Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ryan Howard Rehab Notes & Quotes


Ryan Howard continued to test his recovering Achilles tendon as he rehabbed for the second time in as many nights with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws on Friday. The 32-year-old slugger has been sidelined following off-season surgery to repair the tendon he ruptured in the final at bat of the Phillies' 2011 postseason.

In game action on Friday, facing highly regarded Nationals prospect Alex Meyer, who throws a fastball that ranges from 96-98 MPH, Howard went 1-for-2 with a single and a strike out. Howard played first base for five innings and looked good, moving laterally with no problems and completing the end of three different BlueClaws double plays with ease. The efforts on Friday followed his 2-for-4 effort on Thursday, in which laced two singles, hit a Sac fly and drove in three runs as the Lakewood designated hitter.

Following the game on Friday, Howard told the media that he is slated to return to Lakewood for another rehab game on Saturday, in which he will again serve as the team's DH.

The BlueClaws won Friday night's contest against the Hagerstown Suns by a score of 6-1, behind a strong pitching effort from lefty Ethan Stewart, who allowed just one unearned run in six innings of work, and the hot bat of Chris Duffy (15-game hitting streak), who put the BlueClaws ahead in the 8th inning with an RBI single. Additionally, third baseman Maikel Franco mashed a Josh Smoker pitch into the night for a grand slam that capped the scoring for the 'Claws in the 8th frame.

Following his outing, Howard spoke with a few members of the media and offered up the following quotes...

Howard on playing the field:
"Tonight felt pretty good. You know, foul balls- was able to move laterally, or try to get breaks on balls. Depth perception will probably be the biggest thing, um, getting used to the throws, cutters, sinkers, all that kind of stuff. But, that just comes with the reps."

Howard on what will come next for him:
"I'll be here (Saturday) for sure. That may be it, either (Saturday) or Sunday. And then, move on to the next one...either Lehigh or Reading, one of the two."

Howard on not getting a 3rd at bat in the contest on Friday:
"It is what it is. You know, you go out and play. It's all about, now, just play and working back into it. You don't want to overdo it. It's only the second game. There's still plenty more games to go."

Howard on loosening up gingerly in pregame warm ups:
"That's how I do it regardless. I don't go full blown sprints. Just try and save it for the game. It's just getting loose."

Howard on how it felt playing first base, rather than only serving as the DH:
"It felt good. It felt good. You know, being able to get the reads off the bat. Just seeing double plays and just being a part of the- just getting throws and everything. It felt good."

Howard on being able to bond with the young prospects while he rehabs:
"I mean it's cool to be down and see the guys get a little hyped up, but at the same time, I just tell 'em, 'Hey, we gotta go out there. We gotta go play!' I just try to give them a little bit of knowledge here and there, if they're asking questions and what not. But, I just try to go out there and play and try to win a game."

Howard on being the kind of player that cheers for his teammates and tries to motivate the club:
"That's just me. No matter what level it is, we're out there, we're trying to win games. So, I mean, if you're not then you shouldn't be here. You know, I just try to get the guys a little worked up, get them out there ready to go, trying to win a game."

Howard on whether there's a time table for a return to the Phillies:
"There's no real time table. I mean, just take these games till I feel comfortable. Just continue to get some reps, get in game situations and see where we are from there."

Howard on Hagerstown's Meyer-
"He was pretty good. He had a good fastball, ran it up to about 98-99, had some movement on it. So, he had a live arm. He was pretty good."

Check out more images as well as video footage of Ryan Howard's single from Friday below.

Pregame hitting discussion with coach Lino Connell and roving infield coordinator Doug Mansolino

Anthem with his retired number in the distance

In the field, first inning

Checking out game action from the dugout

Howard's Entourage castmate, and girlfriend of Hagerstown's Cutter Dykstra, Jamie Lynn Sigler checking out the game


Friday, June 29, 2012

Series Preview: Phillies at Marlins, June 29-July 1

Following a 5-5 homestand, the Phillies (36-42) hit the road to begin a 3-game series against the division rival Marlins (35-40) in Miami beginning Friday night.

In the series opener, Cliff Lee will take the mound, still seeking his first win of the season. At the same point last year, Lee had already notched 9 victories. The Marlins will counter with right-hander Josh Johnson, who gave up 1 run and just 2 hits over 7 innings in his latest start last Saturday against Toronto.

Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups and other key statistical notes from this series.


Friday, 7:10 PM. Cliff Lee (0-4, 3.72 ERA) vs. Josh Johnson (4-5, 3.96 ERA). Cliff Lee has posted a 5.19 ERA in his last 4 road starts. In 5 career starts against the Marlins, Lee has a 2-0 record with a 2.31 ERA. Lee has a 3.18 ERA in 8 night starts this season. In 15 career games against the Phillies, Johnson has a 5-4 record with a 3.68 ERA. Johnson is 3-3 with a 3.41 ERA in 9 home starts this season. In his last 4 starts, Johnson is 1-2 with a 1.95 ERA. Placido Polanco is 1-for-10 (.100 avg) in his career against Johnson.

Saturday, 4:10 PM. Cole Hamels (10-3, 3.03 ERA) vs. Mark Buehrle (6-8, 3.55 ERA). In 6 road games this season, Hamels has a 5-0 record and a 3.43 ERA. Hamels is 2-2 with a 4.28 ERA in 5 June starts. Buehrle has a 3-2 record with a 5.23 ERA in 5 career starts against the Phillies. In his last 5 starts, Buehrle has a 1-4 record with a 4.20 ERA. Hector Luna is 6-for-8 (.750 avg) in his career against Buehrle.

Sunday, 1:10 PM. Joe Blanton (7-6, 4.87 ERA) vs. Ricky Nolasco (6-6, 4.78 ERA). In his last 4 starts, Blanton is 3-0 with a 3.94 ERA. Blanton has a 7-3 record with a 3.49 ERA in 11 career starts against the Marlins. Nolasco is 7-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 16 career games against the Phils. In his last 4 starts Nolasco has a 0-3 record with a 6.14 ERA.


Carlos Ruiz has a .398 batting average with 5 HR and 22 RBI in 30 road games this season. In 78 career games against the Marlins, Ruiz is a .260 hitter with 6 homers and 30 RBI.

In 26 June games, Hunter Pence has a .305 batting average with 3 HR and 15 RBI. The righty hitting Pence is batting .217 with 2 homers and 5 RBI against left-handed pitchers this season.

Chase Utley has a .296 average with 24 HR and 89 RBI in 124 games against the Marlins in his career.

In 33 games against the Phillies, Giancarlo Stanton has a .234 average with 6 HR and 12 RBI.

Omar Infante is a .234 hitter with 5 HR and 19 RBI in 70 career games against the Phillies. Infante is 8-for-24 (.333 avg) with 2 HR and 2 RBI in 6 games against the Phils this season.

Hanley Ramirez has a .295 average with 15 HR and 40 RBI in 101 career games against the Phils. Ramirez is hitting .225 in 23 June games.

Phillies team ERA- 3.92 (11th in MLB)
Marlins team ERA- 3.95 (14th in MLB)

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PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast: Episode 9

On the latest edition of the PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast, Tug and I discuss how it's Tyler Cloyd's time to join the Phillies' rotation, Double-A and Triple-A All-Stars, Cody Asche's & Harold Martinez's ascent upward in the developmental ranks and Jay's time at Fenway Park. We also took listeners questions, played the Twitter Game and plenty more.

Check out the media player below to listen to the full show, or download it by clicking HERE.

Additionally, click HERE to listen to previous episodes of the program. You can also subscribe on iTunes.

Recovering LHP Hernandez Experiences Setback

Left-handed pitching prospect Nick Hernandez has experienced another bump in the long road to recovery, following two years of shoulder troubles. Hernandez confirmed exclusively with PhoulBallz.com that he will require another surgery and be out of action for the remainder of the season.

Hernandez, a 12th round draft selection in 2009, became an All-Star in the South Atlantic League with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws in 2010 by posting a 3-1 record with a 1.61 ERA while striking out 52 and walking just 8 in 56 innings pitched.

Following his exceptional start to his pro career, the 6-foot-5-inch 205-pounder began experiencing discomfort in his throwing shoulder and was shut down for much of the remainder of the season. He rehabbed that year, making four starts with the Gulf Coast League Phillies, but experienced recurring pain and did not return to action until the Florida Instructional League that fall.

Last April, after being diagnosed with another labrum issue, rest and rehab were clearly not enough to get Hernandez back to full health, and surgery was required. Hernandez, a University of Tennessee product, has been recovering since that time.

