Monday, April 30, 2012

Dugan to Rehab Ankle in Clearwater

Lakewood first baseman Kelly Dugan (pictured, left) has been sent to the Phillies' spring traning home in Clearwater, FL to rehab his injured ankle.

The switch-hitting Dugan has been sidelined since the Class A BlueClaws' game at Hagerstown on April 20th, when he stepped on first base awkwardly, while taking a throw on a ground out, and turned his left ankle.

According to Lakewood manager Mickey Morandini, there is no time frame for a return for Dugan, but the injury is not very serious.

"It's basically a twisted ankle. Once the swelling goes down and the pain goes away, he'll resume some strengthening (exercises) and he'll start running again," Morandini stated.

Morandini added that Dugan spent some time in a protective boot, after suffering the injury, to limit the range of motion and to keep the swelling contained. The 21-year-old Dugan was the Phillies' top draft selection (2nd round) out of Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, CA in 2009.

This season in 15 games with Lakewood, Dugan posted a .245 average with 2 homeruns and 9 RBI.

Last year, after beginning the season in extended spring training, Dugan was named as a NY-Penn League All-Star with short-season Williamsport, where he sported a .284 batting average with 2 homeruns and 21 RBI over 47 games.

Click HERE for an image that Dugan posted online, in which you can see the severe swelling.


Additional minor league notes...

Lakewood outfielder Gauntlett Eldemire is considered day-to-day, after being hit in the left forearm with a pitch on Saturday. Eldemire, who missed the entirety of each of the past two seasons with injuries, is expected to return to action by Wednesday.

Lefty reliever Ryan Sasaki was released by the Phillies on Sunday. Sasaki, who missed the past two seasons following back surgery, had posted a 6.60 ERA in 7 appearances for Lakewood this year.  Right-hander Luis Paulino will be added to the BlueClaws' roster from extended spring training to fill that void.

Last year's 2nd round draft choice Harold Martinez (pictured, right) was assigned to Lakewood from extended spring training last week, to fill in at 1st base for the injured Dugan. In 6 games, the righty hitting Martinez, who will turn 22 years of age this week, has posted a .304/.320/.478 line.

Class-A Advanced Clearwater outfielder Cody Asche ranks 5th in the Florida State League with a .319 batting average for the Clearwater Threshers. Asche, the Phillies' 4th round draft selection last year, has posted 3-hit games twice in his past three outings. The 21-year-old is a University of Nebraska product.

Double-A Reading starting pitcher Tyler Cloyd took a no decision with 6 scoreless innings on Sunday, lowering his season ERA, in 5 starts, to 1.45.

Veteran minor league infielder Miguel Abreu has put together 6 multi-hits games in his last 7 contests and is batting .500 for the Reading Phillies through 11 games this year.

After opening the season with a 10-2 record, the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs have gone 3-9.

Lefty reliever Jake Diekman has opened the season on a roll, after impressive efforts in the Arizona Fall League and in spring training with the Phillies. In 9 games with the IronPigs, the 25-year-old has no record, but he has notched 3 saves and posted a 0.82 ERA while striking out 17 batters and walking 3 in 11 innings of work.
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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Red Sox Prospect Barnes Shines, Earns Promotion


On Sunday, the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws got a dose of a pitcher destined for bigger things in the near future.  Following righty hurler Matt Barnes' 5 2/3, 8 K, 0 BB, 3 H, 1 ER performance for the Greenville Drive at FirstEnergy Park, the 21-year-old was reportedly promoted to Class A Advanced Salem.

According to Lakewood manager, former big league All-Star Mickey Morandini, his BlueClaws haven't seen anything near the likes of Barnes in the South Atlantic League this season.

"He's one of the best pitchers in the league. We knew that- we saw him when we first opened, down there in Greenville, so we knew the stuff he had and we knew it was going to be a tough game for us," Morandini said.

"So far he absolutely is (the best pitcher we've faced thus far), hands down.  He obviously has a real above average fastball, he was throwing 95, 96 out there with an excellent change up.  He didn't have his real good breaking ball today, but he didn't need it much.  But, yeah, he's a power pitcher and he gets a lot of strike outs.  You can tell from his stats coming in, he had throw 21 scoreless innings, so he's a real good pitcher.  We knew we were in for a dog fight.

The lone run that was charged to Barnes was an inherited runner allowed to score by reliever Hunter Cervenka.  It was Barnes' first run surrendered this year in 26 2/3 innings pitched.  The 6-foot-4-inch 205-pound UConn product struck out 42 batters and walked just 4 with Greenville.

To hear Barnes' post-game question and answer session with the media, check out the media player below.


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 For video of Matt striking out well regarded Phillies outfield prospect Aaron Altherr, click HERE.

For a quick clip of Matt's windup, click HERE.

Cloyd Proving Himself Ready for the Next Step

Tyler Cloyd feels no heightened sense of urgency to climb the developmental ladder because of his age. The righty starter, who will turn 25-years-old on May 16th, has all but exceeded everyone’s expectations of his ceiling, clearly proving, with a very solid 2011 campaign and an exceptional first month of this season, that he can compete at the highest levels of the minor leagues.

An 18th round draft selection in 2008, Cloyd made his professional debut that year, posting a 7-4 record with a 3.91 ERA in 14 outings combined with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies and short-season Williamsport. Since then, the Nebraska native has had winning records every season, while alternating between starting and relief duties.

Cloyd made a considerable impact last year, following up a season in which he sported an unimpressive 5.17 ERA in 37 combined games (5 starts) with Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading to serve up a 9-4 record and a 2.77 ERA overall in 2011, splitting time with Clearwater and Reading once again.

Officially on the prospect map, heading into the 2012 season, Cloyd was called upon to fill in for suspended Triple-A hurler Dave Bush on opening day this season. He took that opportunity to shine, throwing 6 shutout innings, allowing no baserunners and striking out 8 batters.

In his three starts that followed, after returning to Double-A, Cloyd has been nearly as sharp, posting a 3-0 record with a 2.37 ERA and 13 strike outs in 19 innings. Even more remarkable is that Cloyd has yet to allow a walk this season.

Many minor leaguers would be considered to have aged themselves right out of prospect consideration by the age of 25, but that’s not something that bothers Cloyd. He keeps a focus on performance, regardless of the level he is assigned to.

 "For me it's just- I do what I can, where I'm at. I'm not in a big hurry to move. Whenever the Phillies want to move me, then that's their decision to make,” Cloyd said in an exclusive interview. “For me, I try not to get too caught up into that. I do what I can, where I'm at, every five days when I go out on the field. I just do what I can and go out there and show them that I can do this. As far as me moving up, obviously, I want to get back up there and keep climbing the ladder, but when that is would be up to the Phillies.”

