Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ryan Howard Tailgates with Eagles Fans


Ladies and gentlemen, pictured above is Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard enjoying some tailgate festivities prior to Sunday's Eagles/Cowboys game outside Lincoln Financial Field.

Howard, who recently underwent surgery to repair his ruptured left Achilles tendon, was spotted partying, with crutches in tow.

This week the Phillies announced that Howard had progressed to partial weight bearing status. The three-time All-Star has begun a rehabilitation program in Philadelphia.

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Picture courtesy of friend of Mrs. Ballz, Deanna.

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Mackanin, Svuem to Interview For Boston Job

The Boston Red Sox are set to interview Philadelphia Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin and Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum for their vacant managerial position this week, according to WEEI radio in Boston.

Mackanin and Sveum will be the first two candidates interviewed by Boston to replace Terry Francona, whose contract was not renewed after a tremendous collapse, as the season drew to a close, that led to the Red Sox missing the playoffs.

The 60-year-old Mackanin previously managed the Pirates and Reds in an interim capacity and managed several minor league clubs. Mackanin played in the big leagues with the Rangers, Expos, Phillies and Twins.

Mackanin has served as the Phillies' bench coach, under manager Charlie Manuel, for the past two seasons.

Svuem, 48, previously coached for the Red Sox from 2004-2005. A former big leaguer, Svuem played for the Phillies, Brewers, Pirates, Yankees, Athletics, Mariners and White Sox. Since 2006 during his tenure with the Brewers, Svuem has held multiple coaching positions including third base coach, hitting coach, bench coach and interim manager.

Additional candidates are likely to interview for Boston's managerial gig in the coming weeks as well.

The potential subtraction of Mackanin would open a vacancy on the Phillies' big league coaching staff. Such an opening could allow Philadelphia to keep Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs manager Ryne Sandberg in the organization. Sandberg, a Hall of Fame player, has been rumored to be on his way out of the Phillies developmental system in favor of a big league position with another club.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Phils Prospect Lisalberto Bonilla Footage

Dominican born right-hander Lisalberto Bonilla took great strides in the Phillies developmental system during the 2011 season. As hurlers like Justin De Fratus, Julio Rodriguez, Jesse Biddle and Trevor May excelled on the mound and proved worthy of their high prospect rankings within the organization, they were joined by a fast rising star with great control and a solid repertoire.

Bonilla sports a fastball that regularly reaches the mid-90's as well as a great change up and an always-improving slider.

Signed by the Phillies in 2008, Bonilla made his professional debut with the Dominican Summer League Phillies the following year, posting a 6-2 record with a 1.41 ERA and a .189 batting average against in 11 games, all starts.

In 2010, Bonilla split his season with the Gulf Coast League Phillies and the short season Williamsport Crosscutters. In 16 combined games, Bonilla went 3-4 with a 3.99 ERA.

The 6-feet-1-inch 170-pound Bonilla began the 2011 season in extended spring training, but joined the Class-A Lakewood BlueClaws in time to earn a spot on the South Atlantic League mid-season All-Star team. Overall, Bonilla posted a 4-5 record with a 2.80 ERA with 95 strike outs in 106 innings. The 21-year-old appeared in 26 games, 15 of which were starts.

Late in the 2011 regular season, Bonilla was ranked among the Phillies' top 20 prospects in a survey of minor league experts conducted by The Reading Eagle.

The native of Samana, DR has participated in the Florida Instructional League following each of the past two seasons.

Below is some exclusive footage of Lisalberto in action this past season.




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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Galvis Returns & Other Caribbean League Notes

Phillies shortstop prospect Freddy Galvis returned to action on with the Aguilas del Zulia on Wednesday, going 0-for-3 with a walk. The 21-year-old had missed nine days of action with a right wrist ailment that required fluid to be drained from a cyst.

Overall in 5 games in the Venezuelan Winter League, the switch-hitting Galvis, has gone 3-for-14 (.214 avg) with no extra base hits.

Combined at Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley during the 2011 regular season, Galvis posted a .278 batting average with 8 HR and 43 RBI.

The Venezuela native, who is strong in the field, stands a good chance of reaching the big leagues next season.

Infielder Carlos Rivero, who was claimed by the Phillies last off-season from Cleveland, hasn't had much success in the early going. The 23-year-old has gone just 1-for-16 through 5 games with the Leones del Caracas in Venezuela. His lone hit was a homerun. Another Venezuela born player, Rivero had a strong season (.270/.326/.440) combined with Reading and Lehigh Valley.

Well-regarded second baseman Cesar Hernandez is 8-for-34 (.235 avg) with the Bravos de Margarita. The switch hitting 21-year-old posted a .268/.306/.333 line in 119 games with the High A level Clearwater Threshers during the 2011 regular season.

Ervis Manzanillo has made one scoreless relief appearance for the Navegantes del Magallanes in Venezuela. During the 2011 regular season, the 20-year-old Manzanillo had some ups and downs with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, posting an 8-7 record with a 5.02 ERA with a .257 batting average against in 26 games (25 starts).

Veteran left-handed pitcher Les Walrond has appeared in 2 games with the Tiburones de La Guaira in Venezuela. In 2 starts, Walrond, who will soon turn 35, has a 1.43 ERA with 8 strike outs and 3 walks. The Oklahoma native rocked a 1.80 ERA in 33 combined games with Reading and Lehigh Valley in 2011.

Scott Podsednik, Scott Mathieson and Justin Friend are all assigned to rosters in the Venezuelan Winter League, however none of them have seen game action just yet.

In the Dominican Winter League, lefty hurler Ryan Edell has gone 1-1 with a 3.72 ERA in 2 starts for the Estrellas de Oriente. Edell, 28, sported a 10-6 record with a 3.38 ERA in 29 games with Reading and Lehigh Valley this past regular season.

