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Showing posts from November, 2011

Mathieson Released, Headed Overseas

The Phillies announced on Tuesday that right-handed pitcher Scott Mathieson has been released, freeing him to pursue a contract with a team in Asia. The 27-year-old was 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in 15 big league games in his career. He held opponents scoreless in four relief outings this year for the Phillies. Mathieson is secretive about his destination, stating exclusively to PhoulBallz.com that he has an agreement with the team he’ll be pitching for to not announce the signing before Friday, when that club expects to make the news public. A source close to PhoulBallz.com has stated that the Yomiuri Giants in Japan will be the team that Mathieson is set to sign with. The change is something that Mathieson is ready for and he expects to pitch outside of North America for the foreseeable future. “I’m very excited for this. I am hoping to play with this team for a while and maybe come back to finish my career in the States, but, right now, I’m hoping to play overseas for a while,” Mathie

Phils' Old Spring Home Ready for Reboot

Jack Russell Memorial Stadium in 2003 Currently housed at Bright House Field in Clearwater, FL, the Phillies once called a different Florida complex their southern home. Jack Russell Stadium was home to the big league club from Philadelphia for spring training dating all the way back to 1955 until 2003 when the relocated to the newly built facility in another part of town. These days, the park that was named after a former big league player and Clearwater city commissioner is disassembled and has remained as an inactive lot, only used for overflow parking, and the like, since the Phillies departed for fresher digs. Community clamor and a struggling economy resulted in plans for housing, in place of the decades old home for Phillies spring training and minor league baseball, to fall apart. Nothing is both what has happened in the period since professional sports vacated the premises and what goes on at the site these days. In the midst of what is described as a low-income neighbo

Kennelly Living it Up, Down Under

Australian native Tim Kennelly has been enjoying some serious success thus far in the 2011-2012 Australian Baseball League season. The righty hitting utility man is tearing up opposing pitching while playing for his hometown club in the second season of this current incarnation of professional baseball down under. In the early going, the 25-year-old leads the ABL with a .529 batting average and has helped his club, the defending ABL champion Perth Heat, to a league-best 11-0 record, including an 8-0 mark on the road. Kennelly's 1.237 OPS is also tops in the league. Kennelly has been a multi-positional player throughout his career in the minors, spending plenty of time at catcher, third base and in the outfield. Such versatility has helped Kennelly earn playing time within the Phillies organization. With the Heat, Kennelly is valuable to his team in the same manner, splitting his time at various spots. Originally signed by the Phillies in 2003 at age 16, Kennelly has posted a .

Hockey Taking Over CBP

The takeover has begun. As the holiday season approaches and winter becomes more imminent, January 2nd, the date of this season's NHL Winter Classic draws nearer. In 2012, Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park will play host to the annual regular season hockey contest that is broadcast on national television. The ballpark is otherwise home to Major League Baseball's Phillies. In the upcoming game, the Flyers will take on New York Rangers. It will be New York's first Winter Classic appearance, while the Flyers, who lost at Boston in 2010, will be seeing action in the annual event for the second time. This will mark the fifth year for the NHL's premiere regular season contest, which first took place in 2008 at Buffalo's Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the NFL's Bills. The process to convert the baseball playing field into an ice rink, in time for the week of hockey events set to take place at CBP, began this week. In addition to the January 2nd regular sea

Sandberg to Return, Other Developmental Coaches Set

On Monday, the Phillies announced the return of Ryne Sandberg as manager of Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Sandberg, a Hall of Fame player, is back for his second season with the IronPigs after leading the club to its very first playoff appearance in 2011. Sandberg, who was originally drafted by the Phillies in 1978 and dealt to the Chicago Cubs in 1982, became a legend in a different city. As a member of the Cubs, Sandberg became a 10-time National League All-star, a 9-time Gold Glove Award winner and 1984 NL Most Valuable Player. Last season, he returned to the Philadelphia organization after 29 years away. The remainder of the Lehigh Valley coaching staff, Rod Nichols and Sal Rende, will return for the IronPigs as well. New additions to the developmental coaching ranks include former Phillies Andy Tracy and Aaron Fultz . Tracy will manage the short season Williamsport Crosscutters, while Fultz will serve as that club's pitching coach. Former Phillies second baseman Micke

Phils Acquire Wigginton From Rockies

In a trade with the Colorado Rockies, the Phillies have acquired multi-positional veteran Ty Wigginton . A 10-year Major Leaguer, Wigginton is a .265 career hitter with 158 homeruns with six different teams. The 34-year-old first baseman/second baseman/third basemen/outfielder joins a Phillies team that was in need of a versatile offensive threat such as Wigginton that could fill in for the likes of Ryan Howard , Chase Utley and Placido Polanco and become a solid presence in the five-time defending National League East division champions' lineup. The right-handed hitting Wigginton, who stands 6 feet tall and weighs 230 pounds, is slated to earn $4 million in 2012 with a club option for the same amount in 2013, with a $500,000 buyout. In the deal, the Phillies are reportedly getting back $2 million, so essentially, Philadelphia will pay Wigginton $2 million in 2012. In return the Phillies will send back a player to be named later or cash. The addition is a very good one