Reading manager Dusty Wathan, who has coached Cloyd at four different levels of the Phillies’ developmental system, feels that there’s a definite place in baseball for a versatile pitcher like Cloyd.

“He’s really comfortable starting, he’s comfortable throwing out of the bullpen. That’s just another benefit that he has. Some guys have trouble going back and forth and he’s went back and forth his whole career. Sometimes he’s starting, sometimes he’d be in the bullpen. So, he does a nice job in both areas and he knows how to prepare himself well in both areas.”

The 6-foot-3-inch 210-pounder has a fastball that typically maxes out at 87 MPH, but the lack of great heat doesn’t stop Cloyd from shutting down the competition. Cloyd has shown so much progress in the past couple seasons thanks to some adjustments to his pitch repertoire. Ditching one offering that had not proven successful, for an option with more movement, has increased the damage he is able to do on the mound.

 "I got rid of my slider and started throwing a cutter,” said Cloyd. “I've also been working on more of a curve ball pitch to get away from more of the speed change and the deception and the movement change.”

What has also helped Cloyd excel has been bursting levels of confidence that have just gradually brewed and bubbled over. He’s become a young minor league veteran that knows he can command every aspect of his game and he is capable of dictating the pace of a contest, no matter what the scenario may be.

"Obviously, momentum is a big thing for me, in any situation of the game. When I go out there, and everything's working pretty good, it just helps out the next inning and the next inning and the next inning…I try to keep the game one speed, and that's my speed. Whatever I want that speed to be. If I want it to be going quick, then I'll make the batter get in the box and I'll be ready for my pitches right away. If I want to slow it down, or I need to slow it down…I go out there and I try not to get flustered too often."

So, with proven success in Double-A and a great showing in his lone outing at Triple-A, where does Cloyd belong? Ask Wathan, and he’ll tell you that Cloyd could move up any time and should reach the pinnacle of the baseball world in the near future. “I think Tyler can pitch in the big leagues. Whether that’s with the Philadelphia Phillies or one of the others teams, is yet to be seen.” __________________________________________________________________

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

De Fratus Experiences Setback with Elbow

Righty reliever Justin De Fratus, who has been checking in with this site throughout his delayed 2012 campaign regarding his progress, as he recovers from an elbow ailment, has experienced a setback on his road to recovery.

De Fratus told PhoulBallz.com's and PhilliesNation.com's Jay Floyd exclusively last weekend that, following a rehab appearance with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers that he would have a similar outing with Clearwater the following Wednesday.  After experiencing more discomfort with his increasingly aggressive work schedule, De Fratus was shut down by the Phillies, as a precautionary measure to avoid additional problems.

Described as a strain on the flexor tendon in his throwing elbow, the ailment is expected to heal fully with rest.  The native of Oxnard, CA is expected to sit out for two weeks and will then be reevaluated for a return to an active throwing program.

An 11th round draft pick in 2007, De Fratus made his Major League debut last season and posted a 1-0 record with a 2.25 ERA in 5 relief appearances for the Phillies.

This year, after rest and several bullpen sessions, the 24-year-old De Fratus got his first taste of game action nine days ago, when he threw an effective inning in extended spring training and followed that up with a scoreless frame for Clearwater on Sunday, April 22nd.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Series Preview: Cubs at Phillies, April 27-30

The Phillies (9-10) return from a season-long ten-game road trip to begin a four-game series against the Cubs (6-13). 

While the five-time defending National League East division champion Phillies have not lived up to expectations thus far this season, the remedy could be a series against a Cubs team that has won just 1 game on the road this season.

Thus far in 2012, the Phils have struggled offensively, ranking near the bottom of the list, as a team, in nearly every offensive category.  The Cubs, who rank dead last in the Major Leagues with just 7 homeruns this season, have done just as poorly, if not worse.

In the series opener, the Phillies will send their ace Roy Halladay, who got just 1 run of support and took his first loss of the season in his last outing, to the mound.  The Cubs will counter with lefty Paul Maholm, who is considerably hot and cold when facing Philadelphia.  In his career against the Phils, Maholm has made 4 starts in which he has thrown at least 7 innings while allowing 1 or fewer runs, while he has given up at least 6 runs in his 3 other outing.

Read ahead for more details on the pitching matchups and other key stats from this series.


Friday, 7:05 PM. Paul Maholm (1-2, 8.36 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (3-1, 1.50 ERA). In 7 career starts against Philadelphia, Maholm has a 3-2 record with a 4.50 ERA and a .276 batting average against. Maholm, a former 1st round draft choice of Pittsburgh in 2003, has a career 4.91 ERA in 2 starts at Citizens Bank Park. Shane Victorino is 4-for-8 (.500 avg) with a double and a triple in his career against Maholm. Opponents are batting .178 against Halladay through 4 starts this season. In 35 career regular season games at Citizens Bank Park, Halladay is 21-8 with a 2.28 ERA. Starlin Castro is 5-for-9 (.556 avg) in his career against Halladay.


Saturday, 7:05 PM. Randy Wells (0-0, 3.60 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (1-3, 4.34 ERA). The righty Wells will be making his 2nd appearance of the season. Wells, a 38th round draft pick of the Cubs back in 2002, is 12-14 with a 4.05 ERA in 38 career road starts. Hunter Pence is 6-for-17 (.353 avg) with a double and a HR in his career against Wells. In 5 career starts against the Cubs, Blanton has no decisions and a 3.04 ERA. In his lone home start this season, Blanton earned a win while allowing just 1 earned run over 7 innings of work against the Marlins. Reed Johnson is 5-for-12 (.417 avg) with 2 doubles and a homer against Blanton.


Sunday, 1:35 PM. Matt Garza (1-1, 3.37 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (0-1, 9.39 ERA). Garza, a right-hander, is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA in 3 career regular season starts against the Phillies. Jimmy Rollins is 1-for-11 (.091 avg) in regular season action against Garza. Opponents are batting .204 against Garza this season. Kendrick has thrown 4 scoreless innings against the Cubs in his career. Ian Stewart is 3-for-10 (.300 avg) with a double and a homer in his career against Kendrick.


Monday, 7:05 PM. Jeff Samardzija (2-1, 4.12 ERA) vs. Vance Worley (2-1, 2.16 ERA). In 7 career games against the Phillies, Samardzija is 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA.  In 2 road starts this season, Samardzija is 1-1 with a 10.38 ERA.  Shane Victorino is 2-for-4 with a triple and a homerun in his career against the righty Samardzija. Worley won his only career start against the Cubs, when he allowed just 1 earned run over 8 innings last July.  Opponents are batting .242 against Worley this season. 



In 5 road games this season, Alfonso Soriano is batting .190.  In 21 career games at Citizens Bank Park, Soriano has posted a .322 batting average with 5 doubles and 5 homeruns.

