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Posts Tagged ‘Spring Training’

Watson, Cooper to Make Up For Missed Time in Florida Instructional League

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, September 17, 2013 08:00 AM Comments: 0

Shane Watson, Image- Jay Floyd

The Florida Instructional League will provide an opportunity for a pair of Lakewood hurlers that were sidelined with injuries this summer to make up for some missed time. Shane Watson and Zach Cooper will be among the Phillies prospects spending time in Clearwater at “instructs” over the next several weeks.  The pair will be able to put themselves on display for organizational coaches and brass while they take strides to excel and bounce back from injuries that forced them to miss time this year.

Watson, who has been sidelined since early July with shoulder inflammation, saw a specialist on Monday and was cleared to begin a throwing program.  The 20-year-old was the Phillies’ top selection (40th overall) in last year’s amateur draft out of Lakewood High School in California.

In 15 starts this season for the Class A BlueClaws, the six-foot-four 200-pounder posted a 4-6 record with a 4.75 ERA and a .230 batting average against.

The hard throwing righty is quite excited for his impending return to the mound but has a fair grasp of the slow type of progress he’ll need to make before actually facing live competition.

“I’ll probably start throwing (on) the 18th and then I should, hopefully, get an inning or two in the instructs.  But, if I don’t, it’s no big deal.  I’ll go home for a little bit and then come back out there to get stronger early for spring training,” Watson said on the most recent edition of the PhoulBallz Podcast. Continue reading Watson, Cooper to Make Up For Missed Time in Florida Instructional League

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Phillies Officially Sign Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, August 30, 2013 03:57 PM Comments: 15

MAG signs. (Philly.com)

After many weeks of questions, the Phillies have finally sealed the deal on free agent Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. The team announced they’ve reached a three-year, $12 million deal with the 26-year-old. The contract includes a vesting/club option for 2017, a signing bonus and performance bonuses.

Several weeks back, it appeared they had inked him to a six-or-seven year pact, however, the organization never acknowledged Gonzalez. Then, there are questions. Why did it take so long to sign the deal? What was the cause of the major drop in dollars from the first reported contract to the one he settled on?

There had been a report that health concerns popped up pertaining to his elbow.

“We are very pleased to have come to an agreement with Miguel,” said Amaro.  “He is someone our scouts have followed for several years and in our most recent observations of him he showed tremendous stuff.  We are hopeful he will pitch out of our starting rotation for 2014 and beyond.”

Gonzalez will report to the Phillies spring training complex in Clearwater, Fla.  To make room for him on the 40-man roster, left-hander John Lannan has been moved to the 60-day disabled list.

As of this writing, there has been no plan to pitch him in the majors just yet, although he figures to be a member of the Phillies rotation in 2014. This could end up being good news, as the free agent crop of starters is relatively thin and filled with 30-somethings.

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Reading’s Murphy Increases Versatility with Time in Outfield

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, August 29, 2013 01:30 PM Comments: 4

Jim Murphy, Image- Jay Floyd

With the Phillies’ decision to try Double-A third base prospect Maikel Franco at first base recently a bit of a dilemma with how to use slugger Jim Murphy arose.  The 27-year-old Eastern League All-Star has held down first base at several levels of the minors since he was drafted by the Phillies out of Washington State University in 2008.

Murphy, who is among the league leaders in home runs (22) and RBI (81) was without a spot in the Reading Fightin Phillies’ lineup against National League affiliated opponents down the stretch, as teams do not use a designated hitter in those match ups.

Some luck came Murphy’s way this week when a lineup spot abruptly vacated by outfielder Kelly Dugan, who was a late scratch on Tuesday, left an opening for Murphy.  The righty batter has never given up on his dreams of climbing all the way up the developmental ladder, despite seemingly being provided with limited opportunities at times.

“The Phillies want Franco to get some games in at first and (manager Dusty Wathan) wanted me to stay in the lineup for National League games, so I worked out there for a few days,” Murphy stated.  “Don’t know what the future will hold for me in the outfield but it would add value to myself to have a secondary position. It was fun to be out there.” Continue reading Reading’s Murphy Increases Versatility with Time in Outfield

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Lakewood’s Watson Shut Down for Rest of Season

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, August 11, 2013 07:01 PM Comments: 0

Shane Watson, Image- Jay Floyd

Last year’s top Phillies draft pick Shane Watson has been sidelined with shoulder issues since early July. Following an MRI this past week, the Phils have shut down the righty hurler, who turns 20-years-old on Tuesday.

Initially, the time off was prescribed for the Class A Lakewood hurler without an MRI when the he was experiencing shoulder fatigue, following his July 4th start against Greensboro. Now, after having a complete exam and being diagnosed with shoulder inflammation, the six-foot-four 200-pounder will continue to rehab at the Phillies’ spring training facility in Clearwater, FL until the fall instructional league begins in September.  Plans are for Watson to take part in “instructs” as an active pitcher, to make up for some innings he’ll have missed this season.

Watson is not discouraged by the manner in which his season ended, despite having hoped for another crack at South Atlantic League competition this year.

