Friday, April 29, 2011

Interview with Phillies Prospect Domingo Santana

Domingo Santana is an 18-year-old outfielder with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. Signed by the Phillies out of the Dominican Republic at age 16 in 2009, Santana made his professional debut that year with the Gulf Coast League Phillies. In 37 games, Santana batted .288, slugged 6 homeruns and drove in 28 runs.

The following year, the right-handed hitting Santana began the season with Lakewood, but struggled. With a .182 batting average and 76 strike outs in 49 games, Santana was sent to short-season Williamsport once their season got rolling in June. With the Cutters, Santana batted .237 and mashed 5 homeruns in 54 games.

Thus far in 2011, Santana, who stands 6-feet-5-inches tall and weighs around 200 pounds, has posted a .239 average with 2 homeruns and 7 RBI through 17 games.

In the off-season, Santana, who is regarded as a five-tool talent, was ranked as the Phillies' 14th best prospect.

I spoke with Domingo this week about why he chose to sign with the Phillies, his strengths as a player, which Major Leaguers he admired growing up and plenty more. Check out the media player below to listen to the full interview.



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Series Preview: Mets at Phillies, 4/29-5/1

Plagued by a wave of injuries, the Phillies return home to face division rival New York in a three-game series.

Starting pitcher Joe Blanton, who was originally slated to face the Mets (11-14) in the series opener, was placed on the disabled list on Thursday with a right elbow impingement. 23-year-old righty Vance Worley has been recalled to take Blanton's turn for the Phillies (16-8).

The Phillies have quite a collection of players already on the disabled list, with the likes of Chase Utley, Domonic Brown, JC Romero, Brad Lidge and Jose Contreras already missing time. It remains to be seen if Carlos Ruiz will be added to that collection, as the Phils' catcher left his last game early with a back injury.

For game one of the weekend series, the Mets will counter with Mike Pelfrey, who has allowed 20 earned runs in 12 innings pitched (15.00 ERA) over his last 3 starts at Citizens Bank Park.

Read ahead for details on each of the pitching match ups for this series and much more information.


Friday, 7:05PM. Mike Pelfrey (1-2, 7.23 ERA) vs. Vance Worley (1st start this season). In 14 career starts against the Phillies, Pelfrey has a 6-4 record with a with a 5.08 ERA. In 3 road starts this season, Pelfrey has posted a 0-2 record with an 11.91 ERA. Pelfrey has a 9.55 ERA in 6 career starts at Citizens Bank Park. Ryan Howard is 13-for-32 (.406 avg) with 2 homeruns in his career against the right-handed Pelfrey. Worley pitched 1 scoreless inning against the Mets last season. In 5 games in the Majors last year, Worley posted a 1-1 record and a 1.38 ERA. In 4 starts at Triple A level Lehigh Valley this year, Worley posted a 2-2 record with a 2.78 ERA and a 25 strike outs in 22 2/3 innings.

Saturday, 1:10PM. Jonathan Niese (1-3, 5.10 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (3-1, 2.41 ERA). The Phillies are undefeated in day games this season. Niese, a lefty, has a 1-2 record and a 3.96 ERA in 4 career starts against the Phillies. Placido Polanco is 4-for-13 (.308 avg) with 3 doubles and 4 RBI in his career against Niese. In 9 career starts against the Mets, Halladay has a 7-2 record with a 3.43 ERA. David Wright is 2-for-18 (.111 avg) in his career against Halladay. In his last start against the Padres, Halladay tied his single-game career high by striking out 14 batters.

Sunday, 8:05PM. Chris Young (1-0, 2.65 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (2-2, 4.18 ERA). Young beat the Phillies back on April 5th, when he allowed just 1 run over 5 1/3 innings. In 6 career starts against the Phillies, Young has a 4.05 ERA. Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard are each 2-for-11 (.182 avg) against Young. In 1 career start against the Mets, Lee allowed just 2 unearned runs in 7 innings pitched. In 7 regular season starts at Citizens Bank Park, Lee has a 4-2 record with a 2.77 ERA.


Ike Davis is batting .386 in 12 road games this season. The Mets' 1st round draft pick from 2008, Davis, is a .333 hitter in 11 career games at Citizens Bank Park.

In 7 games since returning from the disabled list, Jason Bay is batting .333 with 2 doubles, a HR and 3 RBI. The Mets have won 6 of the 7 games Bay has played in this season.

In 15 career games against the Phillies, closer Francisco Rodriguez has never allowed a run and he has held Philadelphia batters to a .109 batting average.

In 80 career games against the Mets, Placido Polanco is a .303 hitter. Polanco's .389 batting average this season is good enough for third best in the National League and his 37 hits are tied for second best in the NL.

Phillies reliever Ryan Madson has a 2.89 career ERA with a 3-4 record, 5 saves and 3 blown saves in 54 career games against the Mets. Opponents are batting .190 against Madson this season.

Ryan Howard is batting .381 with a 1.048 OPS in 11 homes games this season. Howard is a .264 hitter in 99 career games against the Mets.

Mets team ERA- 4.42
Phillies team ERA-3.28

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Injuries Piling Up For Phillies

The Philadelphia area was spared the big storms that other parts of the country have dealt with this week, but the dark injury cloud that has been lingering above the Phillies was sure to rain on some more heads.

Right-handed starting pitcher Joe Blanton has been placed on the disabled list with an impingement in the medial side of the elbow on his throwing arm.

The fifth starter, Blanton, has a 0-1 record with a 5.92 ERA through 4 starts this season.

Blanton's turn in the Phillies' rotation on Friday will be taken by 23-year-old Vance Worley, who has posted a 2-2 record with a 2.78 ERA and a 25 strike outs in 22 2/3 innings in 4 starts with Triple A Lehigh Valley this season.

Worley, a 3rd round draft pick in the 2008 draft, made his Major League debut with the Phillies last July, and went 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA in 5 appearances with the big club.

In addition, word out of Lehigh Valley on Thursday night was that catcher Dane Sardinha had been dispatched to Philadelphia. Phillies starting catcher Carlos Ruiz left Wednesday's game in Arizona early with a back ailment. While initial reports stated that Ruiz would not need to be placed on the disabled list, Sardinha's movement is clearly happening in case Ruiz must miss some time.

Sardinha, a righty batter, has posted a .105 batting average with no homers and no RBI in 12 games played this season with the IronPigs. His counterpart Erik Kratz is batting .370 with 3 HR and 6 RBI through 10 games. Both backstops worked with Philies pitchers this year in spring training, but Sardinha worked with the staff last year as well, which gave him the advantage.

Blanton and Ruiz would be joining the likes of Chase Utley, Domonic Brown, Jose Contreras, JC Romero and Brad Lidge on the Phillies' disabled list.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jesse Biddle Shows Off His Pitches For You, Phillies Nation

Jesse Biddle was a first round draft selection by his hometown Phillies in 2010. After signing with Philadelphia, Biddle made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast League Phillies and later moved up to the short-season Williamsport Crosscutters. In 12 combined starts, Biddle posted a 4-1 record with a 3.92 ERA.

The left-handed 19-year-old has had a rough time getting into a groove this season with Class A Lakewood. Through 4 starts, Biddle is 0-3 with a 7.16 ERA in 2011. Despite the rough start, Biddle took time this week to share his pitching repertoire and show of the grips he uses, for Philadelphia baseball fans everywhere.

Check out the video player below for the exclusive footage of Biddle's pitch menu.




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Oswalt Takes Leave of Absence

The Phillies announced on Wednesday that starting pitcher Roy Oswalt has left the team to deal with family concerns in his native Mississippi.

Oswalt's hometown of Weir, MS has suffered through devastating storms in recent days, so the righty hurler decided that it was best to travel home and be with his family.

A statement released by Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. detailed the organization's opinion on Oswalt's decision to leave the club.

"There has been a tremendous amount of tornado activity near Roy's home in Mississippi resulting in several tragic deaths and significant devastation to the area," it said. "Because of this, Roy is concerned about his family's wellbeing. He has chosen to take time to make sure there wasn't significant damage to his home, but more importantly, to make certain that his wife and children are okay.

Initially, Oswalt's quick departure from Chase Field without speaking to the media, following an early departure against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday, caused speculation that perhaps Oswalt was injured. The 3-time National League All-star Oswalt allowed 5 earned runs in 3 innings, taking his first loss of the season and his first regular season loss since his debut with Philadelphia last July, following a trade Houston.

Oswalt now has a 3-1 record with a 3.33 ERA and .212 batting average against in 5 games this season. Overall with the Phillies, Oswalt sports an 11-3 record, included last year's postseason.

The Amaro statement mentioned that Oswalt's parents' home was destroyed by a tornado nearly a year ago. It also added that the Phillies currently expect that Oswalt will rejoin the team in time to make his next scheduled start.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Five Minutes with BlueClaws Manager Chris Truby

I had the opportunity to speak with Chris Truby, former Major Leaguer and manager of the Class A level Lakewood BlueClaws about several different matters related to the team.

