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Posts Tagged ‘Spring Training’

Former Top Draft Pick Greene Working Out the Kinks in Lakewood

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, June 06, 2013 02:45 PM Comments: 4

Larry Greene Jr., Photo- Jay Floyd

When he was taken with their first pick in the 2011 draft, Larry Greene Jr. was billed as the Phillies’ power source of the future.  Two years later, the Valdosta, GA native has just a pair of home runs as a pro and none above the short-season rookie level.  A lack of ability to put the ball beyond the outfield walls hasn’t soured the organization on the youngster, as coaches and organizational brass are still confident he can develop into the type of offensive threat they thought he could be, when they drafted him two years ago.

After beginning last season in extended spring training, Greene would man left field for the Williamsport Crosscutters, batting .272 while lacing two home runs and driving in 26 runs in 70 games.  Over the off-season, time spent with a newborn at home seemed to prevent the young slugger from keeping up with his workout routine and he showed up to spring training less fit than the team liked and he was kept in extended spring training, once again, to open the 2013 season, in order to work off some weight.

Since being assigned to Class A Lakewood in late April, the 6-foot tall 235-pounder is struggling with his average, batting .183 with five doubles, a triple, no home runs and 14 RBI.  Faced with troubling offensive stats, most glaringly, his lack of power, Greene is staying focused on improving his game, although he’s not as disappointed with the homer totals as others might be.

“I really don’t think about home runs,” Greene said in an exclusive interview.  “I just try to hit the ball hard and I’ll take hits all day, a home run don’t really matter to me.  Right now, I just want to improve and get better every day.  But, when it comes, it’ll come.” Continue reading Former Top Draft Pick Greene Working Out the Kinks in Lakewood

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PN Interview: Gorm Heimueller Talks Phils Pitching Prospects

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, May 30, 2013 08:00 AM Comments: 0

GormH

Gorm Heimueller

I spent some time this week chatting with the Phillies minor league pitching coordinator Gorman Heimueller, who offered his thoughts on several talented young hurlers in the Phils’ system.

Heimueller, who has been the Phils’ minor league pitching coordinator since 2002, pitched 14 seasons as a pro, including parts of two with the Athletics. Prior to his current position, Heimueller was a pitching coach at the Double-A and Triple-A level for the Phillies.

Gorm shared his opinions on several prospects including Brody Colvin, Austin Wright, Shane Watson, Jake Diekman and he even danced around a question about when Phils fans might expect to see Phillippe Aumont back with the big club after his recent demotion to Triple-A.  Read ahead for the full interview.

- Austin Wright’s been a guy that missed some time with an injury and has allowed a lot of runs in his two starts (0-2, 22.22 ERA) with Reading since being activated.  Is there much concern with him after those difficult outings?

Actually, he started spring training in great shape, throwing the ball really good.  Then he complained of a little shoulder tightness and he went up to Reading, and I think it was bothering him a little more, so we brought him down to Clearwater.  He’s healthy now.  He’s gonna get back to where he was the last couple years.  He was looking forward to a really good year in Reading, which, there’s still a lot of time and the bottom line now is he’s healthy, so we’ll get him back to where he was.

- I wanted to ask you about Brody Colvin.  I know last year he was switched to the bullpen for a short stretch, just to work on some things or straighten things out mentally, then returned to the rotation.  This year, he’s back to relieving.  What is the future for Brody?

Well, Brody is by far, I mean he’s much improved over last year…his command of all three of his pitches.  He came into camp in great shape and was throwing the ball real well.  And I think it was his groin or hamstring that he strained and missed some time and we wanted to get him back pitching.  At the time, there was no room to start then, but he pitched four innings the other day and we know he’s there to start and it’s a long season, but we wanted to get him back up there to Double-A and start pitching at that level and contributing and he’s pitched real well since he’s come back. Continue reading PN Interview: Gorm Heimueller Talks Phils Pitching Prospects

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Solid Effort For Zambrano in Phils Minors Debut

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, May 29, 2013 08:00 AM Comments: 0

Carlos Zambrano, photo- @BaseballBetsy

Carlos Zambrano continues to try to reestablish himself as an impact pitcher and made his first official minor league appearance for the Phillies on Tuesday.  In 4 1/3 innings, Zambrano threw 81 pitches while allowing no runs on three hits for the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers.  The former Cubs and Marlins pitcher also struck out two and walked two en route to a no decision.

