baseball player.  I think, I always say that he’s a guy that not all the scouts look at and go “Ooh and ahh” about him, but he does the things that you want a baseball player to do.  He runs the bases well, tremendous hand-eye coordination, he puts the ball in play, just has instincts for how to run the bases, what the situations are.  You can put in center field one day, you can put him in left field, you can put him at first base.  He doesn’t care where he’s playing, as long as he gets to play.  He’s a very fun player to watch, a very exciting guy. Continue reading Fightins Quotables: Reading manager Wathan talks Phils prospects

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Threshers Quotables: Art Charles speaks on Clearwater’s struggles

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, May 07, 2014 02:41 PM Comments: 0

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Art Charles with Lakewood in 2013, Image- Jay Floyd

Despite finding themselves victorious in each of their past two contests, the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers possess the worst record in professional baseball with a 7-22 mark.

Thus far this year, the Threshers have struggled to find a groove and string together anything that could help the team build confidence or show any indication that they are a club that could bounce back and rise in the Florida State League standings.

Following 10 days without a victory, the Threshers busted out of a winless drought this week, downing the Brevard Country Manatees (Milwaukee affiliate), who had served Clearwater a 20-0 defeat the week prior, for back-to-back wins.

Art Charles, the Threshers’ first baseman, took time this week to offer his thoughts on the team’s struggles and dismal opening month to the 2014 campaign. The six-foot-six 220-pounder, who was acquired from Toronto last year for pitcher Michael Schwimer, spoke about the mental impact the team has dealt with, the coaches’ outlook and what the future holds for the team.

Charles is one of seven Threshers offensive regulars that sports a batting average lower than a .240 mark.  Thus far this season, Charles is batting .237 with four doubles, one home run and 11 RBI in 26 games.

Read ahead for exclusive quotes from the 23-year-old slugger.

-With the struggles the Threshers have had on the field thus far this season, how are the players dealing with having such a tough time winning?

As you know people deal with adversity and things differently. I can’t really speak on how others are dealing with the struggles so far this season besides the fact that day in and day out WE are still working really hard to improve OUR game. Our record may not be where we want it to be right now, but we are still grinding everyday like a championship team does. For me, it’s all about staying strong mentally, having a short memory, and focusing in the moment one pitch at a time. I feel that if you do that for nine innings, whether on defense or offense, you will have competed the whole game and left it all on the field. These are all important especially when things aren’t going your way because it becomes easy to lose focus and dwell on the negative. I believe we have a good team but we haven’t showed it yet. We will bounce back and start playing better.

-A 20-0 loss…does that get under guys’ skin more than a normal 4-3 or 6-4 loss? How have you guys tried to bounce back from that as well as the lengthy winless streaks?

A 20-0 loss will mess with you no matter who you are, but it’s about what you do after something like that, that will dictate the rest of your season. You can either let that get to you and continue to lose in that fashion or you can pull it together, regroup, and prove to everyone, including yourself, that you are better than that. It was a rough game and season for us thus far but that is just the first month. We aren’t the team that we showed in April. I believe we are better than that and the constant work that we put in everyday shows it. Like I said earlier, we have been working on our work and are determined to be better. Continue reading Threshers Quotables: Art Charles speaks on Clearwater’s struggles

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PN Celebrity Series Preview: Cliff Compton

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, April 29, 2014 08:00 AM Comments: 1

cliffFrom time to time at Phillies Nation, we afforded the opportunity to talk to some really cool people. Surprisingly, these folks aren’t always Phillies fans. One of the folks I get to speak to on a semi-regular basis at the World Famous Monster Factory is Cliff Compton. Compton is a former WWE superstar, winning the tag team championship as Domino in the tag team Deuce and Domino.

These days, Compton is a star in Ring of Honor, the Monster Factory, and travels the world, competing around the globe. Compton is also the subject of a documentary, The Wrestling Road Diaries Too!, starring himself, The Big LG, and Colt Cabana. Compton is a life-long Mets fan so I hit him up with some rapid fire questions. He gave me his thoughts on the Phillies upcoming two-game set with the Metropolitans.