Following Lakewood's 11-1 victory over the Charleston RiverDogs on Tuesday night, I asked Truby about outfielder Zach Collier who had recently sat out of action for a week with a back strain, his pitching staff- including versatile right-hander Garett Claypool, his frequent lineup tweeks and plenty more.

Check out the media player below to listen to the full interview.



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BlueClaws' Offensive Onslaught Downs Charleston

With a strong showing at the plate on Tuesday night, first baseman Jim Murphy accomplished a feat rarely seen. When he flew out to the warning track in the bottom of the 8th inning, he received a rousing ovation from the crowd on hand to see the Class A BlueClaws take on Yankees affiliate Charleston RiverDogs.

"It was surprising for sure," Murphy said of the nod he received from the appreciative home crowd of 3,644 after his attempt to mash a third homerun in the game fell short.

Murphy, who stands 6-feet-3-inches tall and weighs in at 230 pounds, went 3-for-4 on the night while driving in a career-high 6 runs with a single and 2 powerful homeruns.

The Phillies' 17th draft selection in the 2007 amateur draft, Murphy, played with Lakewood in 2009 and was with the High A level Clearwater Thresher in 2010.

With his 5th and 6th dingers of the season, Murphy is positioned just 2 homeruns from tying the all-time Lakewood lead in homeruns, 22 currently held by Juan Richardson, who played with the BlueClaws in the team's inaugural season of 2001.

"Holding any record for any team (would be) fun, especially a record like that. Obviously, (Ryan) Howard and a lot of guys, that are up in the big leagues now, played here. So that would be a cool record to hold," Murphy stated.

Teammates Cameron Rupp and Edgar Duran each slammed their first homeruns of the season. For Duran, the shortstop that was named Phillies minor league player of the week on Monday, it was the first of his professional career. Second baseman Jeremy Barnes added 3 safeties for Lakewood, to help the two-time defending South Atlantic League champions lock down an 11-1 victory over the RiverDogs.

The BlueClaws got off to a slow start offensively this season, as they scored just 27 total runs in their first 12 games. However, the lumber has really come alive since last week, as Lakewood has plated 55 runs in the past 6 games.

With 15 hits in Tuesday night's 11-1 victory over Charleston, the 'Claws continued their recent success at the dish. Manager Chris Truby attributes a new zealous approach and the absence of wasted at bats as reasons for the team's change of fortune with the bats.

"It's been nice to see them come out hacking and being aggressive. We've had some big 2-out RBI's. I've thought our at bats have been solid for the most part," Truby said.

The BlueClaws began cracking in the first inning against lefty starter Kramer Sneed. Murphy started things off with a run scoring single and Zach Collier, who received new life in his at bat after a pop foul fell between Sneed and catcher Gary Sanchez, drove in Barnes and Murphy with a triple, that put Lakewood up 3-0.

The runfest rolled on in the 2nd frame, as the home club tacked on 5 more runs. Duran's solo blast was followed by singles from Aaron Altherr and Geancarlo Mendez as well as a double by Barnes that firmed up a BlueClaws cycle after just 4 outs in the game by Lakewood. A 3-run bomb by Murphy to deep left field capped off the inning.

Later, in the 7th inning, Lakewood would notch its second 2-homer inning of the night when Murphy launched his second four-bagger, a 2-run blast, and struggling catcher Cameron Rupp got his first homerun in a BlueClaws uniform, which cranked the home team's runs total up to 11.

Rupp, who is batting .186 this season, has been putting in extra work each day, in order to try to improve his offensive output.

"I've been working with (hitting coach Greg) Legg everyday, coming in early. The results weren't showing for me and I was getting frustrated, but I stayed with my plan, got a pitch and got it off," Rupp stated.

Lost in the story of the collective crush was starting pitcher David Buchanan's 7 innings of shutout baseball. The Phils' 7th round draft pick from 2010 pushed his record to 3-0 on the year and lowered his rotation-best ERA to 1.82.

The BlueClaws and RiverDogs will go back at it on Wednesday at 11:05 AM, as last year's 1st round draft pick by the Phillies, Jesse Biddle, will attempt to earn his first Class A win against right-handed hurler Zach Nudding, who sports a 2-0 record thus far in 2011.


In more minor league news...
The Phillies announced on Tuesday that Double A Reading second baseman Harold Garcia will miss the remainder of the 2011 season with a torn ACL in his right knee. Garcia was batting .300 with 3 doubles and 2 homeruns in 12 games this season with the R-Phils.

The Triple A IronPigs were out-hit 12-2 and were defeated by Pawtucket 7-2. Catcher Dane Sardinha's 0-for-3 performance in this contest dropped his batting average to .088 for the season in 11 games.

Against the Erie SeaWolves on Tuesday, Reading lost back to back games for the first time this season, as they dropped both ends of a double header. In game 1, Reading was shut out 4-0 and righty starter Austin Hyatt took his first loss of the season while giving up 4 earned runs over 5 innings. In the second game, Erie walked off with 3 runs in the bottom of the 7th inning (two 7-inning games in minor league double headers) as Justin De Fratus gave up a game ending hit and took the blown save, while Phillippe Aumont was charged with all 3 runs and took the loss.

In more double header action, the High A Clearwater Threshers split 2 games with the Tampa Yankees. In the first contest, RHP Trevor May won his first game of the season, as the Threshers were victorious, 10-1. May tossed a 7 inning complete game, striking out 6 and walking none. In game 2, Tampa won 4-0. Converted pitcher Joe Savery went 3-for-8 with 2 RBI on the day, which puts his season batting average at .456.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Brown Set to Begin Rehab with Clearwater

Domonic Brown is nearly ready for a return.

A source close to Brown told PhoulBallz.com today that the Phillies top prospect will begin a rehab assignment on Wednesday with the High A Level Clearwater Threshers.

The 23-year-old has been out since early March with a broken hook of the hamate bone in his right hand. Brown underwent surgery to fix the problem on March 8.

Brown, a left-handed hitting outfielder, has been playing in extended spring training with the Phillies' club for the past week. In action on Tuesday, Brown posted 4 hits in 5 at bats, with 2 homeruns.

If Brown, is able to swiftly return to form, he could be an option for a struggling Phillies offense. The only question is; will the Phillies keep him in the minors or bring him back to the majors where he struggled late last season?

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Portions of this post were contributed by Pat Gallen of PhilliesNation.

Photo- AP

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Series Preview: Phillies at Diamondbacks, 4/25-4/27


Having lost their second closer to an injury, the Phillies will look to continue rolling through National League opponents as they continue their road trip and head to Arizona for a three-game series.

On Sunday, the Phillies placed righty hurler Jose Contreras on the disabled list with a strained elbow in his throwing arm. Contreras was 5-for-5 in save opportunities this season in a substitute role for primary closer Brad Lidge, who has not pitched this season due to a strained shoulder.

The Phillies have called up Mike Stutes, the Phillies' 11th round draft pick in 2008, to fill the void on the roster.

Ryan Madson, who saved two games for the Phillies in San Diego in the Phillies' last series, will take over the closer duties in Contreras' place.

The Phillies (15-6), who sport the best record in Major League Baseball, will take on the Diamondbacks (8-12), who are in fourth place, 5 1/2 games behind first place Colorado in the NL West division. The D-Backs won 2 of 3 meetings with the Phillies in Arizona last season.

Read ahead for analysis on the pitching match ups and loads more statistics and details for this series.


Monday, 9:40PM. Cliff Lee (2-1, 3.91 ERA) vs. Ian Kennedy (2-1, 5.64 ERA). In 2 career starts against the D-Backs, Lee has a 2-0 record with a 2.57 ERA and a .197 batting average against. Lee is 1-1 with a 4.38 ERA in two road starts this season. In Kennedy's lone career starts against Philadelphia, he allowed 2 earned runs over 8 innings and did not earn a decision. Kennedy allowed 9 earned runs in 3 innings against St. Louis in his last home start. Kennedy, a right-hander, is 5-5 with a 4.03 ERA in 17 career starts at Chase Field. Placido Polanco is 1-for-7 (.143 avg) in his career against Kennedy.

Tuesday, 9:40PM. Roy Oswalt (3-0, 1.87 ERA) vs. Daniel Hudson (0-4, 5.92 ERA). In 12 career starts against Arizona, Oswalt has a 9-2 record with a 1.91 ERA. In 4 career starts at Chase Field, Oswalt has a 4.15 ERA. Chris Young is 6-for-15 (.400 avg) with a double and a homerun in his career against Oswalt. In 8 career starts at Chase Field, Hudson is 3-3 with a 2.40 ERA. Hudson was acquired in the trade for Edwin Jackson last season.