Zambrano did not exhibit any of the traits that have made him one of Major League Baseball’s most notorious characters (examples here and here).  In fact, according the Threshers catcher Logan Moore, who spoke exclusively with PhoulBallz.com following the team’s 3-0 win over Brevard County on Tuesday, Zambrano was a pleasure to deal with.

“It was a real cool experience,” Moore stated.  “He basically told me to call whatever (pitches) I wanted because I knew the hitters and he just threw what I called.” Continue reading Solid Effort For Zambrano in Phils Minors Debut

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PNTV Interview: Australian Pitching Prospect Josh Warner

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, May 20, 2013 12:00 PM Comments: 2

Australian pitcher Josh Warner began the 2013 season as a member of the starting rotation for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. Through six starts, the 20-year-old right-hander posted a 1-3 record along with a 7.50 ERA. Phillies brass decided to reassign Warner to extended spring training so he could make some adjustments to his delivery aimed at enhancing his deception toward hitters.

The Queensland native, who pitches for the Brisbane Bandits in the Australian Baseball League during the off-season, was signed by the Phils as an amateur free agent in 2010. Combined over the past two seasons, since making his affiliated pro debut, Warner has split his time with the Gulf Coast League Phillies, the Williamsport Crosscutters and Lakewood, posting a combined 7-13 record along with a 5.28 ERA.

Early this season I spoke with Josh for Phillies Nation TV, but the interview went unused on the television program. During the interview, Josh spoke about the growth of baseball down under, his time in the ABL and more. Check out the interview in the media player below and tune into Phillies Nation TV every Tuesday at 6 PM on The Comcast Network.

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Time to Get Ruf?

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, May 20, 2013 11:00 AM Comments: 4

Ruf could be on his way if Howard sees the DL. Photo by: Ian Riccaboni

Ruf could be on his way if Howard sees the DL. Photo by: Ian Riccaboni

Ryan Howard is getting a precautionary MRI on his left knee and will likely be out for Monday’s game against the Marlins. John Finger and John Gonzalez of CSNPhilly are saying Howard’s knee, according to Howard, is a day-to-day issue. Of note, however, Howard also said his knee has been bothering him since Spring Training and that it “kicked in a little bit more than normal” on Saturday.

All was going well for IronPigs’ outfielder, and part-time first baseman, Darin Ruf going into May 16. Earlier that week, he got defensive praise from the Phillies Farm Director Joe Jordan, saying “The left-field play has been very good.  It’s not a concern for me. It’s not a concern at all.” And then the bat caught fire: he was suddenly hitting .290/.367/.486 after a slow start with 12 2B and 5 HR in 138 PA heading into the morning of May 16.

It is a shame the Phillies now need a first baseman instead of an outfielder – Ruf would have fit right in. I kid.

Continue reading Time to Get Ruf?

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Gameday: Phillies (20-22) vs. Reds (25-17)

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Sat, May 18, 2013 02:37 PM Comments: 0

Indians_LogoCincinnati Reds (25-17) at Philadelphia Phillies (20-22)

Bronson Arroyo (3-4, 3.76) vs. Kyle Kendrick (4-1, 2.47)

TIME: 4:05, Citizens Bank Park
TV:
Fox
Weather: 70, cloudy
Media: Twitter and Facebook

BIG Z UPDATE: Carlos Zambrano made his debut in extended Spring Training today, throwing two innings, allowing one hit and striking out five. A pretty good return to professional baseball for Big Z.

With last night’s win, this series is already going better for the Phillies than the one they played last month, when the Reds swept them out of Cincinnati. It’s been a struggle to get back to.500 for the Phils, but with ace Kyle Kendrick on the mound, they could actually pull to within one game of that mark for the first time since April 15 when they were 6-7.