To avoid further injuries, Hernandez, a Florida native, was taking his rehab rather slowly this year and was approaching full health. Roughly two weeks from competing in game action this year, another setback popped up for the nephew of MLB umpire Angel Hernandez.

After experiencing discomfort during his last bullpen session on Tuesday, June 19th, Hernandez was shut down by the Phillies. Hernandez then had an MRI on the troublesome area, which resulted in visible issues, or as Hernandez put it, "they found some things going on in there".

Hernandez saw Dr. Craig Morgan in Wilmington, DE on Thursday to further evaluate the health of his shoulder. Morgan is often regarded as the top shoulder physician in the world. Hoping for good news, Hernandez learned on Thursday that his season is over and he'll require arthroscopic surgery to clean up the area.

According to Hernandez, his labrum, rotator cuff and rotator interval are all intact. He expects to be back to 100% by spring training next year.

Hernandez, who has learned a great deal of patience through all of his down time, still maintains a positive outlook.

"It's unfortunate, but I just have to tackle the next battle", Hernandez stated.

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Image- MiLB.com

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Six R-Phils to Rep Baseballtown in EL All-Star Game

In a statement released in conjunction with the Eastern League, the Double-A Reading Phillies announced that six of the club's players have been named mid-season All-Stars.

Among the Eastern division's representatives will be righty pitchers Justin Friend and Julio Rodriguez, along with shortstop Troy Hanzawa, second baseman Cesar Hernandez, catcher Sebastian Valle and first baseman Darin Ruf.

Reading's skipper Dusty Wathan will join his six players as the Eastern All-Stars' manager.

The Baseballtown All-Star Classic is set to be played at Reading's FirstEnergy Stadium on Wednesday, July 11 at 7:05 PM.

Friend, a reliever that was acquired by the Phillies from the Oakland organization in the 2010 Rule 5 draft, has been tremendous this season. The 26-year-old sports a 2-0 record with a 0.33 ERA and 14 saves as Reading's closer.

Rodriguez, an 8th round draft selection in 2008 by the Phils, has continued to develop this year. Following a season in which he led the Class A Advanced Florida State League in wins (16) and finished second in strike outs (168) and ERA (2.76), the 21-year-old Rodriguez has tallied a 5-1 record and a 3.23 ERA with 85 strike outs in 83 2/3 innings pitched.

Hanzawa, a 16th round draft pick in 2008 out of San Diego St., has seen a surge in his offensive production a year after he posted a lowly .567 OPS in 120 combined games between Clearwater and Reading last year. This season, in 69 games, the 5-foot-9-inch 155-pounder has posted a .279 batting average with 12 doubles, 5 triples and 29 RBI. Additionally, the 26-year-old's OPS sits at .712 for the R-Phils.

Hernandez, a switch-hitting 22-year-old Venezuela native, has a .315 batting average with 19 doubles, 8 triples, 1 homer and 34 RBI through 73 games this season.

Valle, a 21-year-old Mexico native, has a .251 average with 8 home runs and 31 RBI through 58 games this season. Valle was ranked as the Phillies' top positional prospect this year by PhilliesNation.com.

Ruf, a 20th draft pick by the Phillies in 2009 out of Creighton University, has a .319 batting average with 12 homers and 49 RBI and is among the league leaders in OPS with a .939 mark. Ruf is roughly a month shy of his 26th birthday.

Friend and Ruf were selected to the team via Eastern League Fan Balloting.

Tickets for the Baseballtown All-Star Classic and its events can be purchased online at RPhils.com, by phone at 610-370-BALL, and in person at the R-Phils' ticket office at FirstEnergy Stadium.
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Cloyd, Frandsen Named Triple-A All-Stars

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs will have two player representatives in the Triple-A All-Star game, when righty hurler Tyler Cloyd and infielder Kevin Frandsen head to Coca Cola Field in Buffalo, NY on Wednesday July 11th.

The annual exhibition pits the best talents of the International League against the top players from the Pacific Coast League.

Cloyd, who was an 18th round draft selection of the Phillies in 2008, has had an exceptional season. The 25-year-old began his 2012 campaign in Double-A with the Reading Phillies and has proven worthy of considerable recognition as he has posted 10-1 overall record with a 2.07 ERA in 15 combined starts at two levels. The Nebraska native will start the game for the IL team.