How’d you become a Mets fan?

Compton: Grew up on Long Island about 20 minutes from Shea Stadium in Flushing, Queens!! I fell in love with the Mets in 1986.

Favorite memories of Shea Stadium?

Compton: Shea Stadium was huge!! Held around 56,000. Great vibe in that place. Continue reading PN Celebrity Series Preview: Cliff Compton

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BlueClaws Quotables: Legg, Connell and Viza Speak

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, April 28, 2014 07:30 AM Comments: 0

This weekend I spoke with Class A Lakewood manager Greg Legg about several of his players.  I also got insight from BlueClaws hitting coach Lino Connell on the Phillies’ supplementary round (39th overall) draft choice from 2011 Larry Greene Jr.’s progress this year and the team’s best hitter thus far, Willians Astudillo.  Additionally, righty pitching prospect Tyler Viza spoke on how he stays focused and more.  Read ahead for all those quotes.

 

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Lakewood manager Greg Legg, Image- Jay Floyd

Greg Legg-

Asked about how fans might be wondering when Larry Greene Jr. (.176/.237/.241 in 15 games this year) is going to show and prove why he was the Phils’ top draft choice three years ago…

“Well, this would be a good year for him to do it.  Kinda expect it.  Right now, he hurt his wrist, so his wrist has been bothering him.  He hurt it on a diving play out in the outfield.  So, he’s a little banged up right now.  He’s shown some signs of all that earlier in the season.  The numbers aren’t there yet.  He got off to a pretty good start.  He’s hit a couple balls good and they haven’t found holes.  But, this wuld be a good year to do it.  I hope his wrist’s okay.”

On third base prospect Zach Green‘s hip injury that led to his demotion to the extended spring training roster…

“We got good news.  He’s not hurt as bad as we thought.  He went and saw a doctor.  He’s okay.  We’re making sure…it’s early in the season.  We think a lot of Zach Green.  We’re making sure he’s okay.  We’re protecting him a little bit.  He would try to play.  We’re trying to get him 100-percent.”

On second baseman Andrew Pullin, a 5th round pick in 2012 who is off to a slow start, posting a .211/.299/.276 slash line in 22 games…

“Well he’s hit a lot of balls hard that haven’t shown up in the box score as hits.  Especially the last few games.  he’s been smoking some balls right at people.  And he hit a homer the other day.  He had another (one) well hit that the guy’s played up against the fence (Thursday) night.  So, I look for him to kind of keep doing what he’s been doing and the ball’s he’s hit will find some holes and that average will go up.” Continue reading BlueClaws Quotables: Legg, Connell and Viza Speak

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PN Interview: 3B Prospect Zach Green

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, April 26, 2014 03:00 PM Comments: 0

Zach Green, Image- Jay Floyd

Third base prospect Zach Green was selected by the Phillies in the third round of the 2012 draft out of Jesuit High School in California.  Since then, the six-foot-three 205-pounder has shown great potential and has impressed many.

After signing his first professional contract in 2012, Green sported a .284 average with three home runs and 21 RBI in 47 games with the Gulf Coast League Phillies.

Last season, as a 19-year-old in the Class A short-season New York-Penn League, Green led the league in homers (13), doubles (20) and runs scored (52) while batting .252 and driving in 41 runs in 74 games with the Williamsport Crosscutters.

Through 15 contests this season with Class A Lakewood, Green was off to a slow start, posting a .186 batting average with two doubles, four RBI and three steals.  A right hip injury put Green out of action and a roster move was made, demoting the 20-year-old to extended spring training.  A reversal of the transaction could be made sooner than the required seven days if he had been placed on the disabled list.

I spoke with Zach this week about the ailment, his draft experience, representing the ‘Cutters as an All-Star and plenty more.  Read ahead for that full interview.

-What can you tell me about your hip injury and the roster move that came along with it?