Outfielder Rich Thompson, who was a key contributor throughout the 2011 season with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs, has a .211 batting average and 7 stolen bases through 5 games played with the Estrellas de Oriente in the Dominican league.

Veteran minor league infielder Ozzie Chavez has gone 2-for-4 in 4 games with the Toros del Este in the Dominican league. The 28-year-old Chavez played in 42 combined games for Reading and Lehigh Valley in 2011.

19-year-old pitcher Fabian Cota has posted a 9.82 ERA and a save in 6 relief appearances with the Caneros de los Mochis in the Mexican Winter League. Five of Cota's six outings have been scoreless, so his numbers are greatly effected by one considerably poor effort. In 15 games with the Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2011, the Mexican lefty recorded a 1-0 record with a 3.52 ERA.


Former Phillie check in...

Mike Zagurski has appeared in 5 games with the Estrellas of the Dominican league. The lefty has recorded 1 save with a 1.93 ERA in 4 2/3 innings of relief.

Tomas Perez, in 5 games with the Cardenales de Lara, has a .273 average with 3 RBI. The 37-year-old infielder stays active playing in his native Venezuela. Perez played with the Phillies for six seasons.

Chris Roberson has continued his career in fine fashion down in Mexico. The one-time Phillies outfielder posted a .337/.417/.534 line during the 2011 regular season in Mexico. The 32-year-old is now batting .302 with 3 doubles, a triple and a HR in 13 games for first place Mexicali in the Mexican Winter League.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Phillies Brass Already Focused on 2012

On Monday, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was a guest on WIP's Mike & Ike program and discussed his mindset soon after his club took an early bow from the MLB playoff picture and other subjects.

Asked if he took time off to get away after the Phillies were ousted from the opening round of the playoffs by St. Louis, Amaro Jr. spoke of staying focused on his organization going forward.

"I don't take too long," Amaro Jr. stated. "We've talked with our scouts. We've had a couple of conference calls and meetings- several of them. And we've been doing a couple of different things, but, certainly, lining up for 2012 and beyond has been most of the theme for most of our meetings."

The third-year GM also pointed out that he has already had discussions regarding some off-season swaps.

"We'll be ready to strike if there's a deal to be made, either by signing somebody or trading for somebody...I've already had several discussions with several teams about possible trades," Amaro Jr. added.

Amaro Jr. isn't in the dark and realizes, just as many folks around baseball do, that the Phillies' average player age is rising. That is a particular issue that is of considerable concern to the front office.

"I think that there's things we can do to try to improve and try to get ourselves a little bit younger," Amaro Jr. said, adding that John Mayberry Jr. would be a way for the team to add youth, if he becomes a regular contributor next year.

Also, during the interview, in response to an inquiry regarding if he shares the same feeling that many Phillies have, in relation to being so let down by the Phils' shortcomings this postseason and not having interest in watching the World Series, Amaro Jr. said, "I can't watch it either."

The Phillies top executive clarified the reasoning behind his lack of desire to watch the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals battle for the world championship. He added, "Because I still think we're the best team in baseball."

To hear the full segment as Amaro Jr. discusses Ryan Madson, Jimmy Rollins, Charlie Manuel and other matters, click here.
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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 95

John Denny was a starting pitcher with the Phillies from 1982-1985. The right-hander was originally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1970. He debuted in the Majors in 1974, appearing in 2 games as a reliever. By the following year, at age 22, he was a regular in the Cards' rotation.

In 1976, Denny won the National League ERA crown with a 2.52 mark. In the three seasons that followed, Denny notched just one winning record and posted an ERA under 4.50 only once.

That sort of up and down production got Denny dealt out of town. After the 1979 season, the Cardinals traded him, along with outfielder Jerry Mumphrey to Cleveland for veteran slugger Bobby Bonds.

As a member of the Indian's starting rotation, Denny, tallied a 24-23 record with a 4.15 ERA in 3 seasons.

In the final month of the 1982 season, Denny was sent to Philadelphia for pitcher Jerry Reed and two minor leaguers. Following that swap, Denny went without a win in four September starts with the Phillies. However, the following season, Denny wouldn't have much trouble recording victories.

The 6-foot-3-inch 185-pounder made his mark on history in his first full season with Philadelphia. Having spent time in the 1982-1983 off-season working out with eventual Hall of Famer Steve Carlton and becoming a born-again Christian, Denny made improvements in himself as a pitcher and as a person.

Early in his 1983 campaign Denny showed what was on tap for the long haul that year. In his fifth start of the season, the Arizona native tossed the first of a pair of two-hitters he would drop that year. In the second half of the season, Denny was superb, recording a 13-2 record in 19 starts following the All-Star break.

His 19-6 overall record that season was striking, but not fully indicative of the strength he put on display throughout his full campaign. Denny allowed one earned run or less in half of his 36 starts and as a result the Phillies went 27-9 in his games that season. In addition, Denny's 6 losses where more attributable to the offense, as the team scored a total of 7 runs in support of their starting hurler in those contests.

All of that locked Denny in as the clear choice for National League Cy Young Award winner. He became the second Phillie ever to receive that honor.

In the postseason, Denny dropped a game against the Dodgers in the league championship series before tossing 8 innings of 1-run ball and earning the win in game 1 of the World Series against Baltimore. Denny later fell in game 4, allowing 4 earned runs in 5 innings.

With high hopes of bouncing back the following season, Denny started out strong, but an elbow injury in May cost him a couple months of the season. His 7-7 record in 1984 did not match his strong 2.45 ERA. The Phillies offense provided Denny with similar run support, plating a grand total of 8 runs in his 7 losses.