“I’m not disappointed. I’m really excited to come back stronger than when I left,” Watson said on Sunday. Continue reading Lakewood’s Watson Shut Down for Rest of Season

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LHP Prospect Johnson Proving to be a Great Gamble

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, July 21, 2013 06:42 PM Comments: 1

Jay Johnson‘s promotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley last week was something that at least three other big league organizations thought could never happen.  Now, as he ascends to the top in the Phillies’ developmental ranks, the left-handed reliever is just a step from the big leagues and has proved many people wrong.

Drafted twice, Johnson was turned away by the Orioles and Blue Jays, after being selected by those teams in 2009 and 2010 respectively, due to concerns raised with his elbow during physical examinations.  In both instances, the team and player had come to terms on a financial agreement, but the offers were rescinded following the discovery of bone spurs and loose chips in his joint.

The following year the New Brunswick, Canada native worked out for the Mariners at their spring training home in Arizona.  It had reached the point where Johnson was no longer concerned with a monetary agreement, but he instead was willing to sign for much less.  He simply wanted the chance to wear a pro uniform.

“I went out with the Mariners to just try and play and I said, ‘I just want to play.  Just let me get a jersey,’” Johnson explained in a recent interview.  “They failed my physical and I wasn’t even asking for anything then.”

After that third letdown Johnson’s college coach, Brian Kubicek, who greatly wanted to see Johnson succeed as a professional, made a phone call to an old friend, Phillies senior advisor to the general manager Pat GillickContinue reading LHP Prospect Johnson Proving to be a Great Gamble

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PN Interview: Phils Director of Player Development Joe Jordan

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, July 08, 2013 08:00 AM Comments: 0

Joe Jordan, photo- Jay Floyd

On Sunday, prior to Reading’s game in Trenton, I spent some time chatting with Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan regarding as many subjects as I could, before I felt like I might be keeping him from something important on his chiming cell phone.  The topics included the Maikel Franco and Cody Asche 3rd base prospect jam, lefty hurler Adam Morgan‘s upcoming return to action, the possibility of moving Brody Colvin out of the Reading rotation again, and much more.

Read ahead for my interview with Joe Jordan…

- Outfielder Kelly Dugan joined the Double-A Reading team this weekend and looks to be very deserving of the promotion.  How about his 2013?

Kelly’s done really well.  You know, he came- he had a wonderful spring training and had an oblique pull right at the end of camp and so he didn’t get to break camp with the club.  But ever since he’s gotten back on the field, he’s done nothing except hit and he’s played good in the outfield.  It’s been a real solid year for him, that’s why he’s here.

- Former first round draft pick Zach Collier has had some offensive struggles at Double-A this year after an outstanding Arizona Fall League last year.  What’s the outlook for Zach?

Yeah, again, it’s been a disappointment for him and, you know, the one thing he’s done is he’s played good defense.  You know, he has helped the club in that regard, he’s done a good job.  He’s a better hitter than he’s shown and we’re just going to ride him out.  We’re going to keep putting him in the lineup every day and at some point in time- (Saturday) was a good day.  Hopefully, he can have a couple, two, three in a row and, really, for me, it’s all about having a good July and and a good August.  You know, to hell with overall numbers.  Let’s just have a good couple months and go from there. Continue reading PN Interview: Phils Director of Player Development Joe Jordan

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Fightins Quotables: Wathan Speaks on Biddle, Wright, Franco, Gillies and more

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, July 05, 2013 08:00 AM Comments: 0

I sat down with Double-A Reading manager Dusty Wathan on Thursday to chat about several key names in the Phillies’ developmental ranks.  Among the topics of discussion were top Phils prospect lefty pitcher Jesse Biddle, fast rising third base prospect Maikel Franco, struggling left-handed starter Austin Wright and outfielder Tyson Gillies, who earned a promotion from Reading to Triple-A Lehigh Valley this week.

Read ahead for all the quotes, plus some bonus Fightins related news blurbs at the end…

- Lefty pitcher Jesse Biddle has now gone eight straight starts without a win.  As good as Jesse is, can this sort of stretch be disruptive or discouraging for a young player?

Well, I think a lot of times, every year you can look and see one guy who pitches well and doesn’t get the wins to show for how well he’s pitched.  And a lot of it comes down to run support.  It’s a difficult situation sometimes, but it’s just, every year it seems like one of the guys in the rotation has trouble getting runs scored for him and Jesse seems to be that guy this year.  He’s a guy- obviously, he’s a huge competitor who wants to win, but in the long run, as long as he’s making improvements every start and getting himself better as we go…the wins are always nice as a ball club, but I tell these guys that if we don’t win any games and everybody gets better, then we’ve done our job. 

(To see Biddle shut down rehabbing Yankees player Eduardo Nunez in three at bats, click here.)

- Maikel Franco‘s joined the club here and has had some really good success, batting .407 in 14 games with four homers.  Clearly, he’s taken some big strides.  I wanted to ask if you saw him in spring training to remark about the difference between then and now and just your thoughts on his progress.