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 97

Russ Wrightstone was a utility player with the Phillies from 1920-1928. The lifelong Pennsylvania resident made his big league debut at the ripe age of 27 with Philadelphia. The Phillies teams of the 1920's were always near the bottom of the barrel. The club won as many as 68 games and finished within 27 games of first place only once during Wrightstone's tenure. A player such as Wrightstone who regularly batted over .300 and could field multiple positions proved valuable to a lowly club like Philadelphia. Although he wasn't exceptional at any one position, during his time in the Majors, Wrightstone manned first base, second base, third base, shortstop, left field and right field. Managers would shift the 5-foot-10-inch 190-pounder around the diamond in an effort to keep his bat in the lineup. Wrightstone's best offensive season came in 1925 when he played in just 92 games. That year, the lefty hitting Wrightstone posted a .346 batting average with 14 homeruns a

2011 Phillies AFL Wrap Up

The Arizona Fall League season wraps up today as the Salt River Rafters take on the Surprise Saguaros in the championship game in Scottsdale. The game will be broadcast live on MLB Network and on MLB.com at 3 PM Eastern. No Phillies prospects will be represented in the title contest, as their club, the Scottsdale Scorpions finished 14-22, placing last in the East division. Salt River features minor leaguers from the Astros, D-Backs, Dodgers, Rockies and Tigers, while Surprise includes players from the Braves, Marlins, Rays, Rangers and Royals. Despite Philadelphia farmhands missing out on the final game of the AFL season, let's take a look at their fall league performances, with some players shining and others just getting by. Lefty hurler Jake Diekman , who was added to the Phillies' 40-man roster on Friday, performed exceptionally for the Scorpions. The 6-foot-4-inch 190-pound reliever allowed just 1 earned run in 11 appearances (11 1/3 innings) while striking out 14 b

Back-up Backstop Schneider to Return

The Phillies announced on Thursday that they have re-signed catcher Brian Schneider to a one-year contract valued at $800,000. The veteran of 12 big league seasons, who turns 35-years-old later this month, returns to Philadelphia after serving as back-up to Carlos Ruiz for the past two seasons. Schneider can earn an additional $200,000 in performance bonuses, but don’t count on that happening as the reserve sported a .176 batting average in 41 games with the Phillies during the 2011 season. Clearly, Schneider is being brought back for his excellent guidance of the Philadelphia pitching staff, not because of his bat. Phillies pitchers posted a strong 2.85 ERA with Schneider behind the dish this past season. Pat Gallen of PhilliesNation.com writes that the Phillies went 28-8 (.777 winning percentage) in Schneider’s 36 starts in 2011, including 27-3 (.900) in his first 30 starts. From May 7 through September 6, the Phillies went 19-0 in Schneider’s starts. Through his career, the lef

Off-season League Updates, 11/16/11

Throughout the off-season, we'll take regular looks at Phillies players participating in winter leagues around the world. Plenty of players contracted to the Phillies are still in action, despite the North American season being over for many weeks. In this post, the Caribbean and Australian baseball leagues will be covered. -Right-handed hurler Julio Rodriguez (pictured), an 8th round draft selection in 2008, has appeared in two games as a reliever for the Gigantes de Carolina in the Puerto Rican Winter League. In his first outing, the 21-year-old threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings, while he allowed 2 earned runs in 2/3 of an inning in his second appearance. Rodriguez had an outstanding regular season for the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers in 2011, going 16-7 with a 2.76 ERA and a .186 batting average against in 27 starts. -Shortstop Freddy Galvis has performed well lately for the Aguilas del Zulia in the Venezuelan league. After a considerably slow start and a wr

RHP Prospect David Buchanan Footage

Lakewood pitching coach Steve Schrenk watches David Buchanan get loose Selected by the Phillies in the 7th round of the amateur draft in 2010, righty hurler David Buchanan has quickly made a name for himself in the developmental ranks. The 22-year-old had an outstanding season this year, as he earned himself a spot as the starting pitcher for the north division team in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game while posting an 11-5 record with a 3.38 ERA through 20 starts with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. Buchanan's exceptional efforts in his first full season as a pro also earned him a promotion to High A level Clearwater, where he went 3-2 with a 3.90 ERA in 6 outings. A Georgia native, Buchanan grew up as a Braves fan, but is more than happy to be a part of the Philadelphia organization, home to several pitchers that he admires the same way he looked up to the famed Atlanta starting pitching staff of the 1990's. The 6-foot-3-inch 190-pound Buchanan sports a low-90&#