The 1985 season saw a stretch of difficult times for Denny, as he was victorious only once in his first 10 starts. Struggling to regain the command that made him a household name just two years prior, Denny went just 11-14 with a 3.82 ERA.

The following off-season, Denny was traded to Cincinnati for outfielder Gary Redus and pitcher Tom Hume. With the Reds, Denny lasted just one season before he retired at age 34.

After his playing days, Denny worked in baseball, including a gig with the Arizona Diamondbacks as their pitching coach.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Senators' Tobacco Ban Idea is Weak

This week United States Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) called on the Major League Baseball Players Association to ban the use of all tobacco products on the field of play, in the dugout, and in the locker rooms at all MLB venues. As the premiere baseball league in the world is in the midst of its championship series, the politicians saw this as an opportune time to apply pressure with million of viewers, including children, tuning in nightly on television.

In a recent press release, the senators stated the following:

"During the upcoming negotiations over the bargaining agreement, we write to ask that the Major League Baseball Players Association agree to a prohibition on the use of all tobacco products at games and on camera at all Major League ballparks. This would send a strong message to young baseball fans, who look toward the players as role models, that tobacco use is not essential to the sport of baseball."

While the intention to prevent bad examples from being set for youth watching across the country is certainly good, I truly don't see much smokeless tobacco usage on televised games. It seems to me, this issue was much more prevalent a couple decades ago. Perhaps this group of political old timers is still living in the past.

Reached for comment on this matter, veteran of 12 Major League seasons Lenny Dykstra said, "Ptooey!"

Perhaps the use of tobacco isn't the most appealing thing for children to witness while viewing a professional baseball game, but that also applies to spitting, physical crotch adjustments, usage of profanity, fighting, snot rockets, cheating, as well as Tim McCarver's commentary. Are those also suitable problems for the senate to address?

The fact of the matter is that athletes are adults and adults do things that children should not do. It's up to the parental figures in those youngsters' lives to guide and advise them on the ways of proper conduct in life. Unless the government is interested in banning a dozen other things done by players during live broadcasts, there will still be poor examples set for children on a daily basis, just like any other non-TV-Y rated program on broadcast television.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Winter Leagues Already Rolling

While just the other day, PhoulBallz.com took a look at Phillies prospects taking part in the Arizona Fall League, other off-season baseball is underway as well in the form of Caribbean Winter Leagues. Several players with Philadelphia ties are staying in shape and attempting to improve their abilities in these leagues as well. Here's a quick overview of some of those individuals, who all happen to be on the Phillies' 40-man roster.

Shortstop Freddy Galvis (pictured), who rose considerably in the Phillies prospect rankings this year when he posted impressive numbers for Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley (.278 combined batting average, a career high 8 homeruns, 43 RBI and 23 stolen bases), has reportedly experienced a wrist injury that has forced him out of action this week. In 4 games with Zulia of the Venezuelan League prior to the ailment, Galvis went 3-for-11 (.273 avg) with 3 runs scored.

Another infield prospect, Harold Garcia, who missed much of the 2011 season after tearing ligaments in his right knee, is also listed on the Zulia roster, but is still rehabbing following surgery.

Second baseman Cesar Hernandez, another well-regarded prospect, has gone 5-for-25 (.200 avg) with no extra base hits through 7 games with Margarita under manager Don Baylor. The 21-year-old was signed in 2006 by the Phillies.

Third baseman Carlos Rivero has struggled in the early going, recording just 1 hit in 13 at bats (.077 avg) over his first 4 games. Rivero's lone hit was a homerun. The 23-year-old had a solid 2011, batting .270 with 16 HR and 71 RBI combined between Reading and Lehigh Valley.

Other Phillies minor leaguers listed on Venezuelan League rosters that have yet to see game action include Scott Podsednik, Scott Mathieson and Justin Friend. Pitcher Ryan Edell and outfielder Rich Thompson are playing in the Dominican League.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Arizona Fall League Updates, 10/18/11

Autumn is here and the Arizona Fall League is in full swing. The Phillies have several players assigned to the Scottsdale Scorpions, where they merge with prospects from the Giants, Red Sox, Angels and Nationals organizations to fill out a roster that does battle with other clubs' talents.

Below is a list reviewing all of the Phils' players that are seeing action in the annual fall developmental league.

Through 8 games, outfielder Tyson Gillies has gone 5-for-21 (.238 avg) with no extra base hits, 7 walks and 1 stolen base. The Vancouver native, who turns 23-year-old at the end of this month, missed a great majority of the 2011 regular season with hamstring and foot injuries after playing just 28 games in 2010 due to his recurring hamstring problem. He is using this time in the Arizona Fall League as an opportunity to make up for some of the time missed since joining the Phillies organization in the 2009-2010 off-season as part of the return from Seattle for Cliff Lee.

In 3 starts, righty hurler Tyler Cloyd has gone 0-2. Cloyd, who posted a 9-4 record and a 2.77 ERA in 31 combined games with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers and the Double-A Reading Phillies in 2011, looked good in his first two AFL outings. However, in his latest effort on Monday, the 24-year-old allowed 5 earned runs in 4 innings against Phoenix. One positive for Cloyd is that he has struck out 9 batters and walked just 2 in his 9 innings of action for the Scorpions.

Left-handed reliever Jake Diekman has thrown 4 1/3 scoreless innings in 4 appearances for Scottsdale. The 6-foot-4-inch 190-pounder took great strides this year, adding velocity to his fastball which now hits the 94-95 MPH range on a regular basis. In 53 outings for the Double-A Reading Phillies in 2011, Diekman posted a 0-1 record with 3 saves, a .199 batting average against and struck out 83 batters in 65 innings. If Diekman continues to progress, he could be a lefty worth considering for the big league bullpen next season.

