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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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PN Interview: OF Prospect Dylan Cozens

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, April 12, 2014 07:30 AM Comments: 0

Dylan Cozens, image- MiLB.com

Taken with the Phillies 2nd round draft choice in 2012, Dylan Cozens has been an impressive young player since joining the organization.

In 50 games with the Gulf Coast League team after signing his first pro contract, the Arizona native sported a .255 average with five home runs and 24 RBI.

Last year with short-season Class A Williamsport the six-foot-six 235-pounder tallied a .265 average with nine homers and 35 homers in 68 games.

Assigned to a full-season club for the first time in his career, the 19-year-old Cozens will man right field for Greg Legg‘s Class A Lakewood BlueClaws this year.  Through a week of the season, the lefty batting power hitter is batting .278 with two doubles and four runs driven in.

This week I spoke with Dylan about being drafted, his progress thus far as a pro, his coaches and more.  Read ahead for that full interview with the Phils’ 19th ranked prospect.

-When you were drafted by the Phillies back in 2012, how were you tracking it and how did you celebrate?

I just watched on the computer, the day of the draft.  I went out to a sports bar afterwards, had a bunch of people come out and celebrate and it was a good time.  Pretty much anybody that was close to me could come on and come celebrate with me, so it was friends and family.

-Were you expecting the Phillies to be the team that drafted you or were they a surprise?

I was kind of expecting it.  It was them and a couple other teams that I was pretty sure would be one of those three teams.  So, the Phillies, I felt pretty strong about them. Continue reading PN Interview: OF Prospect Dylan Cozens

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PN Interview: OF Prospect Cameron Perkins

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, April 05, 2014 07:30 AM Comments: 1

Cam Perkins, Image- Jay Floyd

In a short amount of time, outfielder Cameron Perkins has made a name for himself in the Phils system.  The 23-year-old is among the Double-A Reading Fightins starting outfield less than two years after he was drafted in the 6th round out of Purdue University.

Upon debuting in the minors, Perkins batted .294 with a home run and 41 RBI in 72 combined games with the Gulf Coast League Phillies and short-season Class A Williamsport in 2012.

Last year, despite missing some time with Class A Advanced Clearwater due to an injury, the six-foot-five 195 pound righty hitter posted a .295 average with six homers and 53 RBI in 103 contests.

This week, I spoke with Cam, who shared his thoughts on his quick progress as a pro, his coaching staff with Reading, his strengths as a player and plenty more.  Read ahead for that full interview.

-What are your thoughts on starting out your second full pro season in the Eastern League at the Double-A level?

You know, I’m excited. I mean, as long as you’re climbing the ladder and not going backwards, or what everyone says, if you’re steadily moving up, it’s good.  I’m excited to be here.  It looks like a fun town.  I’m used to playing in cold weather, being from up north, so that’s not gonna effect me too much, I feel like.  And it looks like it’ll be a lot of fun.

-Last year in Clearwater, you had a good season down there.  What can you share about your time playing in the Florida State League?

It was a pretty solid year.  You know, I would have liked to win more games, but I feel like that’s (the same) with anyone.  Offensively, I came to play and I had a lot of things go my way.  I hit some balls hard, had some good swings.  Besides breaking my wrist and being out for that time, I couldn’t have asked for a better season.   Continue reading PN Interview: OF Prospect Cameron Perkins

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Jesse’s Journal, Vol. 3: Still positive after being reassigned to minors

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, March 14, 2014 01:15 PM Comments: 0

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Jesse Biddle, Image- Jay Floyd

We continue on with our running series of interviews with top Phils pitching prospect Jesse Biddle, whose time with the big league team in spring training came to a close last week when he was reassigned to the minors.

Biddle, who was the Phils’ top draft choice (27th overall) in 2010, represented the organization in the MLB All-Star Futures Game last year. Now, Biddle is setting his sights on a 2014 big league debut and has tried to absorb as much as he can in order to get better each day.

In Grapefruit League action, Biddle allowed four earned runs in three innings over two appearances.  After his first spring start this week, Biddle provided his thoughts on several topics including the type of feedback he was given upon being sent down, his feelings on his time in big league camp, who he learned from and much more.

Read ahead for the latest from Jesse.

Sharing his thoughts on being reassigned to minor league spring training last week…

I was just really happy that I was able to compete at that level and take part in a big league spring training and get my first one under my belt, but I’ve got more coming up.  The fact is, you know, there are a lot of guys in front of me on the depth chart as a starter that have to get ready for their season with the Phillies and I was told from the beginning that I wasn’t going to break camp with the team, so it’s just nice to be able to go back down to minor league camp and get my innings in and get my work in every day. 

On if there was any displeasure with the timing and if he thought he would stay with the big league club longer…

I mean, the fact is that they were only letting me go one or two innings because that’s how many innings they had available for me or some of the other guys, so I’m not necessarily displeased with the timing, in a weird way.  The sooner they sent me down, the earlier I’d be able to get my work in and get me back up there. Continue reading Jesse’s Journal, Vol. 3: Still positive after being reassigned to minors

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PN Interview: Curt Simmons

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, March 12, 2014 08:00 AM Comments: 6

Yesterday, I had the privilege of meeting with legendary Phillies’ left-handed pitcher Curt Simmons. I met with Simmons, a native of Egypt, PA, at his home and discussed, at length, the 1950 Whiz Kids, his roots in the Lehigh Valley, and the Phillies Nation Top 100 countdown.