Starlin Castro is batting .435 in 6 road games this season. Castro is a career .415 hitter, with 5 doubles, a triple and a HR in 13 games against the Phillies.

Lendy Castillo was the Cubs' Rule 5 draft selection out of the Phillies' organization last December.  In 5 big league outings this season, the Dominican right-hander has allowed 5 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings.  Last season with Class A Lakewood, where Castillo, a converted position player, sported a fastball that ranged from 91-94 MPH regularly and posted a 4-2 record and a 2.54 ERA in 21 outings.

Juan Pierre's .339 batting average is tops on the Phillies.  In 68 career games against the Cubs, Pierre has a .255 batting average.  In 36 career games at Citizens Bank Park, Pierre is a .310 hitter.

In 38 career games against the Cubs, Jim Thome has posted a .288/.430/.576 line.

Righty reliever Michael Schwimer is back with the Phillies, after he was called up on Wednesday to fill the void left by injured reliever Mike Stutes. Schwimer, a minor league All-Star in each of the past two seasons, had posted a 1-0 record with 2 saves and a 1.04 ERA in 7 relief outings this year for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

PhoulBallz Interview: R-Phils Manager Dusty Wathan

Former catcher Dusty Wathan is in his first season as manager of the Double-A Reading Phillies. With a group of young, talented prosects, Wathan has led his club to a 13-6 record thus far, which has the team sitting atop the Eastern League's Eastern division in first place.

After his 14-year playing career, Wathan began the next leg of his career, managing, with the short-season Williamsport Crosscutters in the Phillies organization in 2008. Since then, the son of former Royals manager John Wathan has climbed up the Philadelphia developmental ranks, making stops with Class A Lakewood, Class A Advanced Clearwater and now Reading.

As a player, Wathan was signed by Seattle in 1994 and went on to compete in the Florida, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Kansas City and Philadelphia organizations. With the Royals, Wathan appeared in 3 big league games in 2002.

This week, I sat down with Dusty to discuss the collection of well-regarded prospects that make up the R-Phils' roster, including RHP Tyler Cloyd, second baseman Cesar Hernandez, catcher Sebastian Valle, outfielder Tyson Gillies and the trio of starting pitchers known as "The Baby Aces". Check out the media player below to hear the full interview.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pointer Leading the Way For Lakewood

A surprising name has emerged as the star performer in the lineup for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws in the early going this season. With a few better known individuals sporting the ‘Claws’ white and blue this season, it’s outfielder Brian Pointer that has stood out and helped the team stay competitive in many games. Highly rated third baseman Maikel Franco, along with speedsters Gauntlett Eldemire and Aaron Altherr, as well as former top draft choice Kelly Dugan have all been outshined this year by a guy that was a virtual unknown to many.

Drafted in the 28th round by the Phillies out of Galena High School in 2010, Pointer quickly signed his first pro contract and was active with the Gulf Coast League Phillies by season’s end that year. Combined in 2010 and 2011 with the GCL club, Pointer put forth some solid output, with a .278 batting average to go along with 6 HR and 25 RBI in 52 games, but it wasn’t enough to garner great attention. The new season has proven to be a bit of a bust-out month for the youngster and the interest in the soft-spoken Nevada native has deservedly begun to grow.

Through 16 games this season, Pointer has posted team leading marks in each of the following categories: batting average (.316), HR (4), RBI (15), triples (2) and OPS (1.029). For good measure, Pointer has stolen 4 bases as well.

20-year-old, who has split his pro time quite evenly across all three outfield positions thus far, says he owes his success to a consistent swing and a focus on the small things, which he says should be a key focus for children who hope to play baseball beyond their teen years.

"I'm just trying to hit the ball solid and trying to stay up the middle and everything and keep it in there and hit the ball hard, that's basically it,” Pointer said in a recent interview with PhoulBallz.com's Jay Floyd.

 "Yeah, (I) try to do the small things and that can take care of the big picture. Do all the small things growing up and that'll eventually pay off for you and help build a consistent physical approach in all aspects of a player’s game."

Pointer thrives when the matchup is in his favor. Heading into action on Tuesday, the 6-foot tall 190-pound lefty hitter had posted an astounding .359/.395/795 line against right-handed hurlers. To become a more complete hitter, Pointer will need to improve his numbers against lefty hurlers. Pointer grew up watching the San Francisco Giants and became a big fan of Gold Glove Award winning first baseman J.T. Snow. The veteran of 16 seasons inspired Pointer to play hard at all times, because you never know who is watching.

 “He’s a guy that I liked to watch a lot. Just a guy who played hard and played the right way. That’s something that you can look at and take something from.”

It’s clear, from the type of production Brian Pointer is putting forth lately for Lakewood, that he’s got his sights set on inspiring someone else to play baseball the right way.


Other Phils developmental notes... 

Double-A Reading first baseman Darin Ruf continues to tear up the Eastern League. With 2 hits on Tuesday, Ruf raised his batting average to .400, which is tops in the EL. The 25-year-old was a 20th round draft choice in 2009.

RHP Tyler Cloyd had another outstanding start for Reading on Tuesday, earning the win with 7 scoreless innings while striking out 5 and walking none. In 4 games this season, including a spot start for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the 24-year-old Cloyd is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA. Cloyd was an 18th round draft pick in 2008.

The Class-A Advanced Clearwater Treshers were held without a hit by the Brevard County Manatees for 8 innings on Tuesday, until a double by outfielder D'Arby Myers and a single by outfielder Peter Lavin broke up the no-hit bid and gave the Threshers a 1-0 walk-off win.

Threshers relievers Tyler Knigge, Lisalverto Bonilla, Hector Neris and Jordan Whatcott have combined to allow just 2 earned runs in 39 innings (0.46 ERA) this season.

Mike Fontenot has gone 3-for-7 with 2 walks, a double and an RBI in two games, since making his season debut with the IronPigs on Monday.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Offense Down

With their losing ways, the Phillies (7-10) have quickly begun to draw negative attention, related to their lackluster offense.  As the club struggles to find a remedy (the team has used 13 different lineups, from the 1 through 8 spots, in 17 games), analysts and fans alike have begun to pick apart the club's weak efforts at the plate.  To understand just how poorly the team has performed, take a look at some noteworthy stats and rankings...


The Phillies rank 29th out of 30 Major League Baseball teams in runs scored.

The Phillies rank 15th out of 16 National League teams in OPS.

The Phillies are 29th out of 30 MLB team in extra-base hits.

There are only 2 teams in MLB with fewer homeruns than the Phillies.

There is only 1 team in MLB with fewer triples than the Phillies.

There are just two teams in MLB with fewer doubles than the Phillies.

Carlos Ruiz's .760 OPS leads the team.  That's good enough to rank 38th in the National League.

Shane Victorino's 3-run homerun in the 9th inning against the Diamondbacks on Monday night was the team's only homerun with runners on base this season.