Wednesday, 3:40PM. Cole Hamels (2-1, 2.92 ERA) vs. Joe Saunders (0-2, 4.98 ERA). Dating back to last July, Hamels has a 5-2 record with a 1.18 ERA in his last 11 road starts (76 2/3 innings pitched), including the postseason. In 5 career starts against the D-Backs, Hamels is 2-1 with a 3.69 ERA. Hamels tossed 8 shutout innings in his last start against the Padres. Kelly Johnson is 4-for-23 (.174 avg) in his career against Hamels. In 2 starts against the Phillies, Saunders is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA. Saunders has an 8.38 ERA in 2 home starts this season. Raul Ibanez is 8-for-23 (.348 avg) with 2 homers in his career against Saunders.


Ryan Madson is 3-0 with 1 save a 3.64 ERA in 17 career games against the D-Backs. Opponents are batting .188 against Madson this season.

Ryan Howard's 19 RBI lead the Phillies and are good enough for second best in the National League.

Shane Victorino is batting .325 with a .936 OPS in 10 road games this season.

Kelly Johnson is batting .147 in 8 home games this season. Johnson's 11 HR against the Phillies are his most against any opponent.

Gerardo Parra is a .171 hitter in 11 career games against Philadelphia. Parra is a .290 career hitter at Chase Field.

In his career, JJ Putz has thrown 5 scoreless innings against the Phillies. This season, Putz has 5 saves and has held opponents to a .154 batting average.

Phillies Team ERA- 3.00
Diamondbacks Team ERA- 5.16

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Phils Prospect Malcolm Sent Home For Misconduct

Stephen Malcolm, the Phillies' 8th round draft pick in last year's MLB amateur draft, has been sent home from extended spring training by the Phillies.

The situation is described as a suspension based on a violation of team rules related to alcohol consumption, according to a source. Malcolm, who turned 21-years-old earlier this month, remains under contract with Philadelphia and hasn't been in Clearwater, at the organization's training facility, since the punishment was handed down roughly two weeks ago.

The 6-feet tall, 170-pound shortstop signed with the Phillies for a reported $125,000 last summer after being selected out of San Joaquin Delta Community College in California.

Malcolm made his professional debut last season with the Gulf Coast League Phillies. In 27 games, Malcolm posted a .253 batting average with 3 doubles, 10 RBI and 7 steals.

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Brown Progressing Well, Returns Stance to Previous Form


Outfielder Domonic Brown has been playing with the Phillies' extended spring training team in Clearwater, FL since Monday. In his debut there, Brown posted 2 hits in 3 at bats. In the games that followed, Brown merely reached base via a free pass, but he has steadily been hitting the ball hard and appears to be making progress.

Brown was sidelined in early March with a fractured hook of the hamate bone in his right hand that required surgery and kept him out of action for six weeks.

The 6-foot-5-inch, 200-pound Brown struggled in spring training, starting out on a 0-for-15 skid before recording his first hit in the same game that he suffered the injury to his hand.

Brown reported to spring training more than a month early and had adjusted his batting stance, lowering his hands. However, as can be seen in the above image, taken earlier this week, Brown is back to his old ways, with his hands positioned at cranium level.

Asked how his heeling hand feels, Brown stated, "Great, better than I thought it would. My first at bat (Monday) I hit an inside pitch up near the handle and I felt a little twinge but it was nothing more than the normal feeling of taking one off the handle. It feels really good."

Word from within the Philadelphia organization seems to imply that Brown could be assigned to a full season minor league club, on a rehab assignment, sometime next week. Brown himself indicated on Friday that he expects to initially be activated for the High A level Clearwater Threshers.

**Update- Brown batted second or third in each inning of Friday's extended spring training game for the Phillies. In the contest, Brown reached base on an infield single, a high chopper to the pitcher that Brown beat out. Brown also walked and reached base three more times on base hits. In separate innings, he stole 2nd base and third base.

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PhoulBallz.com correspondent Joe Wombough contributed to this post.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Series Preview: Phillies at Padres, 4/21-4/24


After leaving his last start early with lower back tightness, Roy Oswalt is back to work, on schedule, as the Phillies (11-6) travel to San Diego to take on the Padres (8-10) in a 4-game series.

Oswalt, who has a history of back injuries in his career prior to coming to Philadelphia in a trade with Houston last summer, will start the series opener for Philadelphia. The Padres will counter with right-hander Mat Latos, who began the season on the disabled list with shoulder fatigue.

The Phillies won 5 of 7 meetings with the Padres in 2010. Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups for this series as well as loads more statistics and info.


Thursday, 10:05PM. Roy Oswalt (2-0, 2.50 ERA) vs. Mat Latos (0-2, 5.84 ERA). Oswalt allowed 1 earned run over 6 innings in his lone road start this season. In 18 career games against San Diego, Oswalt has a 10-2 record with a 2.45 ERA. Jorge Cantu is 3-for-8 (.375 avg) with 2 HR and 5 RBI in his career against Oswalt. In 2 career starts against the Phillies, Latos is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA. Latos had a 2.59 ERA in 12 home games last season. Shane Victorino is 2-for-6 with a double and a HR against Latos.

Friday, 10:05PM. Cole Hamels (1-1, 4.32 ERA) vs. Clayton Richard (1-0, 4.50 ERA). Hamels, who was born in San Diego, has a 4-2 record with a 2.75 ERA and a .190 opponents batting average in 9 games against the Padres. Hamels has a 1.57 ERA in 4 career starts at Petco Park. Richard has a 2.75 ERA in 25 career starts at Petco Park. Placido Polanco is 1-for-10 in his career against Richard.

Saturday, 8:35PM. Joe Blanton (0-1, 7.27 ERA) vs. Tim Stauffer (0-1, 3.27 ERA). In 4 career starts against the Padres, Blanton is 2-1 with a 5.32 ERA. Jason Bartlett is 2-for-17 (.118 avg) in his regular season career against Blanton. Stauffer, a righty, has allowed 17 earned runs in 9 1/3 career innings (16.39 ERA) against the Phillies. Stauffer threw 7 shutout innings against the Reds in his last outing. Opponents are hitting .359 against Stauffer in 2 starts at home this season. Ryan Howard is 4-for-5 with 2 HR in his career against Stauffer.

Sunday, 4:05PM. Roy Halladay (2-1, 2.83 ERA) vs. To be determined. Halladay had a 2.73 ERA in 15 road starts during the regular season last year. Halladay has never pitched at Petco Park before.


Placido Polanco's 15 RBI are tied for second best in the National League. In 48 career games against the Padres, Polanco is a .335 hitter.

Jimmy Rollins, who has been batting 3rd in the Phillies' lineup, in Chase Utley's absence, has just 1 RBI in 17 games this season. Rollins is 0-for-8 in his career against Padres closer Heath Bell.

In the past week, Wilson Valdez is 2-for-15 (.133 avg). Valdez is batting .286 overall in 15 games played this season with 10 runs scored.

Catcher Todd Hundley's .339 batting average leads the Padres. Hundley is batting .381 in 7 home games this season.

In 7 home games this season, Ryan Ludwick is 2-for-25 (.080 avg). Ludwick has been hot on the road though, posting 8 hits in 21 at bats (.381 avg) in the last 5 games away from Petco Park.

In 16 career games against the Phillies, Chase Headley has a .224 batting average.

Jorge Cantu is a career .309 hitter in 44 games against the Phillies. Cantu is batting .143 in 8 home games thus far in 2011.

Phillies team batting average- .273
Padres team batting average- .222

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Minor League Round Up, 4/21/11

The season is still brand new, but there have already been plenty of performances worth noting throughout the Phillies developmental system in the early going.

A reputation that has become attached to the Philadelphia organization is that the club is stacked with extremely good talent, but only at the lower levels. From the looks of things this year, the Phillies have players at every level that can and will help the big club in the future.

Here is your report on the Phillies' minor league system through games played on Wednesday, April 20th.


The Triple A Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs have a 7-6 record, which ranks them third in the International League's North Division, 1 game behind first place Scranton and 1/2 game behind second place Pawtucket.

Infielder Ronnie Belliard leads the team in batting, with a .348 batting average through 13 games played. Belliard was an American League All-star in 2004 with Cleveland.

Delwyn Young's 3 homers lead the IronPigs club, but he is batting just .200 on the season.

Right-handed hurler Vance Worley has been strong in Triple A, posting a 1-2 record with a 2.55 ERA and 20 strike outs in 17 2/3 innings pitched. Worley, of course, made his Major League debut with the Phillies last July and went 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA in the big leagues.

In 5 games, reliever Mike Stutes has posted a 2-1 record with a 2.25 ERA and has struck out 12 batters in 8 innings.

Scott Mathieson has no decisions and 1 save through 4 games this season. Still working on the command of his split finger pitch, Mathieson's 6 walks issued lead the team. The 27-year-old Mathieson has a 2.70 ERA this season with the 'Pigs.


The Double A Reading Phillies are currently in first place in the Eastern League's Eastern Division, with a 9-4 record.

Left-handed hitting Matt Rizzotti is back mashing opposing pitching in the EL this season. Rizz is second in the league in batting with a .404 average. He also has 10 doubles, 2 HR, 7 RBI and 13 runs scored through 13 games played.