Right-hander BJ Rosenberg, who flip-flopped this past season between reliever and starter at Double-A Reading, has allowed an earned run in 2 relief innings thus far for Scottsdale. The once well-regarded relief prospect is now 26-years-old and doesn't seem to have a high ceiling any longer, as he posted a 5-7 record with 2 saves and a 4.28 ERA in 39 games (14 starts) during the 2011 regular season.

First baseman Darin Ruf has had a slow start in the AFL, going just 2-for-18 (.111 avg) with a homerun and 2 RBI. The 25-year-old Ruf, a 20th round draft selection in 2009, had a solid season for the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, posting a .308 batting average with 17 homeruns and 82 RBI.

Cody Overbeck, who converted to a first baseman from third base this past season, is doing very well in the Arizona Fall League. Through 8 games the 25-year-old has gone 8-for-25 (.320 avg) with a double and a triple. Overbeck has hit 24 homeruns in each of his past two minor league seasons and could be an option to fill a roster spot with the Phillies early next season, as All-Star first baseman Ryan Howard is expected to miss time while he recovers from left Achilles tendon surgery.

And lastly, righty pitcher Colby Shreve has allowed 3 earned runs in 3 2/3 innings pitched for Scottsdale. The 6th round draft choice from 2008 posted a 2.87 ERA in 40 combined games for Class-A Lakewood and High-A Clearwater this year. The 23-year-old Nevada native stands a very good chance at reaching Double-A Reading in 2012.
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Phillies on Deck, Vol. 1: Overbeck & Rizzotti

In the coming weeks and months we'll be taking a look at several young talents within the organization that could make an impact on the Phillies' big league roster in 2012. With this first edition, we'll review a couple names that could seize an opportunity due to the Achilles tendon injury that Ryan Howard suffered in the final game of the National League Division Series.

It's no secret that three-time All-Star first baseman Ryan Howard is expected to miss the start of next season after undergoing surgery on his ruptured left Achilles tendon this past week. While many fans, media members and baseball analysts expect the Phillies to fill the void, next April, with John Mayberry Jr., who played 18 games at first base in 2011, the team will have other in-house options courtesy of a pair of older prospects.

Perhaps the leading option from the minors that could fill in while "The Big Piece" is out of action is 25-year-old Cody Overbeck. The 9th round draft pick from 2008 has been strong on offense in each of the past two seasons, posting a .276 combined average with 48 total homeruns and 154 RBI.

Formerly a third baseman through his first three seasons in the Phillies developmental system, Overbeck dabbled in the outfield and was primarily a first baseman in 2011 with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley, which clearly increased his versatility.

Overbeck is spending this off-season perfecting his entire game against the tough competition of the Arizona Fall League.

Another potential filler, Matt Rizzotti, who is somewhat of a fan favorite, was seemingly held back this year by the Phillies after the team removed him from their 40-man roster last off-season. Having taken huge strides during the 2010 season, when he posted a combined .360 batting average at Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading to earn a promotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley for the final month of the season, Rizzotti missed some time with with the IronPigs due to an injury.

Rizzotti's impressive 2010 continued in the Arizona Fall League, where he batted .333 and had a .500 on-base percentage in 19 games with the Mesa Solar Sox. However, when December came around, "Rizz" found himself subjected to the Rule 5 draft, and went unselected.

Offensively, Rizzotti, who will turn 26-years-old before the 2012 season begins, was strong over the past couple of seasons as well. The Manhattan College alum tallied a .317 batting average with 41 homeruns with 160 RBI over the past two regular seasons.

Often critiqued for his defense, the 6th round draft pick from 2007, Rizzotti, is well aware of his perceived shortcomings and has worked hard to improve in the field and earn a shot at his lifelong dream of reaching the big leagues.

Comparatively, the University of Mississippi product Overbeck outperformed Rizzotti just a shade in the field, posting a .995 fielding percentage in 60 games at first, while Rizzotti had a .988 mark in 96 games.

With plenty of time between now and the outset of the the 2012 season, there's no definitive answer as to "Who's got first?" With free agent Raul Ibanez's spot in left field vacated and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.'s preference to keep top prospect Domonic Brown down in Triple-A next year, Mayberry could be better suited to spend some time in the outfield, which may open a door for either Overbeck or Rizzotti to land a spot on the big league roster.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 94

Arnold "Bake" McBride patrolled the outfield for the Phillies in the late 1970's and early 1980's. Originally a 37th round draft pick by St. Louis in 1970, McBride, a Missouri native, proved to be a late round steal, as he cruised through the minor leagues, making his big league debut in 1973 and later being named the National League Rookie of the Year in 1974 when he batted .309 with 6 homers, 56 RBI and 30 stolen bases.

McBride was acquired by Philadelphia in June 1977, when the Cardinals swapped him and pitcher Steve Waterbury for Rick Bosetti, Tom Underwood and Dane Iorg.

The Westminster College multi-sport star (McBride played track and basketball in addition to baseball) proved to be a valuable contributor, as he posted a .339 batting average with 11 HR and 27 steals in 85 games going forward that year, to help the Phillies lock down a second consecutive East Division title.

In the years to follow, McBride in right field paired with Garry Maddox in center field gave Philadelphia a stand out defensive tandem, as both men displayed tremendous range and excellent glove work in the outfield.

Bake's nickname was short for Shake 'n' Bake, which many folks felt described his playing style.

McBride saw his best offensive season in 1980, when he finished 10th in National League Most Valuable Player voting thanks to his .309 average, 33 doubles, 10 triples, 9 homeruns and 87 RBI.