The Phillies are last in the National League with just 1 pinch hit.  The team is 1-for-21 (.048 avg) in pinch hitting situations.  What was supposed to be an improved bench has been forced into starting assignments due to some disabled stars.

Many folks missed injured stars Chase Utley and Ryan Howard weeks ago, when the Phillies began their season with the same high hopes that they always start out with.  But, now, after watching this kind of ineptitude with the bats, everyone is sure to realize exactly what the club lacks without the presence of their two best known All-Stars.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Series Preview: Phillies at Diamondbacks, April 23-25

The Phillies (7-9) continue their road trip and stop in Arizona for a 3-game series against the Diamondbacks (8-8). 

In a match up of pitchers that are filling in for injured teammates, the Phillies will send right-hander Kyle Kendrick to the mound, while the D-Backs will counter with lefty Wade Miley. Each hurler will be making his first start of the year as the pair fills in for Cliff Lee and Daniel Hudson respectively.

Lee was placed on the disabled list on Saturday with an oblique strain, while Hudson was placed on the DL with a shoulder impingement following his last start. 


The Phillies were 3-3 against Arizona last year and lost 2 of 3 games at Arizona's Chase Field in 2011.



Monday, 9:40 PM.  Kyle Kendrick (0-0, 1.93 ERA) vs. Wade Miley (1-0, 3.12 ERA).  In 5 career games against the D-Backs, Kendrick has no decisions and a 4.56 ERA.  Miguel Montero is 4-for-6 with a double and a HR in his career against Kendrick.  In 3 career games at Chase Field, Kendrick has a 5.54 ERA and a .327 batting average against.  Miley was drafted 43rd overall as a supplemental pick by Arizona in 2008.  In 6 career games at Chase Field (3 starts), Miley is 3-0 with a 5.56 ERA. Miley has never faced the Phillies.


Tuesday, 9:40 PM.  Vance Worley (1-1, 2.37 ERA) vs. Josh Collmenter (0-1, 10.22 ERA).  Worley has thrown 3 scoreless innings in his career against Arizona.  In 2 road starts this year, Worley has posted a 0.69 ERA.  Collmenter has allowed 9 earned runs in 8 1/3 innings at home this year.  In 18 career games at Chase Field, Collmenter has posted a 9-5 record and a 3.92 ERA.

Wednesday, 3.40 PM.  Cole Hamels (2-1, 2.95 ERA) vs.Trevor Cahill (1-1, 2.84 ERA).  In 6 career starts against the D-Backs, Hamels has posted a 3-1 record with a 3.72 ERA.  All of Hamels' decisions against Arizona have occurred at Chase Field, where he sports a 3.71 ERA in 4 career games.  Ryan Roberts is 1-for-7 in his career against Hamels...that lone hit is a homerun.  Cahill earned a win in his only career appearance against the Phillies, allowing 1 earned run over 7 1/3 innings.  Cahill will be making just his 2nd career start at Chase Field...in his previous outing there, he took the loss while allowing 4 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings pitched.  Jim Thome is 3-for-10 in his career against Cahill.


In 25 career games against Arizona, Carlos Ruiz has a .348 batting average with 5 doubles, 2 HR and 13 RBI.  Ruiz went 1-for-7 against the D-Backs last season.

Hunter Pence is a career .296 hitter with 4 HR in 33 games against the D-Backs.  Pence went 1-for-16 in the Phillies' previous series against the Padres.

Jimmy Rollins is a career .319 hitter against the D-Backs in 58 games.  Rollins is 5-for-38 (.132 avg) in 10 road games this season.

In 5 career outings against the Phillies, JJ Putz has no decisions, 1 save and a 1.29 ERA.  Putz has 50 saves and a 2.51 ERA in 67 games with Arizona.

Justin Upton is 8-for-39 (.205 avg) in 7 home games this season.  Upton is a .274 hitter with 2 HR in 18 career games against the Phillies.

Willie Bloomquist is hitless in 15 career at bats against the Phillies.  Bloomquist is batting .226 in 8 home games this season.


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The J-Bone Zone, Vol. 8: Rehab Outings, Struggling Offense & More

Right-handed reliever Justin De Fratus has recovered from the elbow ailment that kept him out of action throughout all of spring training and has begun facing batters in minor league rehab appearances.  The Phillies' 11th round draft pick from 2007 has been checking in, on a regular basis, and providing exclusive updates directly to the fans about his road back to action at the upper levels, throughout the past several weeks, right here on PhoulBallz.com.

De Fratus, 24, 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 Major League debut in September and holding opponents to a .083 batting average in 5 appearances.

This week, De Fratus, who has been on the disabled list for the Phillies since the season began, is back in action, appearing with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers as he works his elbow into shape in somewhat of a delayed spring training.  This week, Justin shared his thoughts on his return to competition, his steps going forward, the Phillies' struggling offense and more.  Read ahead for a full rundown of Justin's exclusive comments.


On where he is with his progress right now and what is next...

After working to get myself prepared to throw in my first games of the year, I've thrown in two and everything's going well.  I'm trying to get myself prepared for the season now...you know, being ready to pitch every day and that type of thing. 


I threw in an extended spring training game on Thursday and I threw a scoreless inning for the Threshers (on Sunday). The cool thing about the game with Clearwater was that I had those first outing jitters and I missed that.  It was good to feel that. I'm happy with where I am. In the grand scheme of things, you've got to remember that this was essentially my second outing of spring training.  So, even though it's April, I have to remind myself that I'm not going to be as sharp as I want to be.  I'm still trying to get a feel for the strike zone and everything.  I'm throwing strikes, but I'm not throwing it as aggressively as I normally would.  I'm getting into the flow.  No cause for concern, this is normal for the stage that I'm at right now.  Everything's been completely positive right now.  I'm really happy with where I am.


As far as what the plan is moving forward, I know I'm throwing again (with the Threshers) on Wednesday and we'll see where we go from there.


On what has helped motivate him during the down time and while on the road to recovery...

For me, the big motivator is to get back to pitch and being the person that I feel that I was put on this Earth to be, which is a baseball player.  When I'm not playing games, I kind of feel lost almost.  For me, the whole motivation is to get back to be doing what I feel I should be doing.  I just want to get back out there and get some batters out.


On what he has learned from this time on the sidelines, while the rest of his teammates have come north and gotten their season rolling...


It has definitely taught me patience, that's for sure.  It's taught me that's it's okay to not go full bore all the time in the off-season and everything, and that being in shape and ready to go is a process, and that I am going to get older and so I've really got to listen to my body.  Everything that has happened with this is really a blessing in disguise, so I'm going to be able to take from this that I should pay more attention to my body, and to take more time in my throwing progression, and really give my arm a chance to be at full health.  It's kind of like when I tweaked my oblique in 2009, it taught me to really pay attention to the strength and conditioning part of everything.  You can't take anything for granted, because it's not always going to be there.  I've got to just really take care of my body.  That's what I've really learned from this. 