Corner infielder Cody Overbeck is tops in the EL in homeruns and RBI with 6 and 17 respectively, through 13 games this season. The 24-year-old Overbeck, who was a 9th round draft pick in 2008, hit 24 HR combined last year at High A Clearwater and Reading.

Through 3 starts, Austin Hyatt is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA. Hyatt has also struck out 16 batters in 16 innings. Hyatt, a righty hurler, was a 15th round draft pick in 2009.

Reliever Phillippe Aumont has not allowed an earned run in 5 outings this season, has recorded 1 save and has struck out 9 batters in 6 1/3 innings. Aumont was acquired from Seattle in the 2009 Cliff Lee trade.


The High A Level Clearwater Threshers are 8-6 on the season and are positioned in 3rd place in the Florida State League North Division, 1 game behind Daytona and Lakeland, who each have a 9-5 record.

If you've missed all the buzz about former pitcher Joe Savery, you haven't been reading up on baseball news this season. Savery, the Phillies' top draft pick out of Rice University in 2007, has begun his first full season as an everyday offensive player and has scorched pitching at an exciting pace. Through 13 games, the lefty hitting Savery has posted a league leading .540 batting average while splitting time at designated hitter and first base. Savery batted .348 in 23 games as a batter last season for Lehigh Valley.

Outfielder Leandro Castro has a team leading 3 homers thus far and is batting .304 with a .910 OPS, through 14 games played. Castro, a 21-year-old righty batter, was signed as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2007. He led Class A Lakewood in RBI with 81 last season.

"Moose" Mattair, a friend of this site, has a team leading 13 RBI through 14 games after taking last year off to dabble in Division I college basketball. Mattair, a 22-year-old third baseman who was drafted in the 2nd round in 2007, is batting .267 with 2 homeruns thus far in 2011.

Jonathan Pettibone has been exceptional for the Threshers in the early going. Through 3 starts, the 20-year-old right-hander was regarded as the 4th or 5th best pitching prospect on the Clearwater roster heading into the season, but has led the pack so far with a 2-0 record, a 0.53 ERA and an 11-1 strikeout to walk ratio in 17 innings pitched. Pettibone was the Phillies' 3rd round pick in the 2008 draft.

Minor league Rule 5'er Justin Friend is 5-for-5 in save opportunities for the Threshers. The 24-year-old has a .171 opponents batting average. Friend was originally a 13th round pick by Oakland in 2007.


The Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, the two-time defending South Atlantic League champions, are off to a 6-7 start, 3 games out of first place in the SAL Northern Division.

Virtually the entire lineup for the 'Claws has gotten off to a slow start. Through the team's first 12 games they had scored a minor league low 27 runs. However, in their contest at Asheville on Wednesday, they exploded for 18 runs and 8 of the nine batters in the lineup recorded multiple hits in the break out game.

20-year-old shortstop Edgar Duran leads the team with a .317 batting average. The Venezuela native batted .235 in 71 games last year with short-season Williamsport.

Opening day starter Mario Hollands, has a 2-1 record and a 1.10 ERA through 3 starts for Lakewood. The 22-year-old lefty was a 10th draft pick by Philadelphia in 2010. Hollands' numbers are very impressive considering his fastball maxes out around 87 MPH.

Garett Claypool has been impressive in a dual pitching role for Lakewood so far this season. The right-hander, who was an 11th round draft choice by the Phillies in 2010, has pitched out of the bullpen and will make his 2nd start of the season tonight, as rain outs have forced the BlueClaws to use Claypool as a spot starter. In 8 innings this season, Claypool has struck out 10 and held opponents to a .179 batting average. Claypool is yet to allow an earned run in 2011.

David Buchanan, a 7th round draft pick in 2010, is 2-0 with a 2.55 ERA through 3 starts. Buchanan, a right-hander, is 21-years-old and was previously drafted by the Mets but chose not to sign.


Stay tuned here throughout the season for updates on your Phillies prospects and for the exclusive interviews and minor league content that you won't find anywhere else.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

LHP Prospect Hernandez Has Shoulder Surgery


Phillies left-handed pitching prospect Nick Hernandez underwent successful shoulder surgery on Wednesday in Delaware. The Phillies' 12th round pick in the 2009 amateur draft out of the University of Tennessee, Hernandez, described the current issue as a flare up of his labrum. He began the 2011 season on the disabled list with Lakewood, but stayed behind in Clearwater, FL when the team came north, while members of the training staff continued to evaluate his progress.

The surgery, conducted by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Craig Morgan, will force Hernandez to miss the entire 2011 season.

Hernandez, 22, was an All-star last season with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws in the South Atlantic League, as he posted a 3-1 record with a 1.61 ERA and a .197 batting average against, through 8 starts. However, he was sidelined with a shoulder strain in May. Later in the summer, he made two rehab appearances with the Gulf Coast League Phillies and experienced a setback that kept him from competing for the remainder of the season.

According to Hernandez, he will rest for one week and then commence rehabilitation and strengthening exercises, which are set to last roughly 4 months. He will then work on a throwing program for two months and later toss regular bullpen sessions in recovery months 7 through 8. His time table for a return to regular on-field action will be in 9 months, right on time for some early spring training action in 2012.

All of Hernandez's rehab work will be done at the Phillies' training complex in Clearwater.

The 6-foot-4-inch, 215-pounder expressed gratitude toward for all the support he has received while dealing with his shoulder ailments.

"I just want to thank all the fans, players and the Phillies organization for the support and prayers throughout this whole ordeal."

Hernandez looks forward to getting back to meaningful competition and is already excited for the 2012 season.

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A Healthy Collier Has Sights Set High


LAKEWOOD, NJ- For Zach Collier, a year away from baseball served as a lesson for what is important to him. The 20-year-old outfielder missed the entire 2010 season with various injuries and is back attempting to climb the ladder in the Phillies' developmental system this year with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws.

After being selected out of high school in the supplementary round (34th overall) of the 2008 amateur draft, making his pro debut with the Gulf Coast League Phillies that year and a shaky campaign in 2009, in which he spent time with Lakewood and the short-season Williamsport Crosscutters, while batting .221 in 116 games combined at the two levels, Collier experienced repeated injuries in 2010 that began prior to spring training and kept him from competing for the entire season.

Heading into spring training in 2010, the 6-foot-2-inch 185-pound Collier was dealing with a break of the hamate bone in his right hand that required surgery. In the process of doing rehab work for his hand, Collier suffered a left quadriceps strain in April that set him back further and became recurring. Shortly after that, in May, Collier tore a tendon in his right wrist, which ended his season.

The lengthy time off from playing helped Collier develop patience, as he did not take the news well, once the Phillies' rehabilitation coordinator Brian Cammarota informed Collier that he needed to shut down for the season and allow his body time to heal. After realizing that keeping his mind focused on a quick return wasn't helping, Collier reposed, accepted the situation and began to get his mind and his body right in order to bounce back for the 2011 season.

Collier, who bats and throws lefty, described the feeling of being able to finally play in a meaningful regular season game this season as one of the better moments of his professional career.

"I was just excited to be back on the field," Collier stated. "To be (in Lakewood) in front of great fans, it was really good to be back on the field and finally be part of this atmosphere again. And it's good to be back on track, moving up, and continuing to reach my goals."

The California native is well aware of the high expectations that surround a player taken in such a high draft spot. Collier feels the same way the organization and its fans do toward the sort of success he is anticipated to have in his career.

"I'm very goal oriented. I just want to continue to do the things that I know I can do. (The Phillies) drafted me, so they believe in my abilities to play baseball. As long as I continue to believe in myself, I feel I can very well reach a lot of (my own) goals and move up and pretty much accomplish what they expect out of me," Collier said.

Spring training provided some time for Collier to work off any rust that may have developed during his time off and he was pleased with his own performances prior to the start of the regular season. The repetitions of being back on an everyday schedule were key for the speedy outfielder, who stole 20 bases in 2009 and has 5 steals already this year, to get back to feeling normal.

No part of Collier wished to hold back and play gingerly or give anything less than 100 percent when he began regular workouts and game action at spring training in Clearwater, FL. He felt the time off was plenty for his injuries to heal and he wouldn't get anywhere by taking it easy on his body. Recently, Collier stressed his own matching desire to the Phillies' wishes for their athletes to play aggressively as something that kept him focused on not holding back.

"Once I (tested it), I knew it was good and I could go hard. The Phillies expect everyone to play hard and that's pretty much my outlook as well. That's my main goal," Collier stated.

Collier credits another Phillies minor league outfielder, 28-year-old Jeremy Slayden, who also dealt with a calf issue following his 2009 season as well as other ailments recently, with providing some assistance in staying mentally focused throughout his time on the shelf, while rehabbing the injuries.

"His advice was (uplifting). He'd talk to me about the injuries, keep me focused, tell me to get to know my own body and get to know what my limitations are. He really just helped me stay positive (throughout the process)," Collier said of Slayden, who is currently on Double A Reading's disabled list.