Phillies Sign New Closer

Another week, another free agent Friday. The Phillies have signed former Boston hurler Jonathan Papelbon to a deal to become their new premiere relief pitcher. The deal is done, pending a physical examination and is reportedly worth $50 million over four years. The contract also has a vesting option to increase the length to five years and the value above $60 million. It would be the largest free-agent contract for a reliever in MLB history. Papelbon, who will turn 31-years-old later this month, has had a more than a solid career to date with the Red Sox. The 4th round pick from the 2003 amateur draft has a career regular season record of 23-19 with a .233 ERA, 219 saves and a .204 batting average against in his 7 year career. In 18 career postseason contests, Papelbon sports an exceptional 1.00 ERA with a 2-1 record and 7 saves. What's even more impressive is that the Mississippi State product has held the opposition scoreless in all but one of those outings. Comparativel

Burrell's Career Could Be Over

Former Phillies outfielder Pat Burrell announced on Thursday that his playing days are likely over, due to a recurring right foot injury that limited his action in 2011. According to a report from the Associated Press, Burrell had previously declared that he would contemplate retirement if he was unable to return to full strength. This appears to be the case, however Burrell has not made a final decision. “I have not decided yet, but I don’t think I can play anymore,” Burrell stated. “It hurts me to say that.” The 35-year-old was the first overall draft choice by the Phillies in 1998. He was part of the 2008 club that locked down Philadelphia’s second ever World Series title. The University of Miami product ranks fourth all-time in Phillies history with 251 regular season homeruns. Burrell left Philadelphia as a free agent following the 2008 season, signing with Tampa Bay. He struggled through much of his time there, and after the Rays released him during the 2010 season, Burrell s

Caribbean Winter League Updates, 11/9/11

Plenty of Phillies players are staying in shape in the early going this off-season on the field and not just in the gym or in batting cages . Plenty of individuals contracted to the Phillies are playing ball down in the Caribbean winter leagues. Here's a run down of how various Philadelphia farm hands and a couple big leaguers are doing in the off-season leagues. -Right-hander Julio Rodriguez has made two relief appearances for the Gigantes de Carolina in the Puerto Rican Winter League. In his first outing, the 21-year-old threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings, while he allowed 2 earned runs in 2/3 of an inning in his second appearance. Rodriguez had an outstanding regular season for the Class A Adv anced Clearwater Threshers in 2011, going 16-7 with a 2.76 ERA and a .186 batting average against in 27 starts. -Shortstop Freddy Galvis hasn't looked too sharp lately for the Aguilas del Zulia in the Venezuelan league. In 10 games since returning from a right wrist injury, th

Ibanez Makes Hall of Fame History

It's every player's dream to be enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. For Raul Ibanez , who hasn't had the sort of career that would ensure his face would one day be cast in bronze and displayed on the Hall walls, it was necessary to find a less common way to earn a spot in the annals of baseball history. Recently, Ibanez became the very first big league player to spend the night in the plaque gallery at the storied Hall of Fame. As detailed on the National Baseball Hall of Fame's website , Ibanez accompanied his son's Little League travel team to the Hall, where they participated in the Museum's "Extra Innings Overnight", a program that allows groups to travel to Cooperstown, NY in order learn more about the great game of baseball. Ibanez's son, Raul Jr., is 11-years-old and plays baseball in Lower Merion, PA. The article on the Hall of Fame's website quoted Ibanez as being excited to see some recent Phillies milestones repres

Arizona Fall League Updates, 11/7/11

Today we're taking a glance at Phillies developmental talents playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League, through Sunday, November 6th. First baseman/third baseman Cody Overbeck has been excellent, posting a .339 average with 2 doubles, a triple, a HR and 6 RBI through 17 AFL games. The 25-year-old Overbeck, also sports an on-base percentage of .451. The righty batting slugger mashed 24 regular season homeruns, combined, for Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2011. Outfielder Tyson Gillies has played in 19 games and posted an unimpressive .197 with 2 doubles and a homerun, 5 RBI and 12 walks. The 23-year-old Gillies, who has been sidelined with hamstring and foot injuries over the past two years, has only made one stolen base attempt in AFL play. Darin Ruf , a first baseman, has slugged 3 homers and driven in 13 runs, but has had a tough time overall, batting just .223 in 16 games. The 25-year-old was a 20th round draft pick in 2009