On what goes through pitchers' mind when weak offense becomes a trend and causes stellar pitching efforts to go to waste....

From the team perspective, you're upset, because you want to win games.  Our job is to go out there and get outs and to put up zeroes anyway, regardless of if they're going to score 1 run or 10.  We're out there to hang zeroes.  I don't really give much thought to that.  If my team's going to score 1 run, we better not give up any.  You don't really think of it as, "Oh my gosh, I'm going out there and I'm only going to get 1 run."  One run is enough to win!  And I'm sure if you ask other pitchers, they'll say they fully expect to win if they get 1 run. 


It's still so early in the season to get worried about it.  The team's going to come around.  There's no doubt. 


But (when the offense struggles) there might be a little frustration, but not on the individual side of it.  It's more of a frustration like, "Man, we really want to get this team going," When you know the team can be better.  It doesn't change our game plan at all.  The goal for a pitcher is to not give up runs, so I wouldn't give much thought to it.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weekly Developmental Roundup

With plenty of stuff going on throughout the Phillies' developmental ranks, I plan to deliver a weekly glance at various things of importance related to the organization's farm clubs. Welcome to the first edition of our weekly minor league roundup.

-Right from the top we take it to Allentown, where the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs sport a 7-0 record at home and are holding down second place in the International League's North division, 1/2 game behind the Pawtucket Red Sox.

36-year-old starting pitcher Scott Elarton has been a shining star for the 'Pigs, as he has posted a 1-0 record with a 0.56 ERA while holding opponents to a .217 batting average over his first 3 starts this season.  

Domonic Brown has put together 4 multi-hit games is his last 7 played. Overall, the highly rated prospect has posted a .264 batting average with 4 doubles a triple and 8 RBI in 14 games.

First baseman Cody Overbeck has been the offensive star for Lehigh Valley, leading the team in RBI (9), total bases (22), hits (15) and batting average (.294).

The IronPigs begin a 13-game homestand this coming Monday. Upcoming giveaways include a Vance Worley bobblehead and a Ryne Sandberg bronze statue.

-In Reading, the Double-A Phillies have put together an 11-5 record and sit in second place in the Eastern League's Eastern division 1/2 game behind the New Britain Rock Cats.

First baseman Darin Ruf has been excellent for the R-Phils with his .393 batting average that ranks third best in the league.  Ruf was a 20th round draft selection in 2009 out of Creighton University.

Leandro Castro's 14 RBI are tied for the league lead. Castro, who had a down year with Clearwater last year while suffering with some injuries, has returned to full health and has proven to be a big time contributor for the Reading offense.

Starter Trevor May, who won the Paul Owens Award in 2011 for being the Philadelphia organization's top minor league pitcher, is continuing right along with the ways that earned him such high praise. In 3 starts, May has posted a 3-0 record with a 3.18 ERA with 19 strikeouts through 17 innings pitched.

-The Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers are off to a slow start and have posted a 4-9 record thus far, which is weak enough to have them 8 games out of first place in the tough Florida State League North division.

Righty hurler Brody Colvin has performed well in the early going, with a 0-1 record and a 2.81 ERA while holding left-handed hitters to a .091 batting average.  Colvin, 21, was a 7th round draft pick in 2009 out of high school in Louisiana.

2008 first-round draft choice Anthony Hewitt started the season on the disabled list, but has returned to action, going 1-for-16 (.063 avg) in 4 games thus far this season. Hewitt, who turns 23-years-old this week, showed great improvements under manager Chris Truby last year with Lakewood, where Hewitt became an All-Star outfielder and stole 36 bases. Truby has moved up one level, along with Hewitt this year, so hopefully the success of a year ago will continue to develop.

Lefty hurler Austin Wright, an 8th round draft selection last year, has looked great for the Threshers. The 22-year-old University of Mississippi product has gone 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA through 2 starts.

 -The Class A Lakewood BlueClaws are off to a 6-10 start and sit in 6th place, 5 1/2 games behind the South Atlantic League's North division leading Greensboro Grasshoppers. New Lakewood skipper, former Phillies All-Star Mickey Morandini, will utilize the roster's tremendous speed and focus the team on small ball all season long.

The BlueClaws lead the SAL in stolen bases with 31....of those, 9 are by outfielder Gauntlett Eldemire, 8 are by outfielder Kyrell Hudson and 6 are by outfielder Aaron Altherr.

Lakewood sports some considerable depth with southpaws. They have six lefty hurlers on the roster- Mario Hollands, Ervis Manzanillo, Bryan Morgado, Ryan Sasaki and Ethan Stewart. In addition, lefty Nick Hernandez is also listed on the disabled list for Lakewood, while he rehabs from shoulder surgery in Clearwater, at the Phillies' spring training facilities. Check back here each week as we keep you up to date on happenings throughout the Phils' minor league ranks. _____________________________________________________________

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Friday, April 20, 2012

PhoulBallz Interview: LHP Ethan Stewart

Left-handed pitcher Ethan Stewart was drafted considerably late (47th round, 2010) by the Phillies. At three levels in the developmental ranks, the 6-foot-6-inch 210-pounder has performed like a talent that was selected much earlier.

Last season in 13 combined starts with the Gulf Coast League Phillies and the short season Williamsport Crosscutters, Stewart posted a 5-4 record with a 3.39 ERA while striking out 60 batters and walking 27 in 63 2/3 innings pitched.

Thus far in 2012, Stewart, a native of British Columbia, is sporting a 0-1 record with a 1.10 ERA through three starts for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. He has also held opponents to a .172 batting average.

Last week I spent some time with Ethan, who spoke about his pitch repertoire, getting drafted, Twitter and plenty more. Check out the media player below to hear the full interview.



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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Series Preview: Phillies at Padres, April 19-22

Last year, the Phillies dominated the Padres, winning 7 of 8 games between the two clubs, including all 4 that were played in San Diego. This year, fresh off a disappointing loss Wednesday night to the Giants, despite 10 scoreless innings from Cliff Lee, the Phillies limp into Petco Park in an unfamiliar position...for the first time in nearly five years, Philadelphia has sole possession of last place in the National League East division.

The Padres (3-10) are also holding down last place, in the NL West.

Hoping to turn things around, the Phils (5-7) will send 24-year-old right-hander Vance Worley to the mound. Worley sports a 12-5 record and a 2.93 ERA in his big league career.

San Diego will counter with 22-year-old righty Joe Wieland, who was acquired, along with pitcher Robbie Erlin, from Texas for Mike Adams last July.

Read ahead for more details on the pitching match ups and loads more stats from this series.