Aside from the obvious goal of staying healthy, Collier has other aspirations for his 2011 season and beyond. Despite a slow start, in which Collier is batting .143 with no RBI through 8 games, Collier's short term plans are pretty big, as he hopes to strive to bring a third consecutive South Atlantic League championship to Lakewood and earn a promotion or two.

"Back-to-back-to-back would be very nice. It's good to have something to look forward to. I kind of feel like we have a good chance of (winning the league title) again. However, my goals will always be to reach the next level. If I'm here with Lakewood, that means getting to Clearwater. If I went to Clearwater tomorrow, then it would be to get to Reading by the end of the season."

It will remain up to Collier to accomplish what he can as he embraces the highs and lows of professional baseball.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Series Preview: Brewers at Phillies, 4/18-4/20


As the core of Philadelphia's highly regarded pitching staff has shined in their most recent outings, it will be up to the team's often forgotten fifth starter Joe Blanton to keep things rolling as the Phillies (10-4) host the Brewers (7-8) for a 3-game series.

Blanton's struggles have been clear in the early going this season. His 10.45 ERA over two starts sits a great distance away from the combined 2.96 ERA of the other four starting pitchers (Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels), over their 12 starts.

In the series opener, Milwaukee will counter with their top hurler, righty Shaun Marcum, who was acquired last off-season in a trade with Toronto. Marcum recorded a victory over the Phillies last year, while with the Blue Jays, as he allowed just 1 earned run and struck out 6 batters in 6 innings of work.

The Phillies won five of the six meetings between these two teams last season.

Read ahead for more details on the pitching match ups and plenty more statistical information on this series.


Monday, 7:05PM. Shaun Marcum (2-1, 2.55 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (0-1, 10.45 ERA). Marcum threw 7 scoreless innings against the Pirates in his last outing. In 3 career starts against the Phillies, Marcum is 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA. Ryan Howard is 2-for-3 against Marcum with 2 homeruns. Blanton's start was pushed back after the Phillies were rained out on Saturday. In 4 career starts against Milwaukee, Blanton is 2-1 with a 5.61 ERA. In 39 career regular season games at Citizens Bank Park, Blanton has a 14-6 record with a 4.12 ERA. Yuniesky Betancourt is 11-for-31 (.355 avg) with a 1.039 OPS in his career against Blanton.

Tuesday, 7:05PM. Randy Wolf (1-2, 4.32 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (2-0, 1.23 ERA). Wolf, a former Phillie, is 10-7 with a 4.24 ERA in 28 career starts at Citizens Bank Park. Carlos Ruiz is 5-for-8 (.625 avg) with 3 doubles, a HR and 3 walks in his career against Wolf. In 2 career starts against the Brewers, Halladay is 1-1 with a 5.54 ERA. Prince Fielder, the only active Brewer with a HR off of Halladay, is 3-for-6 (.500 avg) in his career against him. Righty opponents are batting .154 against Halladay thus far in 2011.

Wednesday, 1:05PM. Chris Narveson (1-0, 1.45 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (2-1, 4.19 ERA). Narveson, a left-hander, allowed 4 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings in his only start against Philadelphia. In 19 road games (14 starts) last year, Narveson posted a 7-4 record with a 4.70 ERA. In Lee's only start against the Brewers, he allowed 7 earned runs in 6 innings pitched and took the loss. Lee threw a complete game shut out against the Nationals in his last start.


Rickie Weeks leads the Brewers in homeruns, with 4. Weeks is 1-for-12 (.083 avg) in his career against Blanton and Halladay. He has not faced Lee.

Milwaukee closer John Axford has an 8.44 ERA thus far in 6 appearances this season. He has an .067 batting average against in 4 career appearances against the Phillies.

In 22 career games against Philadelphia, Ryan Braun has 7 HR, 15 RBI and a .352 batting average.

Placido Polanco is a combined 10-for-22 (.454 avg) in his career against the Brewers' three scheduled starters for this series.

In 7 career games against the Brewers, Phillies reliever Jose Contreras has a 0.00 ERA.

Ben Francisco is a .125 career hitter in 7 games against Milwaukee. In 8 home games this season, Francisco is batting .345 and has a .992 OPS.

Brewers team batting average- .255
Phillies team batting average- .296

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 92

Woodrow "Woodie" Fryman was a pitcher with the Phillies from 1968-1972. The left-handed Fryman made his big league debut in 1966 as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In his two seasons with the Pirates, Fryman posted a 15-17 record and a 3.91 ERA in 64 games.

Following the 1967 season, Fryman was among the group of four players that the Phillies got in exchange for hurler Jim Bunning.

A powerful lefty, who relied on his fastball, Fryman started strong with Philadelphia in 1968. In his third start of the season, he threw a 2-hit shutout against the Astros and in May he tossed back-to-back shutouts against the Cardinals and Metropolitans, allowing a total of 8 hits in those games. Fryman became the Phillies' lone representative in that summer's All-star Game.

Despite the outstanding start that season, a troublesome second half left the Kentucky native, Fryman, with a 12-14 record by season's end, but his 2.71 ERA was evidence of the solid efforts he put forth all year.

The following season, Fryman, who stood 6-feet-3-inches tall and weighed around 200 pounds, posted another dozen wins, but his ERA wasn't as sharp and rose to 4.41 in 36 games. Fryman would miss much of the 1970 season with an elbow issue.

In 1971, Fryman began the season exclusively in the Phillies' bullpen, but eventually reentered the starting rotation and won 10 of his 17 starts, including 2 shutouts.

A slow start in 1972, in which Fryman posted a 4-10 record and a 4.36 ERA, got Fryman placed on waivers. He was claimed by the Tigers and went 10-3 with a 2.06 ERA in the second half of the season, to help Detroit lock down a division title.

Fryman proceeded to post 6-13 and 6-9 records over the next two seasons with Detroit respectively. Those lackluster performances earned him a trip out of town, as the Tigers dealt Fryman to the Expos for catcher Terry Humphrey and pitcher Tom Walker after the 1974 season.

As a member of the Expos pitching staff in 1975, Fryman sported a 9-12 record with a 3.32 ERA. That year he also put together a string of 32 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings. In 1976, Fryman was again an All-star, this time for Montreal, as he had an 8-6 record and a 3.74 ERA at the mid-season point. He ended his 1976 campaign with a 13-13 record, however.

Fryman would continue pitching in the Majors through the 1983 season, spending time with the Reds and Cubs before returning to close out his career with four seasons in the Montreal Expos' bullpen.

By the end of his MLB career, Fryman had thrown 68 complete games, 27 shutouts and recorded 141 wins. In 1995, he was inducted into the Montreal Expos Hall of Fame and in 2005, he was inducted into the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame.

A veteran of 18 Major League seasons, Woodie Fryman passed away this year at the age of 70.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Series Preview: Marlins at Phillies, 4/15-4/17


Fresh off a pair of exceptional pitching outings in which Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee tossed the first back to back complete game for the Phillies (9-3) in 12 years, the 4-time defending National League East Division champions return home for a three-game series against the Florida Marlins (7-5).

Against the Nationals on the road this week, Halladay and Lee were strong on the mound. The Marlins will be fortunate to miss each of those pitching stars, but will attempt to take down the balance of the Phillies' well regarded pitching rotation.

In game one of the series, Roy Oswalt looks to remain undefeated in his career at Citizens Bank Park. He will face veteran hurler Javier Vazquez, who hasn't had the same sort of success in Philadelphia.

Read ahead for details on that pitching match up and the others, as well as loads more statistics from this weekend match up.


Friday, 7:05PM. Javier Vazquez (1-1, 8.64 ERA) vs. Roy Oswalt (2-0, 2.25 ERA). The righty Vazquez is 12-8 with a 4.27 ERA in 28 career starts against the Phillies. In 4 career starts at Citizens Bank Park, Vazquez has a 1-2 record with a 6.08 ERA. Ross Gload is 16-for-35 (.457 avg) with 3 doubles, 2 triples, a HR and 7 RBI against Vazquez in his career. In 14 career starts against Florida, Oswalt is 6-4 with a .377 ERA and a .257 batting average against. In 14 career games at Citizens Bank Park, including the postseason, Oswalt is 11-0 with a 2.21 ERA. Hanley Ramirez is 11-for-28 (.393 avg) with 3 HR in his career against Oswalt.

Saturday, 7:05PM. Anibal Sanchez (0-1, 6.97 ERA) vs, Cole Hamels (1-1, 5.59 ERA). The 27-year-old Sanchez is 3-7 with a 5.93 ERA in 11 career starts against the Phillies. In 7 career starts at Citizens Bank Park, Sanchez has a 1-5 record with an 8.73 ERA. Placido Polanco is 5-for-10 (.500 avg) with a double, a triple and a HR in his career against Sanchez. In 15 career starts against the Marlins, Hamels has a 4-7 record with a 3.73 ERA. In 18 home starts last season, Hamels posted a 3.14 ERA. Chris Coghlan is 6-for-13 (.462 avg) with 2 homers in his career against Hamels.