The full-length interview will air on an upcoming television program by FireRock Productions, a multiple-time Emmy and ADDY-winning production company in the Lehigh Valley. Some of the excerpts below, and much more, will appear in a project Pat Gallen and I are working on.

We do not want to give the whole interview away, as we shot a ton of footage with Mr. Simmons, but I thought it would be neat to share some of Simmons’ thoughts on some of his teammates he played with that also made the Phillies Nation Top 100. For those keeping track at home, Simmons ranked #17 on our countdown.

You will want to stay tuned for the full interview where Simmons and I talk about what it was like to play for Babe Ruth against a team managed by Ty Cobb, having to leave the Phillies in September 1950, and what it was like to be on the Cardinals in 1964, chasing down the Phillies just a few years after the Phillies cut him loose.

Continue reading PN Interview: Curt Simmons

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Jesse’s Journal, Vol 2: Getting Veteran Advice, Compliments From Halladay

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, February 28, 2014 07:30 AM Comments: 7

Jesse Biddle, Image- Jay Floyd

With the spring exhibition season underway, top Phillies pitching prospect Jesse Biddle took time this week to share his thoughts from inside big league spring training.

Biddle, who was the Phils’ top draft choice (27th overall) in 2010, represented the organization in the MLB All-Star Futures Game last year.  Now, in his first time in big league camp, Biddle looks to leave a solid impression on coaches and team brass as he targets a Major League  debut this year.

This week, Biddle pitched against his Phillies teammates, as they competed in an intrasquad game.  The outing wasn’t very successful for the 22-year-old, but he took some positives out of surrendering hits to the likes of Ryan Howard, Ben Revere, Kevin Frandsen and others, while showing that he’s capable of competing at this level but striking out Marlon Byrd and Cody Asche.

Biddle talked about the silver lining of a rough appearance, Phillies spring instructor Larry Andersen, being complimented by Roy Halladay and much more.  Read ahead for our latest exclusive entry from Jesse.

On pitching against veteran players in the Phillies’ intrasquad game this week-

“The experience was great.  It was a pretty awesome moment.  You had a guy like Ben Revere leading off, uh, Chooch batting second.  That’s a really cool lineup and we have a lot of really good talent, obviously.  It’s nice to be able to compete against those guys.  Numbers wise, I gave up a few singles and some hits, but I was really happy with my ability to throw strikes and attack the zone.  I left a couple pitches up to some really, really good hitters and that’s what happens, so it’s just a learning process.”

On the feedback that some of the opposition in that game shared with him-

“I got some feedback from Ryan Howard and Kevin Frandsen, among some others guys, and, you know, they were just talking to me about some little mechanical things that they saw, that they were able to pick up on some different pitches.  The kind of stuff that, you know, you have to learn those things and learn those little nuances that help you become a big league pitcher. Continue reading Jesse’s Journal, Vol 2: Getting Veteran Advice, Compliments From Halladay

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Stairs gives insight into new job,’08 NLCS homer, Olympic hockey and, of course, the Wing Bowl

Posted by Kenny Ayres, Fri, February 21, 2014 08:45 PM Comments: 6

Earlier today, my co-hosts and I had the honor of talking with new Phillies color commentator Matt Stairs on our radio show. The former Phillie, legendary for his home run off Jonathan Broxton in the 2008 NLCS, opened up about his new broadcasting position, his opinions of the 2014 team and his classic homer, throwing in some other odds and ends along the way.

 (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Excerpts from the interview can be read below, with the questions to him in bold and his answers in quotes. (By the way, there is no question he is going to be the humor-man in the booth)

Before we get into things, the Canada-U.S.A. game just ended and I know you are a big hockey fan. Did you catch the game at all?

“You know what actually I missed the [women’s] game yesterday for the gold, and I missed it again today because I’m on my way down to Clearwater for baseball spring training and I decided to drive down. I’ll park somewhere on Sunday to watch the finals.”

Do you like Canada against Sweden? Sweden has been pretty good so far.

“So has U.S.A. U.S.A. was an awful tough team and I followed on Twitter as much as I could. It should be a good battle. It definitely was a big win for Canada, it gave us some confidence going against the powerhouse United States team.”

You mentioned you are on the way to Clearwater, where you and Jamie Moyer will start as two new broadcasters this year. Are you excited to finally get things going?

“I’m very excited. It should be a blast. It’s going to be different at first for both Jamie and I because we have never really done this before. It’s probably going to take a couple of innings to get used to it but we are both guys that have been around the game for a long time and know the game well. Jamie is more of a straight level guy that is straight to the point, I’m the type of guy that is going to be the comic relief in the booth and have fun with it, and be straight as well. I’m going to tell the people what is going on and that’s what it should be. That’s what the listeners deserve to hear.”

Continue reading Stairs gives insight into new job,’08 NLCS homer, Olympic hockey and, of course, the Wing Bowl

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