Frandsen, a right-handed hitter that was signed by the Phillies as a minor league free agent prior to the 2011 season, has posted a .290 batting average with 23 doubles, 26 RBI and 28 runs scored in 74 games for the 'Pigs this year.

Additionally, IronPigs manager Ryne Sandberg will serve on the IL club's coaching staff.

The International League has won eight meetings in the fourteen years since the event changed to the current IL vs. PCL format. As in previous years, the winning league this season will earn the right to have its champion play as the "home team" at the Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game which is set to take place Tuesday, September 18 in Durham, North Carolina.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Utley and Howard Near Return

Second baseman Chase Utley is set to return for the Phillies after competing in a rehab outing with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Tuesday night. In the club's 10-2 win over Rochester, the five-time All-Star slapped a single and slammed a home run while striking out twice in five at bats.

Utley has been out of action until recently with chondromalacia in his left knee.

Prior to playing for Lehigh Valley, Utley posted a .159 batting average with one homer and five RBI in nine games with Class A Advanced Clearwater.

Ultey told media members on Tuesday that he thought his overall progress was not reflected in the statistical totals he tallied in his minor league rehab outings.

"I actually swung the bat a little bit better than the numbers showed down in Clearwater," Utley said.

The Phillies must make a move to add Utley to the active 25-man roster on Wednesday. The most likely candidate to make room would be utility man Michael Martinez, who is batting .133 in 16 games for the Phils this season.


Also, the Phillies announced Tuesday that injured first baseman Ryan Howard could begin a rehab assignment with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws on Thursday evening. Howard has been sidelined this entire season, as he recovers from left Achiles tendon surgery.

Howard, who has been rehabbing the ailment at the Phillies' spring training home in Clearwater, FL, is slated to return to Philadelphia on Wednesday for "functional testing" on his Achilles area. If those tests come back with positive results, the former National League Most Valuable Player will begin a rehab assignment with the BlueClaws on Thursday night.

During his rise through the Phils' developmental system, Howard played with Lakewood in 2002. He later rehabbed injuries at Lakewood's FirstEnergy Park in 2007 and in 2010, with the team retiring his jersey number, 29, during his most recent appearance in the shore town.

For BlueClaws ticket information, call 732-901-7000 or visit BlueClaws.com.

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Utley image- Joe Wombough

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Clearwater Facilities Flooded by Storm

Tropical Storm Debby swept through Florida this weekend and impacted the home of the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, Brighthouse Field.

In these images tweeted by rehabbing Phillies reliever Justin De Fratus, the flooding left by the heavy rains can be seen. With lingering effects of Debby expected to continue to drop moisture on Florida through Monday, it is unclear exactly how the team's schedule will be affected, as the Threshers are on the road until Thursday. The Gulf Coast League Phillies, who also play in Clearwater, have home games scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. The GCL team plays most of its games on the neighboring Carpenter Complex field.



Reportedly, other ballparks in the region were affected in similar fashion as well.

De Fratus, a right-hander, who is recovering from a strain in his throwing elbow, threw from a mound on Thursday and Saturday and is progressing well. The 24-year-old De Fratus is feeling just fine and is happy to be taking his rehab process slowly, so as not to experience any further setbacks.
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Series Preview: Pirates at Phillies, June 25-28

While the Phillies (34-40) struggle, trying to get on any sort of roll, they'll host the Pirates (38-33) in a 4-game series beginning Monday night at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park.

Fresh off being swept in a double header by Tampa Bay on Sunday, the Philllies, who are the reigning five-time National League East division champions, are currently sitting in last place. Meanwhile, the Pirates, who haven't had a winning record since 1992, sit just 1 game back of the Reds for the top spot in the NL Central division.

The Phillies swept the Pirates in three games last season at Citizens Bank Park.

Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups and other statistical info on this series.

Monday, 7:05 PM. Jeff Karstens (0-1, 4.50) vs. Joe Blanton (6-6, 5.04 ERA). The right-handed Karstens will be returning from the disabled list, as he has been sidelined since April with a shoulder strain. In 6 career games against the Phillies, Karstens has no decisions and a 3.09 ERA. Karstens has a 7.50 ERA in 2 road starts this season. Hunter Pence is 9-for-24 (.375 avg) with a double and a home run in his career against Karstens. In 7 starts at home this season, Blanton has a 3-2 record with a 4.76 ERA. Blanton allowed a run in 2/3 of an inning against the Pirates in his lone relief appearance this season, back in April. Garett Jones is 1-for-11 (.091 avg) in his career against Blanton.