Thursday, 10:05 PM. Vance Worley (0-1, 3.75 ERA) vs. Joe Wieland (0-1, 10.80 ERA). Worley has never faced the Padres in his career. In 13 road games last season, Worley posted a 5-2 record with a 3.84 ERA. Wieland was a 4th round draft pick by Texas in 2008. In 2 starts with Triple-A Tucson this year, Wieland went 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA. Wieland had initially signed a letter of intent to play for San Diego St. University prior to signing as a pro with the Rangers.

Friday, 10:05 PM. Cole Hamels (1-1, 3.65 ERA) vs. Edinson Volquez (0-1, 4.24 ERA). In 5 career starts at Petco Park, Hamels has a 3-1 record with a 1.23 ERA and a .177 batting average against. Orlando Hudson is 4-for-20 (.200 avg) in his career against Hamels. In 2 starts against the Padres last season, Hamels went 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA. In two career starts against the Phillies, Volquez is 2-0 with a 0.73 ERA and a .163 batting average against. Hunter Pence is 3-for-18 (.167 avg) with a homerun in his career against Volquez. Ty Wigginton is 3-for-6 (.500 avg) with a double and 2 homers against Volquez.

Saturday, 8:35 PM. Roy Halladay (3-0, 1.17 ERA) vs. Cory Luebke (1-1, 3.71 ERA). Opponents are batting .164 against Halladay in his 2 road starts this year. In 3 career starts against San Diego, Halladay has a 3-0 record with a 1.90 ERA. Chase Headley is 2-for-11 (.182 avg). The lefty Luebke has a 2.25 ERA in 3 career outings against Philadelphia. In 28 career games at Petco Park, Luebke has a 4-7 record with a 4.01 ERA.

Sunday, 4:05 PM. Joe Blanton (1-2, 4.26 ERA) vs. Anthony Bass (0-2, 3.37 ERA). Blanton is 2-1 with a 3.75 ERA in 4 career starts at Petco Park. Orlando Hudson is 2-for-17 (.118 avg) against Blanton in his career. Cameron Maybin is 7-for-16 (.438 avg) with 2 doubles and a triple in his career against Blanton. The right-handed Bass will be making his 6th big league start. Bass has a 1.40 ERA in 14 career outings at Petco Park. Opponents are batting .191 against Bass this year.


Phils rookie infielder Freddy Galvis has an 8-game hitting streak entering this series. Galvis is batting .237 on the season thus far.

Carlos Ruiz is 7-for-16 (.437 avg) in 6 road games this season. Ruiz is a .247 hitter in 27 career games against the Padres.

Jimmy Rollins is 3-for-24 (.125 avg) in 6 road contests this year. Rollins batted .138 in 8 games against San Diego last season.

In 24 career games against the Phillies, Chase Headley is a .241 hitter with 1 HR and 7 RBI. Through his first 7 home games this season, Headley posted a .174 batting average. Headley smashed 2 homers on Wednesday against Colorado.

Will Venable has a .147 career batting average in 12 games against the Phillies.

Including his efforts in the postseason, Huston Street has a 9.72 ERA in 9 career games against the Phils.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

PhoulBallz Interview: SS Prospect Tyler Greene

Drafted in the 11th round last year out of West Boca Raton Community High School, shortstop Tyler Greene wasted no time signing with the Phillies, to begin his pro career. The righty hitting 19-year-old has been praised by those within the system for his athleticism and his quick bat.

In his first pro season in 2011, Greene posted a .276 batting average with 6 doubles, 4 RBI and 5 steals in 17 games for the Gulf Coast League Phillies.

Through 10 games this season with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, Greene is sporting a .206 average with 4 doubles, a homer and 4 RBI.

Recently, I spoke with Tyler about being drafted last year, about his manager Mickey Morandini, about the other Tyler Greene's and more. Check out the media player below to listen to the full interview.



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Monday, April 16, 2012

PhoulBallz Interview: Gauntlett Eldemire

In the early going this season, outfielder Gauntlett Eldemire has proven to be a catalyst for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. Sporting a remarkable .324/.439/.500 line along with a league leading 8 stolen bases and 11 runs scored through his first 9 professional games, the 23-year-old has helped the team get off to a 3-1 start to their first homestand.

A 6th round draft choice in 2010, Eldemire was sidelined each of the seasons since then, following wrist surgeries. In the short time since he's been able to take the field at full health for the Phillies organization, the Ohio native has shown glimpses of the five tools that baseball scouts covet so much.

Recently, Gauntlett took some time to answer a few questions and talk about the misdiagnosis that led to extended time on the shelf, his coaches, his draft experience and more.

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


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Series Preview: Phillies at Giants, April 16-18

Each team will send its top hurler to the mound in the opener of a 3-games series on Monday night, although just one of the two has pitched like an ace thus far in 2012.

Philadelphia's perennial Cy Young Award contender Roy Halladay will take the mound at San Francisco's AT&T Park against the Giants in game 1. Halladay is coming off two great outings against the Pirates and the Marlins to begin the season.

The Giants will counter with two-time former National League Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, who is fresh off the shortest outing of his career, after allowing 6 earned runs in 2 1/3 innings against the Rockies on April 11th.

This will mark the pair's first meeting in the regular season.

The Phillies won 4 of 7 meetings with the Giants last season, including 3 of 4 in San Francisco.

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


Monday, 10:15 PM. Roy Halladay (2-0, 0.60 ERA) vs. Tim Lincecum (0-1, 12.91 ERA). In 3 career regular season starts against the Giants, Halladay has a 0-2 record with a 7.23 ERA and a .313 batting average against. Lefty batters are hitting .080 against the right-handed Halladay this season. In 9 career regular season starts against the Phillies, Lincecum has a 4-1 record and a 2.61 ERA. Lincecum posted a 6-7 record with a 3.07 ERA in 17 home starts last season. Hunter Pence is 3-for-26 (.115 avg) in his career against Lincecum.

Tuesday, 10:15 PM. Joe Blanton (1-1, 2.35 ERA) vs. Madison Bumgarner (1-1, 3.97 ERA). In 3 career starts at AT&T Park, Blanton is 0-1 with a 3.57 ERA. Blanton is 2-3 with a 4.73 ERA in 7 career regular season starts against San Francisco. Angel Pagan is 6-for-12 with 2 HR in his career against Blanton. The lefty Bumgarner will be making his first home start this season. In 17 home starts last season, Bumgarner posted an 8-6 record with a 3.12 ERA.

Wednesday, 10:15 PM. Cliff Lee (0-1, 3.46 ERA) vs. Matt Cain (1-0, 3.00 ERA). In 4 career regular season starts against SF, Lee has a 4-0 record with a 0.82 ERA. Opponents are batting .159 against Lee this season. Lee tossed a complete game shutout in his third start last year and has a 0.59 ERA in third starts of the season dating back 4 years. Cain is 1-4 with a 4.17 ERA in 7 career regular season starts against Philadelphia. Jimmy Rollins is 7-for-17 (.412 avg) with 2 doubles, 3 triples and a HR in regular season action against Cain.


