While Monday didn't bring much luck for the big league Phillies, as they continued to have difficulty scoring runs and dropped their home opener to the Miami Marlins, a couple of the organization's minor league clubs didn't have much trouble making their marks against a trio of pitchers with some considerable big league ties.
The Double-A Reading Phillies handled Toronto left-hander Brett Cecil, who has 66 Major League starts under his belt. Cecil went 6 2/3 innings, allowing 11 hits and 5 runs (4 earned) while taking the loss for the defending Eastern League champions New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
The newly slim starter, who dropped 30 pounds over the off-season, is working on pitching with his "new body" and needs to improve the sharpness of his pitches, according to New Hampshire pitching coach Tom Signore. The veteran baseball man stressed the importance of Cecil getting himself right, in an interview with PhoulBallz.com's Jay Floyd this past weekend.
"Right now, to me, I think it's an arm strength thing," Signore stated. "A program's been put together between our Major League pitching coach, our pitching coordinator and they've relayed it to me....I think his command is there right now. His stuff is not. I think the stuff will get better. He's pitching with a new body. I think we need to give him a little slack. He's pitching with a new body- 30 pounds, that's a lot! I'm very confident Brett will make it back (to the Major Leagues) whether it's with us, or somebody else."
Left-handed hitting outfielder Tyson Gillies notched 2 hits against the 25-year-old Cecil, including a 2-run homerun in the 6th inning that padded the R-Phils' lead to an eventual final advantage of 5-2. First baseman Darin Ruf also collected two hits against Cecil.
Meanwhile, in Clearwater, the Class A Advanced Threshers faced Yankees' pitcher Andy Pettitte, who recently came out of retirement and is working his way back toward the big leagues. Pettitte pitched 3 innings, allowed 1 earned run and struck out 3 batters.
Another Yanks' hurler, reliever Brad Meyers, who was selected by the Yankees in the Rule 5 draft last winter, is rehabbing a labrum strain with Tampa and got torched by the Clearwater offense. Meyers went 1 2/3 innings, allowing 8 runs, 7 of which were earned on 8 hits. The big blow came in the 4th inning, when catcher Cameron Rupp smoked a towering 3-run homer. Rupp and Threshers designated hitter Jeremy Barnes drove in 4 runs each in the contest.
Clearwater downed Tampa 9-6 and Meyers suffered the loss.
The 26-year-old Meyers went a combined 9-7 with a 3.18 ERA at three levels of the Nationals' developmental ranks last season.
With the minor league hitters feasting on big league arms, perhaps there's a positive outlook, while the big club's offense struggles, that the future is bright and it's coming soon.
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