Yeah, I didn’t really get a change to see him a whole lot in spring.  A couple games, but nothing over an extended period of time.  I saw him play in instructional league a couple years ago and, obviously, he’s a kid that’s developed into a pretty good pure hitter, I think.  He’s got some power, obviously.  But, I think the thing you see in him is that he goes up there and young hitters a lot of times they’ll have a tendency to go up there and chase pitch after pitch out of the zone or make the same mistake twice.  He doesn’t tend to do that.  He’ll make the adjustment in the middle of his at bat.  Continue reading Fightins Quotables: Wathan Speaks on Biddle, Wright, Franco, Gillies and more

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Biddle, Franco To Represent Phils in Futures Game

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, June 26, 2013 05:25 PM Comments: 0

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-13WKCL2jqtg/UTOqZrUyKgI/AAAAAAAAJYY/Qh_kh1dkHpw/s320/MaikelFranco4.bmp

Franco’s, seen here in 2012, 2013 performance has put him in the MLB Futures Game. Photo by Jay Floyd

Lefty Jesse Biddle and third baseman Maikel Franco have been selected to play in the 15th Annual MLB Futures Game at Citi Field on Sunday, July 14. Biddle with pitch for the US squad while Franco will represent the World team.

Biddle, 21, has a 3.29 ERA in 14 starts, with a 1.197 WHIP. The jump from High-A Clearwater to Double-A Reading has not phased Germantown Friends’ Biddle: Biddle has increased his strikeouts per 9 IP by almost a full K in 2013. Biddle hasn’t be as efficient as he was last year limiting walks but his 1.197 WHIP is a career-low and his 91 Ks leads the Eastern League.

Franco, 20, has clubbed his way to Double-A after hitting a career-high 16 home runs in just 288 PAs for High-A Clearwater. Franco posted a career-high triple-slash in that time period (.299/.347/.576) and combined it with excellent glove work. Franco’s early performance with Reading has been awesome: Franco is hitting .524/.545/.952 in his first 22 PA with two homers.

Analysis: Biddle is one of the top lefties in the Eastern League right now and his consistency as a 21-year old has scouts salivating.

Franco has used a solid frame to square up on balls and send them over the wall, conquering High-A in his first trip in about 1/3 of a season. Franco was ranked #42 overall in Baseball Prospectus’ mid-season Top 50 list and Danny Knobler of CBS passed this note along Monday on Twitter:

It is a relative long shot but both could see time with the Phillies in late 2014 if they continue to develop at this rapid pace. Keep them in mind during Spring Training 2015.

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Phillies Continue to Sign Draft Picks

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, June 15, 2013 08:00 AM Comments: 0

The Phillies continued locking in last week’s draft picks on Friday as the team came to terms with their second round pick Andrew Knapp and officially announced the signing of their third round selection Cord Sandberg.

Knapp, taken 53rd overall, is a switch-hitting 21-year-old. The University of California product led the Golden Bears in batting average this year with a .350 mark while mashing eight homers with 41 RBI. Knapp’s deal is said to be for $1.03 million.

Reports last week stating that Sandberg has signed almost immediately for the amount of $775,000 seemed to be fully on point as the amount proved accurate with details released by the Phils.

High school prep catcher Jake Sweaney, who was selected in the 4th round with the 121st pick out of Garces Memorial High School in California, signed for a reported $400,000.

Other signees include 25th rounder Cody Forsythe, a lefty pitcher out of Southern Illinois.  In his senior season this year, the 22-year-old sported a 4-5 record with a 3.03 ERA in 15 games started. Continue reading Phillies Continue to Sign Draft Picks

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Time To Change the Revere Narrative

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Fri, June 14, 2013 12:00 PM Comments: 48

http://cmsimg.courierpostonline.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=BZ&Date=20130614&Category=SPORTS01&ArtNo=306140036&Ref=AR&MaxW=640&Border=0&Despite-ugly-effort-Phillies-find-way-win

Revere’s legs put the Phillies ahead for good yesterday. Photo Credit: Jesse Johnson

Ben Revere was traded to the Phillies on December 6, 2012 for popular, but injury-bitten starter Vance Worley and former top prospect Trevor May. Revere came to the Phillies fresh off a 2012 where he hit .294/.333/.342 with 40 steals in 49 attempts as a 24-year old player. Revere combined those stats with excellent play in center and right fields for the Twins, stunning crowds with his glove and winning MLB Network’s GIBBY Award.

After an exciting Spring Training where Revere hit .326/.368/.382 with 10 steals in 13 attempts, the Phillies looked like they were getting exactly the player they traded for, except that maybe he was even better, with a year more experience.

You wouldn’t believe that if you read the opinion of fans: here, here, here, here, etc. Some of those comments came in the middle of a four hit game last night, where Revere was almost single-handedly responsible for the game winning run, using his speed to bunt for a base hit, go first to third, and then take home on a ground ball to first base. All of them came during Revere’s recent tear: since May 5, Revere has hit .321/.362/.376 with nine steals in 11 attempts, raising his average by 62 points in that time frame.

The point being: Ben Revere is exactly who he is supposed to be. And he’s a pretty good ball player. It’s time to change the inaccurate narrative surrounding him among Phillies fans.

Continue reading Time To Change the Revere Narrative

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