Pablo Sandoval is batting .333 through 9 games this season. Sandoval is 0-for-6 against Blanton and is just 1-for-8 against Lee, but has 2 hits in 4 at bats against Halladay.

Melky Cabrera is a .224 hitter in 19 career games against the Phillies. Cabrera is 9-for-38 (.237 avg) in 9 career games at AT&T Park.

In 39 career games against the Phillies, reliever Guillermo Mota is 1-5 with 2 blown saves and a 6.18 ERA. Mota has a 2.95 ERA in 25 career regular season games at AT&T Park.

Hunter Pence is a .310 hitter in 33 career games against the Giants. In 17 career games at AT&T Park, Pence has a .323 average with 3 doubles and 4 homeruns.

In 18 career games at AT&T Park, Ty Wigginton has posted a .169 batting average.

Shane Victorino is 8-for-39 (.205 avg) in his career against Lincecum and Cain during regular season play. Victorino has hit safely in 8 straight games.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

BlueClaws Win with Speed and Power

LAKEWOOD- Speed, speed, speed and a little power is what the 2012 Class A Lakewood BlueClaws are all about. Aggressive base running, including four stolen bases and one massive hit helped the 'Claws lock down a romp of the Nationals affiliate Hagerstown Suns on Saturday.

Two stolen bases by lead-off man Gauntlett Eldemire (pictured) along with single swipes by Aaron Altherr and Kyrell Hudson took Lakewood's stolen base total through 10 games to 25.

Meanwhile, heavy hitting third baseman Maikel Franco launched a pitch from Suns reliever Alex Kreis out onto the concourse behind the grass berm in left field for a two-run homerun (video here) that capped a seven-run 7th inning for the BlueClaws, who downed the Suns 14-4 to the delight of a near sellout crowd of 6,880 fans.

The 23-year-old Eldemire, who missed the past two seasons with wrist injuries, leads the South Atlantic League with 8 steals. The Ohio native made his official pro debut at the start of the 2012 season, despite being a 6th round draft choice in 2010. Originally misdiagnosed with a bone bruise, when he had actually suffered torn ligaments, Eldemire later would undergo multiple surgeries to get himself back into playing condition. The right-handed hitting right fielder feels the down time provided him with an opportunity to refine his mental focus and prepare for the challenge of professional competition.

"I haven't played in two years, so I've just been practicing and rehabbing also, so I've just been getting my mind right for the regular season," Eldemire stated. "You know, I was really anxious to get out here, so that was a big part of it also. If you have your mind right, then you can do well."

The 19-year-old Franco, who had three hits in the contest, has been working hard on his offense since a weak stretch of 17 games with the BlueClaws last season in which he posted a .123 batting average. He now has restored confidence thanks to the coaching of his manager, former Phillies All-Star Mickey Morandini.

"Mickey Morandini is a good person and a good manager. We work every day to improve. We work every day in the weight room, on the field, at hitting, and throwing, and my running. He's very encouraging and helps his players keep focus. He's great," Franco said.

Morandini is in his second season of managing in the professional ranks and his first with Lakewood. A guy that was never a powerhouse (32 HR in 11 big league seasons), Morandini appreciates small ball and plans to use the speed in his line up from guys like Eldemire, Hudson and Altherr every chance he gets.

"God gave them speed and that's something we can't teach these kids is speed, and we're going to utilize that," Morandini said. "We're gonna make things happen, put pressure on the defense. When opponents are worrying about the runners on base, they're going to forget how they want to pitch guys and make some mistakes.

"(The line up is) gonna hit some homeruns, but not enough where we can call them power hitters, so that's why we gotta go out there and manufacture runs and occasionally we can depend on a homerun."

One day shy of his 21st birthday, Lakewood starting pitcher Colin Kleven, who sports a 93 MPH fastball, earned the win, going 6 solid innings while allowing 3 runs, all of which were unearned.

Left fielder Brian Pointer, 20, smacked a run-scoring triple in the 'Claws' 6-run 3rd inning. The 28th round draft selection from 2010 leads the club with 9 RBI.

The BlueClaws will wrap up their series with the Suns on Sunday at 1:05 PM when they send lefty Lino Martinez to the mound against Hagerstown's Wirkin Estevez.
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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Maikel Franco Has Power

He's a highly touted prospect that has raw power. He's a 19-year-old Dominican born that has fans in Lakewood buzzing. He's been described as the Phillies' third baseman of the future. He's Maikel Franco and he mashes taters.

In the video clip below, the BlueClaws' cleanup hitter takes right-handed hurler Alex Kreis, off the Nationals' affiliate Hagerstown Suns, deep. The ball is driven beyond the grass berm in left field and onto the concourse behind it.


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Friday, April 13, 2012

The J-Bone Zone, Vol. 7: Progress, Galvis & Rookie Cards

As right-handed reliever Justin De Fratus recovers from an elbow ailment that kept him out of action throughout all of spring training, the California native has been checking in, on a regular basis, and providing exclusive updates directly to the fans right here on PhoulBallz.com.

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 Major League debut in September and holding opponents to a .083 batting average in 5 appearances. Heading forward, De Fratus, who was ranked 5th on the 2012 PhilliesNation.com prospect rankings, hopes to be an impact contributor in the Phillies bullpen for years to come.

For Justin's most recent thoughts on his progression to full health, Phils' rookie infielder Freddy Galvis and more, read ahead and step inside the J-Bone Zone...


On his progress and what the next steps will be-

Everything's been great. The ball's coming out of my hand really well and I'm going to have my first live B.P. session (on Friday) and we'll see where it goes from there. I mean I feel great and I expect to be back pretty soon.

The plan is still that I'll pitch a couple games with the extended spring training team and then maybe a couple with Clearwater and then hopefully, after that, that's when I'll be good to go.


On if he gets to bond with any other rehabbing players, in Florida-

The two other guys that are here are Michael Martinez and Jose Contreras. As far as hanging out, no. We just kind of go to the field, get our work done and then go home for the day.


On how he's able to keep up with the big league Phillies from so far away-

I use that MLB At Bat app, so I catch all the games whenever I can. I've been watching all of the games on that application on my iPad. I've been following the guys, definitely.


On Freddy Galvis, his teammates from the past two seasons, getting a chance to impact the big leagues-

It's no surprise to me. I've seen the guy play for a couple years now. It's really exciting for me to get to see him play and especially with that hit he got (on Wednesday) night against Josh Johnson in a big spot. It's just really cool to see that happen and after that, there's going to be some definite confidence in him now. He's gonna start playing really well. That's what I think. I'm just really happy for the guy. He's a great guy and he deserves everything he has.