Sunday, 1:35PM. Chris Volstad (0-1, 5.59 ERA) vs Joe Blanton (0-1, 10.45 ERA). The right-handed Volstad psoted a 5.73 ERA in 15 road starts last season. In 10 career starts against the Phils, Volstad is 2-3 with a 4.45 ERA. Raul Ibanez is 10-for-19 (.526 avg) with a triple and 3 homeruns in his career against the Marlins' 2005 top draft pick Volstad. Blanton is 5-2 with a 3.12 ERA in 8 career starts against the Marlins. Opponents are batting .378 against Blanton this season.


Hanley Ramirez is batting .214 with a .603 OPS against righty pitchers this season, while he has posted a .364 average and a .909 OPS against lefties.

In 22 career games against the Phillies, Chris Coghlan has a .357 batting average. Against the Phillies' three scheduled starting pitchers for this series, Coghlan is 16-for-27 (.444 avg).

Marlins closer Leo Nunez has 1 blown save in 8 chances against the Phillies. Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins and Ben Francisco are a combined 1-for-15 (.067 avg) against Nunez.

Ryan Howard ranks 3rd in the National League and leads the Phillies with 13 RBI.

In 44 career games against the Marlins, Raul Ibanez is a .325 hitter with 7 HR. Ibanez posted a .367 average in 18 games against Florida last season.

In the last week, Carlos Ruiz is 10-for-20 (.500 avg) with 2 HR and 6 RBI.

Marlins team batting average- .264.
Phillies team batting average- .306.

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Aaron Altherr Interview with PhoulBallz.com

After splitting his second season of professional baseball with the Gulf Coast League Phillies and the Williamsport Crosscutters, outfielder Aaron Altherr is already turning heads and moving up the Phillies prospect rankings at a fast pace. A 9th round selection in the 2009 draft, the 20-year-old Altherr is known to be a contact hitter and an outfielder with terrific range.

The right-handed hitting Altherr debuted with the Gulf Coast League Phillies after signing his first professional contract in 2009 and batted .214 with 1 HR, 11 RBI and 6 steals in 28 games. In 1 less game played in the GCL this past season, Altherr showed improvement and posted a .304 batting average with 1 HR, 15 RBI and 10 steals. He was promoted to Williamsport on July 22nd.

With the short-season Crosscutters of the New York-Penn League, Altherr continued a strong season with a .287 average, 7 doubles, 3 triples, 10 RBI and 2 steals in 28 games.

Now playing with the Class A level Lakewood BlueClaws in the South Atlantic League this season, Altherr has big aspirations to continue his progression and to help the club make a run for a third consecutive league title.

I spoke with Altherr this week about his goals for this year, his draft experience, his playing style and much more. Use the media player below to listen to the full interview.



Click the links below to check out more recent exclusive interviews...

Lakewood manager and former Major Leaguer Chris Truby

The Phillies' third round draft pick from 2010, Cameron Rupp

2010 first round draft pick Jesse Biddle, who grew up as a Phillies phan

Lakewood closer and UC Irvine grad Eric Pettis

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Garett Claypool Game Footage & Postgame Comments

On Wednesday, relief pitcher Garett Claypool made a spot start in game 2 of Class A Lakewood's double header against the Greensboro Grasshoppers (Marlins affiliate).

Claypool, an 11th round selection by Philadelphia in last year's amateur draft, performed great. In 4 innings, the 22-year-old right-hander struck out 7 batters, walked 1 and allowed no runs while scattering 4 hits.

The California native, who stands 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 175 pounds, pitched with short-season Williamsport last season, after signing with the Phillies. In 12 games (4 starts) with the Crosscutters in 2010, Claypool posted a 3-3 record with 45 strike outs in 34 innings.

Check out the media player below to see footage of Claypool's wind up and hear his comments from an exclusive postgame interview. Also, click HERE for the game story.

Link


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BlueClaws Split Double Header

LAKEWOOD, NJ- After dropping somewhat of an agonizing contest in the front end of the double header Wednesday night, the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws rode strong pitching and some luck into a split of the two seven-inning games.

In the opener, the Marlins affiliate, the Greensboro Grasshoppers, touched up Lakewood starter Ervin Manzanillo for 7 earned runs over 2-plus innings pitched, and the defending South Atlantic League champions cold not bounce back. Greensboro downed the BlueClaws 9-2 in the night's first game.

First baseman Jim Murphy homered to lead off the bottom of the second inning, in the night cap, to put Lakewood up 1-0.

Murphy bats in the 2nd game of Wednesday's double header

The BlueClaws offense struggled to get much more done throughout the remainder of the game, but managed to add 3 more runs in the bottom of the 6th inning, when catcher Torre Langley plated Aaron Altherr with a sacrifice fly, and a double steal led to two runs. With runners on 1st and 3rd, Anthony Hewitt safely swiped 2nd base, which allowed Geancarlo Mendez to break for home and score. A throwing error by shortstop Daniel Black on the play and the hustle of Hewitt, who also scored, gave Lakewood a 4-0 lead.

The BlueClaws notched just 3 hits in the victory. Manager Chris Truby, speaking after the game, addressed the limited offense and the luck that played a factor in Lakewood's victory.

"They handed us, basically, two runs on that (play in the 6th). We'll take it any way we can. We're obviously struggling to score runs, so whenever we get a chance to take advantage of some mistakes, we'll take it," Truby said.

Eric Pettis, entered the game to close things out and the extra runs proved valuable as the Grasshoppers forced two runners across home plate in the 7th. Pettis, however, shut the door and sealed the win to send the BlueClaws to a 3-3 record on the season.

Right-hander Garett Claypool, who was drafted in the 11th round out of UCLA by the Phillies in 2010, made the spot start for the club and tossed 4 sharp innings, striking out 7 Greensboro batters and walking just 1 in the process.

According to Truby, Claypool received less than a day's notice that he would be making the start. Claypool played it cool however, sticking to the frame of mind of "I just want to pitch."

"Pitching is pitching," Claypool stated. "So, whether you're starting or relieving you've just gotta go out there and throw strikes. Luckily, I was getting ahead of guys and I had all my pitches working, so everything worked out."

Juan Sosa, a 21-year-old righty from the Dominican Republic, threw 2 scoreless innings to earn the win for the BlueClaws.

Murphy's homerun was his second of the season, and the team's second also. Murphy was selected in the 17th round by the Phillies in the 2007 draft out of Washington State University.

Lakewood and Greensboro go back at it on Thursday at 6:35 PM in the series finale. Lakewood will then hit the road for the first time this season for a 9-game stretch.


In other news...a contact within the Phillies organization has told PhoulBallz and PhilliesNation that highly regarded prospect Brody Colvin will miss just one turn in the Clearwater Threshers' rotation. Colvin was placed on the 7-day disabled list on Monday with a mild back strain. Tyler Cloyd is a likely option to fill the void temporarily.

Triple A Lehigh Valley was rained out in Rochester on Wednesday. The teams will play a double header on Thursday, beginning at 12:05 PM.

The Reading Phillies won their match up with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on Wednesday by a score of 4-1. Austin Hyatt earned the win, to take his record to 2-0 on the season. Second baseman Harold Garcia went 3-for-4 for the R-Phils. Phillippe Aumont threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings to earn his first save of the season.

The Threshers won their match up with the Daytona Cubs, 2-1, on Wednesday. Jonathan Pettibone went 6 innings, allowing just 1 earned run. Justin Friend earned his 3rd save of the season with a scoreless 9th inning. Joe Savery slapped another couple of hits in this contest to drop his batting average to .640...yes, .640!

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Catching Prospect Cameron Rupp Interview

Cameron Rupp is a catching prospect currently playing with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. The righty hitting Rupp was drafted in the third round of the 2010 amateur draft by the Phillies, after his junior season at the University of Texas.

Rupp, who lives in Plano, TX, a suburb of Dallas, was assigned to short-season Williamsport after signing his first professional contract last year. In 55 games with the Crosscutters in the New York-Penn League, Rupp posted a .218 batting average with 5 homeruns and 28 RBI. Following the season, the 22-year-old Rupp participated in the Florida Instructional League.

Off to a slow start, batting .182 through 3 games with Lakewood, Rupp is anxious for the weather and his bat to heat up, as he plans to help the BlueClaws chase a third consecutive South Atlantic League championship this year.

Last week, I spoke with Cameron about his draft process, his new home ballpark, joining the Twitter community and plenty more. Check out the media player below to listen to excerpts of the interview.



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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Series Preview: Phillies at Nationals, 4/12-4/14


The big story of the Phillies vs. Nationals series will, of course, be Jayson Werth's first meeting with his former team after signing a massive free agent contract last off-season. After helping the Phillies win four straight National League East Division championships, Werth signed a 7-year $126 million deal with the Washington Nationals.