Tuesday, 7:05 PM. Erik Bedard (4-7, 4.13 ERA) vs. Vance Worley (3-4, 2.78 ERA). The lefty Bedard has a 2-1 record with a 1.61 ERA in 4 career starts against the Phillies. In 7 road starts this season, Badard has posted a 2-5 record with a 6.27 ERA. In his last 4 starts, since returning from the disabled list, Worley is 0-2 with a 2.25 ERA. Worley is 1-2 with a 3.90 ERA in 5 home starts this season. Garett Jones is 0-for-6 in his career against Worley.

Wednesday, 7:05 PM. James McDonald (6-3, 2.19 ERA) vs. To Be Announced. McDonald has held opponents to a .195 batting average against this season. In 5 career games against the Phillies, McDonald is 0-2 with a 5.51 ERA. Due to a rain out on Friday, it is unclear who will start on Wednesday for the Phillies. v

Thursday, 1:05 PM. A.J. Burnett (8-2, 3.24 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (2-7, 5.24 ERA). Burnett has a 3-2 record with a 7.18 ERA in 5 road starts this season. In his past 9 starts, Burnett is 7-0 with a 1.97 ERA. Burnett has a 5-9 record with a 5.13 ERA in 18 career games against the Phillies. In 7 home outings this season, Kendrick has a 1-4 record with a 5.34 ERA and a .284 batting average against. In 5 June starts, Kendrick has tallied a 7.11 ERA.


Andrew McCutchen has a .291 batting average with 3 HR and 9 RBI in 21 career games against the Phillies. McCutchen is a .194 hitter in 8 career games at Citizens Bank Park.

In 23 career games against the Phillies, Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan has a 1-2 record with 1 save, 1 blown save and a 3.00 ERA. Hanrahan has a 3.75 ERA in 12 road games this season. Jimmy Rollins is 2-for-13 (.154 avg) in his career against Hanrahan.

Pedro Alvarez is batting .220 in 32 road games this season. Alvarez has a .235 average in 9 career games against the Phillies.

In 19 career games against the Pirates, Carlos Ruiz has a .250 batting average with 4 doubles and 4 RBI. Ruiz has just 1 extra-base hit, a double, in 18 day games this season.

Juan Pierre is a .305 career hitter in 74 games against the Pirates. Pierre, who is batting .322 overall this season, has posted a .245 average in 32 home games.

Placido Polanco is batting .289 with 2 HR and 11 RBI in 32 home games this season. Polanco has a .281 career batting average in 72 games against Pittsburgh.

Injured second baseman Chase Utley is expected to return to the Phillies on Wednesday. Through 9 rehab games thus far with Class A Advanced Clearwater, Utley has posted a .159 batting average with 1 homer and 5 RBI. Utley is slated to play for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday.
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Friday, June 22, 2012

PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast: Episode 8

It's another edition of the PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast with Jay and Tug. On this week's episode we talk about Double-A pitcher David Buchanan's injury, the MLB All-Star Futures Game selections, the Williamsport Crosscutters and tales from Lakewood, including the reveal of which BlueClaws player asked pro wrestling legend Bret "the Hitman" Hart the most awkward question ever. We also play the Twitter game and much more.

Check out the media player below to listen to the full show, or download it by clicking HERE.

Additionally, click HERE to listen to previous episodes of the program. You can also subscribe on iTunes.

Series Preview: Rays at Phillies, June 22-24

After failing to capitalize on a chance to complete a sweep of the lowly Rockies on Thursday night, the Phillies (33-38) will return to interleague competition as the Rays (38-31) visit Philadelphia in a rematch of the 2008 World Series.

In the three-game series opener, Phillies Ace Cliff Lee will continue his quest for that elusive first win of the season. Tampa Bay will counter with righty James Shields, who notched the only win for the Rays in in that '08 Fall Classic.

The Phillies and Rays have not faced each other since 2009, when the Phils dropped two of three contests at Tampa Bay.

