Right-handed relief pitcher Justin De Fratus, known to his brother Steven and those close to him as "J-Bone", joins us live and direct, once again, from Clearwater, FL to offer his thoughts from inside Phillies spring training.
The 24-year-old reliever went 6-3 with 15 saves, a 2.99 ERA and 99 strike outs in 75 1/3 innings in his time with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley last year before making his big league debut in September and holding opponents to a .083 batting average in 5 appearances. Heading forward, De Fratus, an 11th round draft choice in 2007, hopes to be an impact contributor in the Phillies bullpen for years to come.
In the latest edition of The J-Bone Zone, Justin updates the status of his elbow, discusses his teammate Austin Hyatt's chances this year as well as bonding with Phillies fans and more. Read ahead for another edition of The J-Bone Zone.
On the status of his ailing elbow that has kept him sidelined for much of spring training and if there's a time frame for game action-
The arm is doing well. As far as getting some game action, I don't know. It's kind of hard to tell, you've got to let your body tell you when you're game ready and what not. I'm going to start throwing Monday, and that's when I'll begin my throwing program and we'll see how (my elbow) responds to everything. That will really help decide how quickly everything goes.
On what he does on games days, after completing his daily work outs, since he's not pitching-
I stay and watch every game. I get all my work outs done in the morning and all my activities with the team. I've been doing a lot of leg workouts and stuff, trying to keep my lower half strong. Now, when the game starts, I go out to the bullpen and just hang out and watch the game.
On other pitchers that are, more or less, on the verge of making the big league roster-
It's too early to tell (if anyone is standing out), but from what I have seen, all the guys are throwing well. Everybody's looking good and there might even be a little sleeper here in Austin Hyatt. I would not be surprised if he got a little time (with the major league club) this year. The guy can pitch, flat out. I think that is somebody that people would want to look out for.
On the Phillies' annual Bill Giles honorary golf outing that coaches, players, executives and broadcasters all took part in this past week-
I couldn't golf, because of the arm, so I just sat out. But I was there and I rode around in a golf cart. I acted as Hyatt's caddy. I don't know anything about golf, so it was just kind of a joke. I was just out there watching everyone else play. It was a lot of fun. It seems like a great bonding experience with everybody, which is very valuable.
On what he enjoys most about spring training in Clearwater-
I just really enjoy the enthusiasm from the fans around here. They travel so far to come down here and it's cool to see. It's kind of good to get to be able to talk to them a little bit because there are a lot of fans, but there aren't too many, so that it's overwhelming. But, I get to talk to some fans every morning. That's something I really enjoy, is getting to sign some stuff for the fans when I walk in and getting to chat with them. That's one of my favorite parts.
Check back throughout the preseason for more exclusive content from Justin De Fratus.
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