Werth, who is off to a slow start, is looking to help his new club turn things around in the division as his 4-5 Nats host the 7-2 Phillies for a three-game series at Nationals Park.

In the opening game of the series, right-hander Joe Blanton, who is hoping to put a weak season debut behind him, will take on veteran righty Livan Hernandez.

Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups and more key details on this series.


Tuesday, 7:05PM. Joe Blanton (0-0, 14.54 ERA) vs. Livan Hernandez (0-1, 4.76 ERA). In 12 career starts against the Nats, Blanton has a 3-3- record with 5.73 ERA. In 14 road games last season, Blanton posted a 5.47 ERA. Ivan Rodriguez is 6-for-16 (.375 avg) in his career against Blanton. In 27 career starts against the Phillies, Hernandez has a 11-10 record with a 3.60 ERA. In 26 starts at Nationals Park, Hernandez is 9-10 with a 4.30 ERA. Jimmy Rollins is 13-for-61 (.213 avg) with 2 homers in his career against Hernandez.

Wednesday, 7:05PM. Roy Halladay, (1-0, 0.69 ERA) vs. John Lannan (1-0, 3.60 ERA). In 12 career games against the Nationals, Halladay has an 8-1 record with a 1.96 ERA. In 2 starts at Nationals Park last season, Halladay went 2-0 and allowed just 1 earned run in 16 innings pitched. Ivan Rodriguez is 14-for-35 (.400 avg) in his career against Halladay. In 11 career starts against the Phillies, the lefty Lannan has a record of 0-8 with a 6.09 ERA and a .313 batting average against. Lannan had just 2 wins at home last season in 13 starts. Raul Ibanez is 10-for-15 (.667 avg) in his career, with a double, a triple and 2 homeruns against Lannan.

Thursday, 7:05PM. Cliff Lee (1-1, 7.84 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (1-1, 3.18 ERA). In 2 career starts against Washington, Lee is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA. Ivan Rodriguez is 12-for-32 (.375 avg) in his career against Lee. The righty Zimmermann has allowed 11 earned runs in 8 career innings pitched against the Phillies. In 25 career starts, Zimmermann has a 5-8 record and a 4.58 ERA.


Placido Polanco is a career .328 hitter against the Nationals in 84 games. In 7 games last season at Nationals Park, Polanco went 10-for-31 (.452 avg).

Ryan Howard is just 1-for-11 (.091 avg) in 3 road games this season. In 25 career games at Nationals Park, Howard has a .929 OPS.

Prior to this season, Shane Victorino batting first in the batting order was 138-for-511 (.270 avg). In 2011, Victorino batting first in the batting order is 14-for-34 (.412 avg).

Former Phillie Jayson Werth is batting .200 with 1 HR and 1 RBI in 9 games this season with Washington. In 28 career games at Nationals Park, Werth has a .316 average and a .983 OPS.

Ian Desmond is a career .293 hitter in 21 games against the Phillies. Desmond is 6-for-14 (.429 avg) with 2 doubles and homer and 6 RBI against Blanton.

Phillies team batting average- .334.
Nationals team batting average- .217.

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Image- AP

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Barnes Benefits From Training and MLB Exposure

LAKEWOOD, NJ- Minor leaguer Jeremy Barnes is starting out the 2011 season with the same team he was with last year, but if you ask Barnes, he'd tell you that he has absolutely made progress. Barnes, an infielder with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, spent his winter in the home town of his MLB parent club, the Philadelphia Phillies, working on improving himself as an athlete.

Barnes was selected in the 11th round of the 2009 amateur draft out of the University of Notre Dame. As a member of the Fighting Irish, Barnes had his first connection to the Phillies organization even before he was drafted. While there, he wore the same jersey number, 20, that Philadelphia reliever Brad Lidge once sported while on the Notre Dame baseball team.

Barnes, who turns 24-years-old this week, has been an all-star in each of his two professional seasons. In 2009 he batted .287 with 4 homers and 27 RBI in 55 games to become an all-star for the short-season Williamsport Crosscutters of the New York-Penn League, then in 2010, he posted a .292 average with 4 homeruns and 51 RBI in 109 games and represented the BlueClaws in the South Atlantic League All-star Game.

Despite that solid success, however, the right-handed hitting Barnes had an opportunity to improve during the winter months and he took advantage of it. Barnes received a proposal to reside in Philadelphia throughout the off-season and work out at the Power Train Sports Institute from a contact within the Phillies organization.

"I know a guy named Rob Potts, who throws batting practice for the Phillies, that asked if I wanted to come work out at Power Train and hit in the cages, so I took him up on the offer," Barnes said. "It was great and I plan on doing it again next off-season."

Power Train is known for hosting, and providing elite training to, professional athletes in varying sports at the company's locations all over the region.

"I had a really productive off-season. I ended up working out with (Phillies left fielder) Raul Ibanez four or five days a week. It was a good situation with me, had a lot of fun and learned a lot," Barnes said.

Both Barnes and Ibanez, who met at the company's Cherry Hill, NJ training center, worked closely with the staff, who provided a conditioning and strengthening routine designed to develop endurance and enhance performance.

"It wasn't necessarily Raul's (routine) or mine that we did, but we had trainers and we'd go and meet there and do their routines and go hit on our own. My trainer, Ryan Stack, was unbelievable. I worked closely with him and I think I gained a lot of strength and he got me where I need to be," Barnes added.

The hard work paid off quickly for the 5-foot-10-inch, 195 pound Barnes, who has been manning 3rd base on the field and had a strong spring. Lakewood manager Chris Truby took notice and has penciled Barnes, who batted toward the bottom of the BlueClaws' batting order last season, into the third spot in the lineup for the two-time defending South Atlantic League champions.

"I feel good with where my swing is, I'm a year older and hopefully better prepared. As far as hitting in the 3 hole, I'm still trying to accomplish the same things...still trying to hit the ball hard. When guys are on, the goal is to drive them in, whether I'm in the 3 hole or in the 9 hole."

Barnes was fortunate enough to test his extensive off-season work during spring training by facing a few Major League pitchers. AJ Burnett of the Yankees, the Phillies' own Roy Oswalt and Brett Cecil from the Blue Jays were the established hurlers that Barnes batted against in Florida this spring. Barnes saw success against the big shots, slamming a homer off of Burnett and lacing a double against Cecil.

"It was just big to see that I could get in there and have success at that level and against big league pitching. Now, I just want to keep using what I worked on in the off-season and keep growing in myself and in what I am trying to accomplish at the plate. I had a good spring training and now I'm ready for the full season." ___________________________________________________________

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Monday, April 11, 2011

RHP Prospect Colvin to Disabled List

In Sunday's Clearwater Threshers contest against the Dunedin Blue Jays, highly regarded starting pitcher Brody Colvin was pulled from the game after pitching just 2 innings in his High A level debut. In the game, Colvin's pitch count was reportedly on the high side and he gave up 3 hits, walked 1 batter, struck out none and was charged with 3 runs, 2 of which were earned.

According to two sources within the Phillies organization, the circumstances related to Colvin's brief outing were "not serious".

Those who follow the minors closely might recall top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart's brief 2/3 inning outing last June in Delmarva, when he was a member of the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. The initial statement on Cosart's early removal was that the decision was simply related to his high pitch count. However, it was later revealed that Cosart left the game with elbow discomfort and he missed the remainder of the season, as he allowed the ailment to heal.

**Update, Monday 5:03 PM- Reports out of Florida state that Brody Colvin has been placed on the 7-day disabled list with a back ailment. The team currently stands by the "not serious" label as it pertains to the situation.

If more updates become available regarding Colvin's status, you can find them right here.

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Converted Pitcher Savery Off to Torrid Start

Former Phillies top draft pick Joe Savery has been on an early season rampage since the minor league season began on Thursday. The 25-year-old is beginning his first full professional season as an everyday offensive player, after the Phillies made the decision late last season to convert the 6-foot-3-inch specimen from a pitcher.

Savery was selected 19th overall by Philadelphia in the opening round of the 2007 amateur draft out of Rice University.

In four seasons as a pitcher in the Phillies' organization, Savery posted a 28-31 record with a 4.29 ERA. The Texas native was named an all-star of the Double A Eastern League in 2009 when he posted a 12-4 record before being promoted to Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Last year, as a member of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Savery struggled and posted a 1-12 record and a 4.66 ERA in 28 games (19 starts) on the mound. However, at the plate, Savery shined, going 16-for-48 (.348 avg) with an OPS of .826.

Now, down a pair of levels and focusing strictly on hitting, Savery is off to a scorching hot start and has helped the Clearwater Threshers achieve a franchise best start by winning each of its first four contests. In a four-game series over the weekend, against the Dunedin Blue Jays, Savery ripped nearly everything that came his way, going 12-for-15 (.800 avg) with 2 doubles and a homerun. Savery's OPS stands at an astounding 1.946.