The success for McBride became most noticeable down the stretch as he helped the Phils clinch a key victory over the Expos in September with a 9th inning homerun at Veterans Stadium. The win proved vital for the Phils as Montreal won their remaining two games against Philadelphia and later finished just one game back in the division standings, allowing the Phillies to advance to the postseason.

In the World Series opener that year, the Phillies overcame a 4-0 deficit and won, thanks in part to McBride, who put the Phillies ahead with a 3-run homer. Philadelphia went on, of course, to defeat the Royals in 6 games to win their first ever world championship.

Following his dream season, McBride dealt with knee issues in 1981 that required surgery and limited him to just 58 games.

The following off-season, McBride was dealt to the Indians, where he continued his playing career for the next two seasons, before retiring.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Phils Injury Updates

On Wednesday, Ryan Howard underwent surgery in Baltimore to repair his torn left Achilles tendon that he suffered on the final play in game 5 of the National League Division Series against St. Louis.

According to Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., the timetable for Howard to recover fully is just about what many people expected.

"It’s going to be 5 to 6 months from the surgery until he can play at his accustomed level," Amaro said in a statement released by the Phillies. "A lot depends on how he recovers. The start of the season could be impacted, but I still hope he makes his first at bat of the season."

Placido Polanco and Hunter Pence each had surgeries this week as well. Pence's surgery went well and he is recovering in Philadelphia, according to a Twitter update posted by the All-Star outfielder. For Polanco it is no wonder why his offensive production suffered down the stretch this season, as his procedure was for a double sports hernia.

Another Phillie set to go under the knife is lefty hurler Cole Hamels, who will have surgery on Friday to have "loose bodies" removed from his throwing elbow. Hamels is also expected to have a hernia issue of his own repaired after that.

And lastly, 2011 draft pick Austin Wright was granted permission recently to leave his Florida Instructional League assignment to be by the side of an ailing relative.

The left-hander had an exceptional debut season in the pros, posting a 4-3 record with a 3.03 ERA and a .234 batting average against in 15 combined games with short season Williamsport and Class A Lakewood. Wright, 22, was selected in the 8th round out of the University of Mississippi.
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Monday, October 10, 2011

Parent Headed to Chicago

According to ESPNChicago, Mark Parent is headed to Chicago to be the new bench coach of the White Sox, beside new manager Robin Ventura, who was named as the replacement for the departed Ozzie Guillen, who parted ways with the team after 8 seasons.

Parent, a former big league catcher, had been a manager in the Phillies developmental system for each of the past two seasons. In 2010 he led the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws to their second straight South Atlantic League championship and in 2011, he was at the helm for the playoff bound Double A Reading Phillies.

The big league Phillies recently granted the White Sox permission to speak with Parent about their coaching vacancy.

Parent played 13 seasons in the Majors, spending time with San Diego, Texas, Baltimore, Detroit and the Chicago Cubs.

Another former Phillie, Jeff Manto, is also rumored to a candidate to join the White Sox coaching staff.

The new coaches will take over a White Sox team that finished the 2011 season 4 games under .500 and 12 games behind the wild card leading Tampa Bay Rays.
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Instructional League News & Notes, 10/10

Sources have confirmed that Phillies 2011 1st round draft pick Larry Greene Jr. has been shut down for the remainder of the Florida Instructional League. Greene, who suffered a groin injury at the outset of instructs in Clearwater, has been sidelined for the full extent of the month-long exhibition season. Despite feeling considerable improvement in the area, Greene will be kept out of action by the Phillies.

Greene, a power hitting outfielder selected out of Berrion County High School in Georgia, is expected to make his official in-game debut as a member of the Phillies organization next spring.

In other news, outfield prospect Kyrell Hudson has been hitting the ball extremely well at instructs. The Phillies' 3rd round draft pick from 2009 posted a .171 batting average in 59 games over his first two seasons as a pro, but made great improvements in 2011, hitting .275 in 68 games with the short season Williamsport Crosscutters.

The 6-foot-1-inch Hudson is participating in the Florida Instructional League for the third straight year.

If the righty hitting Hudson, who turns 21 years old in December, continues to shine, he should be a lock to begin the 2012 season as a member of the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws' outfield.

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Image- Joe Wombough

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Phillies, Howard Crumble in NLDS

It happened again. Much like 2010, Ryan Howard failed in the final at bat of the postseason, in Philadelphia, and a visiting club danced on the Citizens Bank Park field.

As awful as that scenario is for Phillies fans, the scene was worse this time around as Howard fell to the ground after he dribbled a grounder to second base and exited the batters box. Howard, who is set to start a 5-year/$125 million contract extension in 2012, clutched his lower left leg and was helped off the field by trainers and coaches. The injury, suspected to be a torn achilles tendon, could result in Howard missing the entire 2012 season.

Howard will have an MRI on Saturday for official diagnosis on the extent of the issue.

The Phillies again came up short in a crucial playoff game, allowing the Cardinals, who bursted into the playoffs with a late season surge, to continue their surprising ascent with a 1-0 victory.

From the start in the deciding game 5 of the opening round playoff series, the Cardinals took control, as shortstop Rafeal Furcal led off the game with a triple against Phils ace Roy Halladay. Skip Schumaker then drilled a double down the right field line to plate Furcal with the game's only run.

Halladay was exceptional the rest of the way, spreading out 4 hits and a walk over the next 7 innings, but he was outdueled by his former Toronto teammate Chris Carpenter. The Cardinals' right-hander shined, allowing just 3 hits through 9 innings, to notch his 6th career victory in the postseason.

The outing for Carpenter was a full 180-degree turn from the effort he put forth in game 2 of the series, when he did not make in beyond the 3rd inning.