It’s like a nerve issue and nothing serious.  I think they just put me on the (extended spring) roster so they didn’t have to burn a DL…be on there for seven days and maybe I can come back the fifth or sixth day.  It’s kind of like they’re just giving me rest and it’s one of those things I was playing from the beginning of spring training so they want to just make sure it’s fully healed before I go back on the field.

-So is it still possible that you’re back more quickly than seven days?

Anything is possible at this point.

-What’s the severity of the issue?  You said you were playing with it for a while.  When did the pain become too great to play?

About last week- last Saturday, the game in Hagerstown.  It really hurt and that’s why I got scratched right before game time on Monday. Continue reading PN Interview: 3B Prospect Zach Green

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Minors Notes & Quotes: Rupp, Dugan Injured, RHP Viza Speaks, More Transactions

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, April 15, 2014 08:00 AM Comments: 0

Monday was a busy day for roster moves in the Phillies’ organization.  On top of the news that Mike Adams would return to the Phillies at the expense of Luis Garcia being sent down to Triple-A, there were several notable transactions announced throughout the system.

Cameron Rupp, Image- Jay Floyd

Top catching prospect Cameron Rupp was placed on the disabled list with a strained oblique suffered in Sunday’s game.  The 25-year-old was batting .231 with four homers and eight RBI in nine games with the Triple-A IronPigs.  Sebastian Valle was promoted to Lehigh Valley from Double-A Reading to fill the void.

Other backstop moves: Chad Carman promoted to the Reading roster from Class A Advanced Clearwater, Deivi Grullon activated for Clearwater from extended spring training.

Also placed on the disabled list with an oblique strain for Lehigh Valley was infielder Andres Blanco.  The 30-year-old infielder was batting .273 with one RBI in nine contests in the young season.

Reading outfielder Kelly Dugan, who was hit on the left hand with a pitch on Sunday, tweeted on Monday evening that X-rays were negative and he expects to be out of action for a week.  The 23-year-old was hitting .233 with a home run and four RBI through 10 games. Continue reading Minors Notes & Quotes: Rupp, Dugan Injured, RHP Viza Speaks, More Transactions

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BlueClaws Quotables: Manager Greg Legg Talks New Season

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, April 13, 2014 08:00 PM Comments: 4

Lakewood manager Greg Legg, Image- Jay Floyd

Earlier this weekend, I sat down with Class A Lakewood manager Greg Legg, who has been in the Phillies organization for the past 33 years, after being drafted by the club in 1982.  He managed the BlueClaws in their inaugural season in 2001, managed Double-A Reading from 2002 to 2004, was the skipper for Class A Advanced Clearwater from 2005 through 2006 and managed short-season Class A Williamsport in 2007.  He then acted as hitting coach in Lakewood from 2008 through 2013.

The former infielder played in the big leagues for just a handful of games in 1986 and 1987.  He now grooms the Phillies’ stars of the future.

Greg spoke with me about the roles of some of his players including Gabriel Lino, Carlos Tocci, Samuel Hiciano and Willians Astudillo, the BlueClaws’ start to the new season, his own goals for this year plus plenty more. Read ahead for his thoughts.

-The team started the season on the road before having its opening home stand this weekend.  What were your thoughts on how the team opened the season, winning two of six contests?

For what happened on the road, we played pretty good baseball.  We could have won five of the six.  J.P. (Crawford) missed two games.  He could have been the difference in at least one of them.  But, I thought we played pretty good ball on the road trip.

-The BlueClaws have just a small amount of returning names this year.  What can you tell me about how you expect those guys to help the team this year?

Well, (Carlos) Tocci was so young last year, he almost had to come back here this year and he should patrol center field for us pretty good and get the job done out there.  And we’re hoping he’s a little stronger, he’s a bit heavier- six or seven pounds heavier- so far, he’s swung the bat really good.  He hasn’t gotten much results for it, but he’s driven some balls better than last season.  I look for him to have a pretty good year.  Larry Greene got out of the gate slow last year, joined us (late) and didn’t have the year that he wanted and he’s back here repeating and, hopefully, this year he’ll have a nice season for us. Continue reading BlueClaws Quotables: Manager Greg Legg Talks New Season

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