This is not Savery's first go around as a hitter because, much like many collegiate pitchers, he played a position when he wasn't on the mound prior to turning pro. As a freshman at Rice in 2005, Savery led the Western Athletic Conference in batting with a .382 batting average and was named to the all-conference team as a pitcher and a first baseman. He was also named National Freshman of the Year. One year later, Savery continued to excel, when he sported a .335 average with 66 RBI in 68 games played with the Owls. In 2007, prior to being drafted by the Phillies, Savery led his team in hitting.

While Savery's ceiling as a hurler was once in question, the inquiry that now resounds is "How early can a player's performance command a promotion?" If there was ever a prospect who proved himself a graduate of a league after four games, it could very well be the offensive catalyst Joe Savery with the Threshers of the Florida State League here in 2011.

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Eric Pettis Speaks with PhoulBallz.com

Righty pitcher Eric Pettis was drafted by the Phillies in the 35th round of the 2010 amateur draft. After signing with the Phils, Pettis was assigned to short-season Williamsport where he proceeded to mow down opposing batters in the New York-Penn League and proved himself to be a late round steal. In 20 games (5 starts) with the Crosscutters, Pettis posted an 8-0 record with 7 saves, a 1.37 ERA and 67 strike outs in 59 innings pitched.

The 22-year-old Pettis later joined the Class A BlueClaws for their run into the postseason and helped the club lock down a second consecutive South Atlantic League title.

Now, back with the BlueClaws to make a run at a threepeat, Pettis will be sharing duties at the back end of the bullpen. This week, prior to the BlueClaws' exhibition game against the Monmouth University Hawks, I spoke with Eric about his coaches, his spring training highlights and more. Check out the media player below to listen to the interview.



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Friday, April 8, 2011

Series Preview: Phillies at Braves, 4/8-4/10

The four-time defending National League East division champion Phillies head to Atlanta this weekend to take on the team that many experts say has the greatest chance to dethrone the kings of the east.

In Atlanta's home opener, the Braves will send Tim Hudson to the mound, as the Phillies counter with top off-season free agent acquisition Cliff Lee. The return of Lee to Philadelphia drew many comparisons, for the Phillies' starting rotation, to the Braves well known pitching staff of the 1990's that included Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz.

Read ahead for analysis on the pitching match ups for this series as well as plenty more key stats.


Friday, 7:05pm. Cliff Lee (1-0, 3.86 ERA) vs. Tim Hudson (1-0, 1.29 ERA). Lee has made 2 career starts at Turner Field and has a 1-0 record with a 2.45 ERA in those games. April is Lee's best career month for ERA at 2.88. In 18 career games against the Phillies, Hudson has a 6-7 record with a 3.79 ERA. In 82 career starts at Turner Field, Hudson has an impressive 40-23 record with a 3.32 ERA. Ryan Howard is 14-for-41 (.341 avg) with 9 walks, 6 HR and 12 RBI in his career against Hudson.

Saturday, 1:10pm. Roy Oswalt (1-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. Brandon Beachy (0-0, 1.50 ERA). In 9 career games against the Braves, Oswalt is 0-3 with a 6.21 ERA. Since joining the Phillies, Oswalt has a 1.83 ERA in 14 regular season games. Dan Uggla is 3-for-20 (.150 avg) in his career against Oswalt. Beachy, the 24-year-old righty, will be making his fifth career big league start. In two starts against the Phillies last year, Beachy went 0-2, but only allowed 3 earned runs over 10 innings (2.70 ERA).

Sunday, 1:35pm. Cole Hamels (0-1, 20.25 ERA) vs. Derek Lowe (1-1, 0.77 ERA). In 19 career starts against Atlanta, the lefty Hamels has posted a 9-5 record with a 3.95 ERA. In 9 career starts at Turner Field, Hamels is 4-3 with a 4.44 ERA. Dan Uggla is 6-for-37 (.162 avg) in his career against Hamels. In 4 starts against the Phillies last season, Lowe had a 1-3 record with a 5.04 ERA. In 17 home starts in 2010, Lowe posted a 10-5 record with a 3.72 ERA. Raul Ibanez is the only active Phillie with a HR (he has 2) against Lowe, however, Ibanez is just 5-for-37 (.135 avg) against Lowe in his career.


Carlos Ruiz was 15-for-40 (.375 avg) against the Braves last season. Ruiz is 3-for-4 with 2 doubles against Beachy.

Placido Polanco, who is batting .440 in the early going this season, has 4 multi-hit games in his last 5 games played. Polanco is a career .321 hitter against the Braves.

Shane Victorino is 11-for-61 (.180 avg) in his career against Hudson, Beachy and Lowe. Shane batted .156 in 8 games at Turner Field last season, but is a .301 hitter in 43 career games there.

Braves catcher Brian McCann is just 1-for-16 (.063 avg) in his career against Phillies reliever JC Romero. McCann hit .218 in 17 games against the Phillies last year.

Chipper Jones is a career .337 hitter in 218 games against the Phillies. Jones' 45 homeruns against the Phillies are the most he has against any MLB team.

In 13 games against the Phillies, Jason Heyward is 7-for-43 (.163 avg) with a homer and 3 steals.

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BlueClaws Record First Ever Home Opener Victory

It took the club 11 tries, but the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws finally won a home opener on Thursday night. Behind solid pitching from lefty starter Mario Hollands, Tyler Knigge and Eric Pettis, the two-time defending South Atlantic League champions locked down the 2-0 win over the White Sox affiliate, the Kannapolis Intimidators.

The offense for both teams was minimal, but Lakewood first baseman Jim Murphy got the 'Claws on the board in the 2nd inning, when he led off the frame with a deep drive onto the left field berm off of Kannapolis right-hander, former Monmouth University stand out, Ryan Buch.

"Our pitching was the story. And obviously, Murphy coming up with a big hit, in his first at bat, just to get us on the board was key," said first-year BlueClaws manager Chris Truby.

On an evening that began with the raising of the team's second straight title banner, the BlueClaws didn't get their second hit of the game until the 7th inning when third baseman Jeremy Barnes led off with a single and later scored on another single by 18-year-old outfielder Domingo Santana.

"It was a slow start offensively," Truby said. "I think that's to be expected a little bit. Maybe some of the players had some first game butterflies and what not, but it's good to get the first one out of the way and walk out of here with the W."

Truby, who played in the Major Leagues for four different teams previously managed most of the players on his roster when they came through short-season Williamsport, where Truby was the skipper during the past two seasons.

Hollands, a 22-year-old lefty hurler, tossed 5 scoreless innings, scattering five hits and striking out three en route to the win. Last year's 10th round draft selection by the Phillies was excited to help the BlueClaws end their home opener winless streak in front of 6,598 fans at FirstEnergy Park.

"It was beautiful seeing all the fans out there and such a large amount of them. It makes it easier to pitch with that behind you," Hollands said.

Hollands warming up during Thursday's opener

The California native, Hollands, stressed the crisp 48 degree temperature as a potential reason that the bats stayed cold throughout much of the contest.

"I think (the weather) effected everyone. It was pretty damn cold out there, but we did just enough and the defense and pitching took care of things," Hollands said.

Knigge (pronounced Ka-NIG-ee) and Pettis each tossed 2 perfect innings in relief. Pettis, who earned the save, will share time closing games early this season with two other right-handers, Juan Sosa and Chase Johnson, according to Truby.

Murphy, a 17th round draft pick by the Phillies in 2006, helped the BlueClaws win the SAL title in 2009, but returned to Lakewood this year after struggling and posting a .239 average in 115 games with High A level Clearwater last season. Happy to be contributing, the 25-year-old hopes to enjoy success with the 'Claws once again and use that to propel himself back upward in the organization.

"I kind of had a down year last year, and my goal coming in was just to play another season. I didn't care where it was. I didn't think coming back here was (a possibility), but I am happy to be here, back in Lakewood. It's a fun city to play in, with good fans," Murphy stated.

"I just want to come out here and bang, and hopefully move up."

The BlueClaws and Intimidators go back at it, continuing their four game series, on Friday night, as last year's 7th round draft pick righty David Buchanan takes on the White Sox' 2nd round pick from 2010 right-hander Jake Petricka at 7:05pm.


**More opening night action around the system...

Triple A Lehigh Valley recorded a 7-2 win at home over the SW-B Yankees. Jeff Larish and Delwyn Young each blasted homeruns for the IronPigs while Vance Worley struck out 9 batters over 6 shutout innings to earn the win. Brandon Moss went 3-for-4 as the designated hitter for the winners.

In his Double A debut, righty hurler Josh Zeid took the loss as Reading fell in Portland, 4-3. Tuffy Gosewisch jacked a homer for the R-Phils while Freddy Galvis drove in 2 runs, in the losing effort.

High-A Clearwater won their opener by a score of 10-1 over the Dunedin Blue Jays. The Threshers were led by top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart, who allowed just 2 hits over 6 innings, but the standout in the box score was converted pitcher and former top Phillies draft pick Joe Savery, who went 4-for-4 with a walk as the designated hitter.

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