Heavily favored throughout the entire 2011 campaign, Philadelphia will now head home to reflect on what could have been, while wild card entrant St. Louis will head to Milwaukee to battle for the right to play in the World Series.

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Friday, October 7, 2011

NLDS Game 5 Preview


In the deciding game 5 of the National League Division Series, the Cardinals and the Phillies will send their ace to the mound in hopes of advancing in the playoffs.

Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay were 1st round draft picks by the Toronto Blue Jays that went on to become Cy Young Award winners and the hurler that their teams count at crunch time. Pressure will be on each man to help carry his team to the National League Championship Series, where their squad will face the winner of the Diamondbacks/Brewers series.

The Phillies, who entered 2011 as the favorite to represent the National League in the World Series, set a franchise record with 102 wins in the regular season. They could see their dreams crushed much earlier than was anticipated.

St. Louis has been the hot club down the stretch, having won 11 of their final 15 regular season games to clinch a playoff berth.


Friday, 8:37 PM. Chris Carpenter (0-0, 12.00 ERA in 2011 postseason) vs. Roy Halladay (1-0, 3.37 ERA in 2011 postseason). In his last 10 starts, Halladay is 6-2 with a 1.99 ERA. Halladay has a 3-1 record with a 2.70 ERA in 4 career postseason starts. In 16 home starts this year, including the postseason, Halladay has a 9-3 record with a 2.56 ERA. Halladay has a 3-1 record with a 2.37 ERA in 5 career starts against St. Louis. In his last 3 starts of the regular season, Carpenter went 2-0 with a 0.38 ERA, but he allowed 4 earned runs in just 3 innings against the Phillies in game two of this series last Sunday. Carpenter has a 5.33 ERA in 5 career starts at Citizens Bank Park. The three-time All-Star, Carpenter, has a 5-2 record with a 3.38 in 10 career postseason starts.


In 38 career postseason games, Lance Berkman has a .307 batting average with a .979 OPS. The six-time All-Star, Berkman, is 3-for-18 (.200 avg) in this series.

Lefty reliever Arthur Rhodes posted a 5.84 ERA in 23 regular season games after the All-Star break this year.

Albert Pujols is 7-for-17 (.412 avg) in this series. Pujols is 10-for-25 (.400 avg) in 6 games at Citizens Bank Park this year, including the postseason.

In 45 career postseason games, Carlos Ruiz has posted a .259 batting average with 4 HR and 15 RBI. Ruiz is just 1-for-15 (.071 avg) in this series.

Jimmy Rollins is 9-for-17 (.563 avg) with 6 runs scored in this year's NLDS. Rollins is batting .249 in 73 home games this year.

Placido Polanco, who went 0-for-17 against the Cardinals in the 2006 World Series for the Tigers, has gone 2-for-16 (.125 avg) in this series. Polanco has a .426 OPS in 14 career NLDS games.

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Revisionism on Blast

The following is a guest post by the host of 97.3 ESPN's Weekend Sports Guide, Tyrone Johnson. A member of the local media for several years, Tyrone is still a fan at heart. The Weekend Sports Guide airs on Atlantic City's 97.3 each Saturday from 12-3pm. Tune in this Saturday, 10/8, around 2:30 as Tyrone and PhoulBallz.com's Jay Floyd chat about the Phillies postseason.


I am frustrated with my fellow fans. All season long, all I heard was the Phillies were going to win the World Series because they have “4 Aces”. As we get ready for Game 5 of the National League Division Series, all I see and hear is Philadelphia fans complaining about...the lineup!

The Cardinals have scored 6 runs, 5 runs, 2 runs and 5 runs, respectively in games 1 through 4, so far in this series. If you told me that before the series began I would have said the Phillies lose in 4 games. This team is not built like the World Championship club from 2008. The current club is built to score a bit, get great pitching, and win 3-2. As much as fans want the Phillies to score double digit runs, that is NOT what this team does.

In Game 5, the deal is simple- if Halladay pitches like an ace, the Phillies win. If he doesn’t, they won’t. Halladay pitched well in the opening game of this series (8 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 8 K, 1 BB), although it was an adventure. Hamels got it done as well, in game 4 (6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 8 K, 3 BB). Lee & Oswalt weren't able to hold their own and the results were losses.

The focus can't be all about the pitching staff throughout the entire season but then turn into blame on the lineup once the staff falls short. Baseball is a game of failure. Batters are going to have good games and bad games, but great pitching should always win the day. Hopefully, for our sake, Halladay lives up to the billing of "best pitcher in the world" in game 5 of the NLDS.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mario Hollands Interview Excerpts

Lefty pitching prospect Mario Hollands took great strides in 2011 with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. After beginning the year as the club's opening day starting pitcher, Hollands went through some difficult times and was moved to the bullpen, where he flourished.

In 15 starts in the South Atlantic League, the California native posted a 4-4 record with a 4.64 ERA and a .306 batting average against. In 13 relief appearances, Hollands performed considerably better, going 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA and a .205 batting average against.

Recently, I spoke with the 23-year-old, Hollands, about many subjects, including his draft process, advancements he has made with his pitch repertoire and spending his summer at the Jersey shore. To hear excerpts from the interview, check out the media player below.



Also, to read my recent feature on Mario Hollands, click this link.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

This Happened...You Can Breathe Now

Ben Francisco, who had notched just 1 hit in 20 career postseason plate appearances prior to his pinch hit at bat in game 3 of the National League Division Series, mashed a line drive homerun in the top of the 7th inning to help the Phillies take a 2 games to 1 lead in the best-of-five National League Division Series.

The 3-run blast by the man known as "Benny Phresh" provided the Phillies with all the offense they would need, as they downed the Cardinals 3-2.