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 96

Relief pitcher Larry Andersen spent two different stints with the Phillies, once in the 1980's and another in the 1990's. The right-hander was originally selected in the 7th round of the 1971 amateur draft by the Cleveland Indians out of high school. Andersen made his Major League debut with the Indians in 1975 as a 22-year-old and posted a 4.76 ERA in 3 relief outings. He went back to the minors for the 1976 season, but returned to the big show in 1977 for 11 games. Following the 1979 season, Andersen was dealt to Pittsburgh, but never appeared at the big league level for the Pirates. Following the 1980 season, the native of Washington state was sent to Seattle as a player to be named later in a swap from much earlier in the year. As a member of the Mariners, Andersen became a mainstay out of the bullpen, appearing in 81 games over two seasons. In his debut campaign with the M's, Andersen looked sharp, posting a 2.66 ERA with a 3-3 record. However, the following ye

Thome Returning to Philadelphia

Jim Thome is coming back to Philadelphia. Phillies.com's Todd Zolecki broke the news Friday evening that the Phillies and the 41-year-old first baseman/designated hitter had reached an agreement on a one-year contract. Thome, who ranks 8th all-time with 604 career regular season homeruns, is a lock to someday be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, however the veteran of 21 big league seasons has never won a World Series. Joining the steady National League favorite Phillies gives him a great opportunity to acquire that elusive world championship ring. Thome posted a .256 batting average with 15 HR and 50 RBI in 93 combined games for Minnesota and Cleveland in 2011. Details of the contract were not available. _____________________________ You can follow PhoulBallz on Twitter by clicking HERE . Also connect with PhoulBallz on Facebook by clicking HERE

Aussie League Rolling Again

The second season of the revamped Australian Baseball League gets under way this weekend. Over the years, the ABL had previous incarnations that failed. The current version debuted in 2010 as a new entity that is jointly owned by Major League Baseball (75%) and the Australian Baseball Federation (25%). The league features many American players and coaches, plenty of which are employed by MLB affiliated clubs in the United States. The league down under consists of six teams and has the potential to grow in the coming years, provided the fan attention progresses with it. According to former Phillies minor league hurler Mike McGuire , who will pitch for the Canberra Cavalry, he's enjoying the exposure to a different culture and the popularity of the sport is growing greater. "The experience has been great so far," McGuire said. "I'm staying with a great family and the people and Aussie players are so helpful, making sure (American players) are comfortable

Cardinals Remind Everyone What is Possible

On August 25 the St. Louis Cardinals were coming off a 3 game losing streak as they had won just 3 of their last 10 sports betting matchups and were given up for dead in the National League wild card playoff race, as they were over 10 games behind the Atlanta Braves who seemed to be cruising along towards the post season. But St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa is as tough as they come and never gives up on a single pitch. LaRussa is relentless and his team reflected his character as they still came to play every single day and amazingly enough got back into the playoff race in September with a phenomenal run that coincided with the collapse of the Braves. The Cardinals went 23-9 down the stretch to steal the wild card spot from the Braves, who just died at their home of Turner Field with a chance to clinch the playoffs there against Philadelphia. At the end of the day this was a great lesson on how the marathon baseball season is truly “not over until it’s over.” The Cardinals certainly

Phillies On Deck, Vol. 2: De Fratus & Aumont

From time to time this off-season, we'll take a look at young players within the Phillies organization that could impact the big league roster in 2012. In this edition, relievers Justin De Fratus and Phillippe Aumont will be the focus, as they target filling out a Philadelphia bullpen that has multiple potential vacancies. With the Phillies' refusal of Brad Lidge 's option and with free agent Ryan Madson possibly on the move out of town, the club has some openings up for grabs in the coming season. A pair of young fireballers stand a great shot at filling those voids on the roster for the five-time defending National League East division champions. Righty hurlers Justin De Fratus and Phillippe Aumont are two of the top candidates to make a big splash on the Phillies pitching staff next year. Each of the two relievers looked sharp at two levels of the developmental ranks this year. De Fratus was drafted in the 11th round of the 2007 amateur draft by the Phillies. Often

Diekman Set to Shine Among AFL Stars

The Arizona Fall League's Rising Stars Game is set to be played on Saturday, November 5th at 8 PM EST. The exhibition contest that features many top prospects from all across baseball will be televised nationally on MLB Network. Left-handed pitcher Jake Diekman , a 30th round draft choice in 2007, will be the Phillies' lone representative, as he will be among the relievers for the East division squad. Thus far in 7 appearances for the Scottsdale Scorpions, the 6-foot-4-inch 190-pound Diekman has not allowed a run or a hit. In 7 1/3 innings, Diekman has struck out 9 opponents and walked 5. Last year, Diekman was summoned to the Arizona Fall League late, to fill a roster void left when John Mayberry Jr. suffered an injury. Diekman's efforts weren't as outstanding during that stint, as he did not expect to compete in the AFL. Diekman had a difficult time adjusting to the surprise, allowing 12 earned runs in 3 2/3 innings over 5 outings. Diekman discribes that ex