Kendrick has pitched at least seven innings and allowed two runs or less in his last four starts, and five of his last six. In fact, since his rocky 2013 debut, he hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any start. Against the Reds, he has posted a career 4.19 ERA, but much of that came when he was a less seasoned pitcher. He hadn’t started against the Reds since July of 2010 before this season when he held them scoreless of seven innings on April 16 in a 1-0 loss. He’ll have his work cut out for him against a Reds lineup that is third in the NL in runs scored.

It’s the rock star, Bronson Arroyo, on the bump for Cincy. Hard to believe the 37-year old is still pitching the way he is, as he’s consistently given the Reds solid seasons over the course of his 30s. But even at 3.76, Arroyo has the highest ERA of any Reds starter. The Phils need to get to this guy. Over the course of his career, Arroyo’s had trouble when facing Philly, posting a 6.00 ERA. Surprisingly, much of that has been done is his home ballparks, as his ERA is a very respectable 3.33 when pitching at CBP.

John Mayberry gets the start in center for the fourth consecutive game, while Erik Kratz gets a look behind the plate.

Lineup: Rollins SS, Utley 2B, M. Young 3B, Howard 1B, D. Young RF, Brown LF, Mayberry CF, Kratz C, Kendrick P

GAMEDAY BEER: Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre

The box on this brew from Dogfish Head proclaims, “American beer of the year!” I’m too lazy to verify whether that’s actually true or not, but I can tell you the Raison D’Etre is one hell of a craft beer. It’s a mahogany ale, brewed with Belgian beer and green raisins. Like most Dogfish Head selections, it’s got a rich flavor and is quite heavy. At 8% alcohol by volume, it’s a great beer to get your night started. Enjoy! – RD

 

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PN Interview: RHP Prospect Nic Hanson

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, May 15, 2013 08:00 AM Comments: 0

Right-handed hurler Nicholas Hanson was selected by the Phillies in the 16th round of last year’s draft.  The Golden West College product had a tough pro debut with the short-season Williamsport Crosscutters, where he sported a 2-3 record with a 7.00 ERA while averaging 5.8 K/9.  This year is a completely different story, however.  In nine outings, Hanson, 21, has tallied a 1-0 record along with a 2.94 ERA and a 7.48 K/9 mark.  Additionally, in his three starts since moving from the bullpen, the 6-foot-7, 210 pounder has allowed just one run.

Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Nic and he spoke about his success, his best friend who is also a player, his offerings on the mound and plenty more. Read ahead for that full interview.

- You’re on a hot streak now and doing very well as a starter after relieving to start the season.  What can you tell me about your early success this season?

I’m just kind of getting used to my new stuff.  I started throwing that sinker now and (pitching coach Aaron Fultz) has really been helping me and we’re watching video a little bit and I’m kind of getting used to my stuff.  That’s basically it, just going out there and learning every time.

- What’s your full pitching repertoire right now?

Right now, four-seam fastball, sinker, slider, change up. 

- You mentioned the new addition of a sinker.  Who initiated that?  How did that come about?

I used to throw it as a little kid.  It was the only way I knew how to throw a fastball, I’d kind of throw it differently than a regular two-seamer.  And I felt like I needed another pitch other than a four-season fastball.  My dad told me, toward the end of spring training, “Why don’t you throw that pitch?”  Continue reading PN Interview: RHP Prospect Nic Hanson

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Minor League Notebook: Morandini Quotes Galore

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, May 05, 2013 10:50 PM Comments: 0

It’s our weekly rundown of notes from the minor leagues.  For the most part, I’ll serve up some quotes from Class A Lakewood manager Mickey Morandini, as I spoke with him on Sunday.

On his BlueClaws team, that sports a 9-20 record, as a whole:

“Even though the record’s not where we want it to be, we’re still seeing a lot of good out there, out of the young kids, so, that’s the main thing here, is getting these kids better and having them progress as best they can.”

On Australian right-hander Josh Warner (1-3 record, 7.50 ERA in six starts), who was demoted to extended spring training on Sunday:

“We just wanted to get Josh down there and get his confidence back.  We’re gonna make a few adjustments with where he’s standing on the rubber and things, so we just wanted him to go down there and work on that.