Left-handed hurler Cole Hamels earned the win, as he threw 6 scoreless inning and struck out 8 Cardinals in the process. For Hamels, it was it was his 7th career postseason victory.

Veteran reliever Ryan Madson, who has appeared in more postseason games (32) than any other pitcher in Phillies history, allowed a run in 1 2/3 innings but preserved the win and notched a save.

The Phillies and Cardinals will face off in game 4 on Wednesday evening at St. Louis' Busch Stadium.
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Image- AP

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NLDS Games 2 & 3 Preview, 10/4-10/5

Tied at 1 game apiece in the best-of-five National League Division Series, the Phillies and Cardinals will battle it out in St. Louis for a chance to go to advance.

With lefty Cole Hamels on the mound, set to tie Hall of Famer Steve Carlton for most postseason starts by a pitcher in Phillies history, with 13, the Phillies will face another left-hander, Jaime Garcia in game 3 on Tuesday night.

Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups and other key notes from these two games.


Tuesday, 5:07 PM. Cole Hamels (14-9, 2.79 ERA) vs Jaime Garcia (13-7, 3.56 ERA). In 17 road games this season, Hamels posted a 7-3, 2.93 ERA with a .219 batting average against. Hamels has a 2-3 record with a 3.27 ERA in 9 career starts against the Cardinals. Albert Pujols is 4-for-23 (.174 avg) with a double and 2 HR in his career against Hamels. The 2008 World Series MVP, Hamels, has a 6-4 record with a 3.33 ERA in 12 career postseason starts. Garcia posted a 3-0 record with a 2.64 ERA in his final 5 starts of the regular season. In 6 career games against the Phillies, Garcia has a 2-1 record with a 1.20 ERA and a .178 batting average againts. In 15 home starts this year, Garcia posted a 9-4 record with a 2.55 ERA. Jimmy Rollins is 1-for-11 (.091 avg) in his career against Garcia.

Wednesday, 6:07 PM. Roy Oswalt (9-10, 3.69 ERA) vs. Edwin Jackson (12-9, 3.79 ERA). In 33 career games against St. Louis, including the postseason, Oswalt has a 10-9 record and a 3.33 ERA. Oswalt posted a 5-4 record and a 3.59 ERA in 10 starts after the All-Star break this season. In 13 games for St. Louis this year, Jackson went 5-2 with a 3.58 ERA and a .300 batting average against. Jackson allowed 1 earned run in 2 innings of work against the Phillies in the 2008 World Series.


Two-time All-Star Shane Victorino is a .268 hitter in 43 career postseason games. Victorino's 30 postseason RBI are second only to Ryan Howard's 33 on the all-time Phillies leader list.

In 52 career games, including the postseason, against the Cardinals, Chase Utley is a .329 hitter with 6 HR and 32 RBI. Utley batted .239 with a .675 OPS in 50 regular season road games this year.

Hunter Pence has a .259 batting average and a .674 OPS in 36 career games at Busch Stadium.

In 43 career postseason games, Rafael Furcal has a .246 batting average with 3 homeruns and 26 runs scored. Furcal's team has lost 8 of 10 postseason series he has participated in, including 2 against the Phillies with the Dodgers in 2008 and 2009.

Matt Holliday after the All-Star break this season batted .263 with 8 homeruns, compared to .324/24 prior to the break. Holliday has been sidelined lately with tendinits in his right hand and is not expected to play on Tuesday. Holliday is a .259 hitter in 15 career postseason games.

Righty reliever Jason Motte earned the save in game 2 against the Phillies on Sunday. In 38 home appearances this season, Motte posted a 4-0 record with 7 saves, 1 blown save, a 3.12 ERA and a .160 batting average against.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Instructional League News & Notes, 10/3/11

According to a source in Clearwater, Phillies 2011 top draft pick (supplemental round), Larry Greene Jr. has missed time at the Florida Instructional League with a groin strain. Greene spent time practicing with the Gulf Coast League Phillies before the end of their season, but the slugging outfielder has yet to see any real game action. The 18-year-old Georgia native received a $1 million signing bonus when he signed his first professional contract in August.

Sources also confirm that lefty hurler Jesse Biddle, who posted excellent numbers (7-8 record, 2.98 ERA, 25 games) in his first full season as a pro with Class A Lakewood, will make his first instructs appearance on Tuesday, working an inning against the Pirates club. Biddle, 19, injured his right knee in his final start of the 2011 season for the BlueClaws, but has recovered well. Biddle, a Philadelphia native, was the Phillies' 1st round draft choice in 2010.

23-year-old infielder Albert Cartwright, acquired in January from Houston for LHP Sergio Escalona, has looked solid both at the plate and on defense. Cartwright missed the entire 2011 regular season after he suffered a torn Achilles tendon in spring training. Look for him to make an impact with Double-A Reading next season. Cartwright was a 36th round draft pick of the Astros in 2007.

In other news, 6-foot-7-inch righty relief pitcher Mike McGuire, who struggled this year as he recovered from vascular surgery on his non-throwing shoulder, is now a free agent. McGuire, who grew up in the Philadelphia area, was signed by the Phillies and assigned to Lakewood last summer. Following the off-season surgery, McGuire made one appearance for the Gulf Coast League Phillies and split the rest of his 2011 season with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers and the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. The 25-year-old hopes to pitch this winter under Lakewood pitching coach Steve Schrenk, who manages the Canberra Cavalry in the Australian Baseball League.

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hewitt Already Preparing For 2012

Former top Phillies draft pick Anthony Hewitt took considerable strides this past season with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. Selected 24th overall by Philadelphia in 2008, Hewitt struggled throughout his first few years in the developmental ranks.