On his very own MLB rookie cards being in circulation and if he's got any-

I've seen them. I get a ton of them in the mail to sign, so I've definitely seen them. But as far as me having any, no I don't have any. I know my family has bought a few. That's more for them. If the time ever comes, when at the end of my career, I want to have a few baseball cards of myself, I know my family will have them, so I'll be able to get them from them. It's definitely cool, but I'm not gonna start my own collection of my own baseball cards.


As always, thanks to Justin for taking time to address the fans and provide exclusive inside looks at his life and his progress. Check back each week for more J-Bone Zone.

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Series Preview: Metropolitans at Phillies, April 13-15

Entering the weekend with a Major League best 1.99 ERA, the Phillies will continue to rely on that strength as they begin a 3-game series with the division rival New York Mets.

Among the most reliable hurlers for the Phils is lefty ace Cliff Lee, who will take the mound in game 1. Lee had a pair of strong outings against New York last season, allowing just 1 run over 14 total innings.

The Mets will counter with right-hander R.A. Dickey. The veteran hasn't had much luck at the home park of the Phillies, posting a 0-2 record with a 6.00 ERA in 2 career starts at Citizens Bank Park.

New York third baseman David Wright could miss time in the series, as he is dealing with a fracture in his right pinky finger. Wright suffered the injury sliding into a base this week.

Read ahead for loads more details on the pitching match ups and plenty more stats for this series.


Friday, 7:05 PM. R.A. Dickey (1-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (0-0, 1.50 ERA). In 6 career starts against the Phillies, Dickey has a 2-3 record with a 2.61 ERA. In 16 road games last year, Dickey posted a 6-4 record with a 2.99 ERA. Jimmy Rollins is 1-for-14 (.071 avg) in his career against Dickey. Lee has a 2-0 record with a 0.43 ERA and a .224 batting average in 3 career starts against the Mets. In 18 regular season starts at Citizens Bank Park last season, Lee posted an 11-3 record with 1.94 ERA.

Saturday, 4:05 PM. Jonathan Niese (1-0, 4.50 ERA) vs. Vance Worley (0-0, 1.50 ERA). Niese has a 3-4 record with a 4.07 ERA in 8 career starts against the Phillies. In 5 starts at Citizens Bank Park, Niese has a 1-3 record and a 5.72 ERA. Placido Polanco is 9-for-21 (.429 avg) with 4 doubles in his career against Niese. In 16 career games at Citizens Bank Park, Worley has posted 7-2 record and a 2.33 ERA with a .204 batting average against. Daniel Murphy is 4-for-8 (.500 avg) in his career against Worley.

Sunday, 1:35 PM. Mike Pelfrey (0-0, 4.76 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (0-1, 5.06 ERA). Pelfrey has a 7-7 record and a 5.37 ERA in 19 career starts against Philadelphia. In 3 starts at Citizens Bank Park last season Pelfrey posted a 9.49 ERA. Hunter Pence is 7-for-18 (.389 avg) with a double and a homer against Pelfrey. In 17 career starts against the Mets, Hamels has a 3-10 record with a 4.46 ERA. Hamels sported a 6.86 in 4 starts against the Metropolitans last season.


Ruben Tejada has a .177 batting average in 20 career games against the Phillies.

David Wright, who is batting .583 through 4 games this season, went 15-for-38 (.395 avg) in 9 games at Citizens Bank Park last year.

In 109 career games against the Mets, Juan Pierre has a .309 batting average with 43 stolen bases.

Jimmy Rollins posted a .355 batting average in 15 games against the Mets last season. Rollins is 11-for-20 (.550 avg) with 4 extra base hits against Mets reliever Miguel Batista in his career.

In 13 games against the Mets last season, Carlos Ruiz posted a .389 batting average with a double and 5 RBI.

Mets team batting average- .251
Phillies team batting average- .240
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Burrell to Retire as a Phillie

On Thursday the Phillies announced that Pat Burrell would sign a one-day contract with the organization and ceremonially retire as a Phillie, next month.

According to a release from the Phillies:

The 35-year-old will sign a one-day minor league contract with the Phillies, thus officially retiring as a member of the organization that selected him as the very first player in the 1998 draft. He’ll be honored during pregame on Saturday, May 19, by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.

Burrell wore Phillies pinstripes for nine seasons and ranks fourth in club history in home runs (251), eighth in RBI (827) and ninth in extra-base hits (518). His Phillies career concluded with a World Championship in 2008. His last hit as a Phillie was a double that led to the winning run in the decisive Game 5.


Since leaving Philadelphia, Burrell, who was the 1st overall draft selection by the Phils in 1998, played with both Tampa Bay and San Francisco. In his 9 seasons with the Phillies, Burrell posted a .257 batting average in 1,306 regular season contests. In addition, the University of Miami graduate ranks 4th in club history in homeruns with 251 and is 8th in RBI with 827.

May 18th is the date for the return of Burrell. Mark it down.

This process is the same thing former 1st round draft pick Mike Lieberthal did with the Phillies back in 2008, after he left the club that he spent the majority of his career with and spent time playing for the Dodgers.
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Former Phils Prospect Taylor Heating Up PCL

Michael Taylor has been gone from the Phillies organization since December, 2009, when he was included in a package of players that was sent to Toronto for ace hurler Roy Halladay. Taylor was quickly flipped to Oakland in a separate trade and has had a tough time reaching and staying in the big leagues ever since.

The 6-foot-5-inch 255-pound outfielder has been mashing opposing pitching in the early going this season, to the tune of a .452 batting average, through 7 games with Triple-A Sacramento. With 6 doubles, a homerun and a league leading 11 RBI, Taylor has helped lead the River Cats to a 6-1 record.

Taylor, a Stanford graduate who spent this past off-season interning at a radio station in San Francisco, was the Phillies 5th round draft choice in 2007.

Over the past two seasons in the Pacific Coast League, Taylor has batted .272 with 22 homers and 142 RBI in 220 games. The righty batting Taylor also sported a .200 average with 1 homerun and 1 RBI in 11 games with the Athletics last year.

Now 26 years old, Taylor is at a crossroads. While he's steadily been on the brink of cracking the Major Leagues, he now sits on the verge of becoming a career minor leaguer. With the numbers he is producing thus far in 2012, that doesn't seem to be a likely option for the two-time minor league All-Star.


In addition, Taylor's teammate outfielder Brandon Moss, who was a key contributor for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs club that went to the International League playoffs last year, is also dominating for the River Cats. In 5 games, Moss has posted a .421 average with a double, a triple, 2 homers and 6 RBI. Moss also appeared in 5 games for the big league Phillies last season, but signed with Oakland as a free agent following the 2011 season.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Farm Hands Feast on Trio of Big Leaguers

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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