He’s only 20-years old.  He’s got a good breaking ball, a good change up.  He just got in a situation where he was leaving his fastball out over the plate.  And like I said, we’re gonna make some changes down there on the rubber, try to get a little more deception, especially against right-handers.  We like Josh a lot, he’s had a lot of success, he just went through a rough spell here, so we just thought is was best to get him back down there and work on a few things, then hopefully get him back up here.”  Continue reading Minor League Notebook: Morandini Quotes Galore

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Minor League Notes: Cochran, Friend

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Thu, May 02, 2013 01:05 PM Comments: 3

http://media.lehighvalleylive.com/lvironpigs_impact/photo/11027273-small.jpg

Cochran, no, not that Tom Cochran, will return to the IronPigs.

Per Matt Provence, lefty starter Tom Cochran has been promoted from Reading to Lehigh Valley. Cochran, 33, was 0-3 with a 5.73 ERA in Reading this season after posting 9-5 record with a 3.96 ERA last year for the ‘Pigs. Cochran will likely replace the rotation spot left vacant by Jonathan Pettibone; the IronPigs had been using a starter-by-committee system to this point, having Zach Miner and Cesar Jiminez start bullpen games.

In a corresponding move, righty reliever Justin Friend has been demoted to Reading. Friend, 26, set the single-season saves record last year at Reading, racking up 24 with a 0.23 ERA before earning his first shot at Triple-A baseball. Friend has struggled in 2013, posting a 7.07 ERA in 14 IP, struggling with increased walks (7.7 BB/9 IP v. a career average of 4.5) and decreased strike outs (6.4 K/9 IP v. a career average of 9.5). Headed into Spring Training, Friend earned consideration for the big league club as a non-roster invitee and was selected by the Phillies in the Minor League portion of the December 2010 Rule 5 draft from the Oakland A’s.

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Galvis, Howard Power Hamels to First Win, Sweep of Mets

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, April 28, 2013 04:41 PM Comments: 32

Phillies Mets Baseball

Howard came up big in the clutch in a 5-1 Phils win to cap the sweep. Photo: Seth Wenig, AP

On a day where Cole Hamels struggled with control, issuing six free passes, Hamels kept his composure to pick up his first win of 2013 in a 5-1 Phillies win. Hamels allowed only two hits to limit the damage of his free passes on a day where the Mets struck early on a David Wright RBI single in the first.

THE BATS, THEY ARE AWAKE

A day after the Phils posted a season-high nine runs, the Phillies scored five runs on nine hits and fell victim to the strike out only three times. Freddy Galvis had his first hit as a righty this year, knotting the game at one-all with a homer to lead off the fifth. The Phils did not ground into a double play and were a respectable 2-7 with RISP, including Ryan Howard‘s huge seventh inning, pinch-hit, two-out double that netted a pair of RBI and Chase Utley‘s RBI single immediately following Howard’s opposite field triumph. This, from a fundamental point of view, was easily the Phillies best team game as hitters, doing the little things at every bend.

The Phillies outscored the Mets 18-5 in the series in what is a very positive development. While Howard did not start today, the Big Piece is heating up: in his last 10 games, including today’s pinch-hit double, Howard is hitting .363/.342 (not a typo)/.722. If Howard starts to roll with a hot Michael Young (1-3 again today) and Chase Utley being Chase Utley, this team will be dangerous. The Big Piece is now hitting .286 overall and the big Spring Training is looking more and more like what we’ll see from him this year.

CHOOCH IS BACK

Carlos Ruiz returned today and hit a sixth inning ground-rule double for his only hit in 3 ABs. He paired with Hamels on eight Ks. Chooch is a clear upgrade over Kratz offensively and defensively – what a bat to add to the line-up!

THIS IS THE BULLPEN YOU WANT TO SEE

This game was a blast to watch and one of the reasons was because the bullpen acted like they had been here before. Antonio Bastardo threw a scoreless seventh to lower his ERA to 0.96 while Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon followed with perfect eighth and ninth innings respectively to cap off a 5-1 win.

The Phillies travel to Cleveland tonight and have tomorrow off. The Fightins kick off a two game getaway series against the Indians on Tuesday with Roy Halladay on the hill.

 

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