The Brooklyn, NY native posted a combined .208 batting average at three different levels of his professional career from 2008-2010. However, Hewitt finally broke through and showed significant improvements in 2011, during his second consecutive season with the BlueClaws.

The 22-year-old was named to the South Atlantic League mid-season All-Star team en route to a season that saw him improve his batting average, his power numbers, his speed and his defense. Hewitt's season average of .240 in 2011 was a 32 point jump over his career mark and a 17 point improvement over his previous season high. His 14 homeruns and 55 RBI were both career highs as well. Scouts regularly took notice of Hewitt's range and throwing arm in right field all season long. And most noteworthy of all, Hewitt's base stealing prowess stood out as he was successful in 36 of 41 opportunities (88% success rate).

Last winter, Hewitt arrived in Clearwater in early January to begin his 2011 campaign and was able to work closely with the likes of All-Star first baseman Ryan Howard, who offered plenty of advice to Hewitt, who feels that type of exposure helped him this year.

Hewitt will spend his entire 2011/2012 off-season living in Florida, where he has relocated, near the Phillies spring training facility in order to maximize his workout time.

"I will start swinging the second week in November tweaking a few things and (adjusting) a few other things in my complete game," Hewitt stated. "I live in Florida now, so I can hit with Howard when ever he gets down here and I will be able to use the spring training facilities, as often as I would like, to hit."

While winter leagues are typically an option for many well regarded prospects, or for those with large signing bonuses invested in them, like Hewitt, the 6-foot-1-inch 190-pounder saw enough evidence of progression in his efforts last off-season that he wanted to do the same thing this time around and spend an even lengthier amount of time at the Carpenter Complex after a brief physical intermission.

"So far, since the season has been over, I took about two weeks off. Started working out doing a little weight training and watching lots of hitting video on my self and other hitters in the big leagues, to study them, and learn and apply some things to my game," Hewitt said.

Next year Hewitt will be focused on an assignment with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, or the Double-A Reading Phillies. If all goes well, he'll continue to advance, and someday be the guy that younger players show up early for spring training to take batting practice side by side with.

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

NLDS Games 1 & 2 Preview: Cardinals at Phillies


For the very first time, two of the original 16 MLB teams will meet in the postseason, as the wild card entrant St. Louis Cardinals travel to Philadelphia to meet the five-time defending National League East division champion Phillies.

The Cardinals squeezed into the playoffs thanks, in part, to some help from the Phillies, as Philadelphia swept the wild card leading Braves in their final regular season series. St. Louis then won two of three games against Houston to knock Atlanta from its perch.

In the series opener, Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa will send veteran hurler and former Phillie Kyle Lohse to the mound, while the Phillies' Charlie Manuel will go with ace and perennial Cy Young award contender Roy Halladay.

Read ahead for detailed info on the pitching match ups for games 1 and 2 as well as other key stats.

Saturday, 5:07 PM. Kyle Lohse (14-8, 3.39 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (19-6, 2.35 ERA). In 16 road starts this season, Lohse posted an 8-3 record with a 3.13 ERA. Lohse has posted a 3-1 record with a 3.60 ERA in 11 career games at Citizens Bank Park, including the postseason. In 6 career postseason games (1 start), Lohse is 0-2 with a 3.38 ERA and has struck out 15 batters in in 13 1/3 innings. Ryan Howard is 8-for-16 (.500 avg) with 2 HR in his career against the right-handed Lohse. In 4 career starts against St. Louis, Roy Halladay has a 2-1 record with a with a 2.10 ERA and a .200 batting average against. Halladay posted an 8-3 record with a 2.48 ERA in 15 home starts this season. In his last 5 starts, Halladay is 3-1 with a 1.70 ERA and a .216 batting average against. Albert Pujols is 2-for-11 (.182 avg) in his career against Halladay.

Sunday, 8:07 PM. Chris Carpenter (11-9, 3.45 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (17-8, 2.40 ERA). In his last 5 starts, Carpenter is 3-0 with a 1.15 ERA. Carpenter is 7-2 with a 4.14 ERA in 11 career starts against the Phillies. Carpenter posted a 2.98 ERA in 15 starts after the All-Star break. Chase Utley is 7-for-15 (.467 avg) in his career against Carpenter. In 18 home starts this season, Lee posted an 11-3 record with a 1.94 ERA. In 4 career regular season games against the Cardinals, Lee has a 3-1 record with a 1.48 ERA. Lee posted an 8-2 record with a 1.79 ERA in 13 games since the All-Star break. As a Phillie in the postseason, Lee is 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA in 5 starts.


Yadier Molina posted a .337 batting average in 58 games since the All-Star break. Molina's OPS was 143 points higher in 2011 than it was in 2010.

In 26 career games at Citizens Bank Park, Albert Pujols has a .340 batting average with 10 homeruns and 24 RBI. The three-time National League MVP is a .322 hitter in 56 postseason games.

Five-time All-Star Lance Berkman has a .320 average with 7 homeruns and 30 RBI in 34 career postseason games. Berkman is a .313 hitter in 73 games against the Phillies. Berkman posted a .194 average in 43 day games this season.

In 41 career postseason games, Chase Utley is a .243 hitter with 10 homeruns and 24 RBI. Utley posted and .245 batting average in 62 games since the All-Star break.

Ryan Howard has a .360 batting average with 16 homeruns and 50 RBI in 45 career regular season games against St. Louis. Howard is the Phillies' all-time postseason leader in hits with 42.

Ryan Madson has a 2-1 record with 1 save and a 2.35 ERA in 29 career games in the postseason. Madson is tops among the Phils' all-time leaders in postseason games pitched.

Cardinals team batting average- .273
Phillies team batting average- .253

Cardinals team ERA- 3.74
Phillies team ERA- 3.02

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