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

Friday, 7:05 PM. James Shields (7-4, 3.72 ERA) vs Cliff Lee (0-3, 3.48 ERA). In 7 road starts this season, Sheilds has a 5-2 record with a 3.72 ERA. Shields has a 1-3 record with a 3.99 ERA in his last 6 starts. Placido Polanco is 8-for-17 (.471 avg) with 2 doubles and 2 HR in his career against Shields. In 13 career starts against the Rays, Lee has a 6-5 record and a 2.87 ERA. Lee is 0-3 with a 3.53 ERA in 5 home starts this season. B.J. Upton is 7-for-21 (.333 avg) with 3 doubles in his career against Lee.

Saturday, 4:05 PM. Alex Cobb (3-3, 3.82 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (2-7, 5.29 ERA). The right-hander Cobb, Tampa Bays' 6th round draft choice from 2006, is 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA in 2 road starts this season. Cobb threw 7 shut out innings while striking out 10 batters in his last outing against Miami. Kendrick is 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA in his previous 3 starts. In 6 home outings this year, Kendrick has a 1-4 record with a 5.47 ERA.

Sunday, 1:35 PM. David Price (9-4, 3.08 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (10-3, 3.25 ERA). The lefty Price is 5-2 with a 3.75 ERA in 8 road starts this season. Juan Pierre and Ty Wigginton are a combined 4-for-23 (.174 avg) against Price. In 8 home starts this season, Hamels has a 5-3 record with a 3.11 ERA. All 3 of Hamels' losses this year have come in day games at home.


In 12 career regular season games against the Phillies, Carlos Pena has a .279 average with 1 HR and 5 RBI. Pena has a .193 batting average in 33 road games this year.

Hideki Matsui has posted a .158 batting average in 17 games with the Rays this year.

Fernando Rodney is having an exceptional campaign for the Rays, as he sports a 2-1 record with 20 saves, a 1.10 ERA and a .174 batting average against in 34 games. Jim Thome is 3-for-9 (.333 avg) with a HR in his career against Rodney.

In 9 career games against the Rays, Hunter Pence has a .222 batting average with 2 HR and 6 RBI. Pence has a .254 batting average with 6 homers and 18 RBI in 34 home games this season.

Jimmy Rollins, in 19 games this month, has a .310 batting average with 8 doubles, 2 triples, 3 HR and 10 RBI. Rollins' lead-off homer on Thursday was the 39th of his career.

Placido Polanco is a .304 hitter with 3 HR in 28 games against Tampa Bay. Polanco is batting .292 in 29 home games this season.

In 11 home games this season, Mike Fontenot is batting .368. The lefty hitting Fontenot is 0-for-8 against left-handed pitchers this season.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rodriguez, Bonilla to Rep Phils in Futures Game

On Thursday, Major League Baseball announced the rosters for the 2012 MLB All-Star Futures Game to be held on Sunday, July 8th in Kansas City. Two righty hurlers from Double-A Reading will represent the the Phillies in the 14th annual event that coincides with yearly All-Star festivities.

Puerto Rican born Julio Rodriguez and Dominican Republic native Lisalverto Bonilla, have been named to the World team.

Rodriguez, the 6-foot-4-inch 230-pounder is the lesser-known of the Phils' group of Baby Aces. Through 13 starts this season, Rodriguez has a 4-1 record with a 2.81 ERA and a .220 batting average against while averaging 8.67 strike outs per 9 innings. He was ranked as the 8th best prospect in the organization by PhilliesNation.com earlier this year.

Bonilla, a 6-foot-1-inch 165-pounder who began the season with Class-A Advanced Clearwater, has tallied some impressive stats as well. Combined at the two levels this season, Bonilla has a 3-2 record with 2 saves, a 1.95 ERA with a 12.4 K/9 mark in 25 relief appearances. He was ranked as the 12th best prospect in the organization by PhilliesNation this year.

According to MLB.com, Major League Baseball, along with the MLB Scouting Bureau, MLB.com, Baseball America and the 30 Major League baseball clubs, selected the 25-man rosters for the Futures Game.

Former Phillies prospects Travis d'Arnaud (Tor), Anthony Gose (Tor) and Jonathan Singleton (Hou) were also named to the Futures Game and are assigned to the U.S. Team roster.

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PhoulBallz Interview: OF Prospect Kyrell Hudson

Class A Lakewood outfielder Kyrell Hudson hasn't had the type of season that many had expected after he became an All-Star last season with the short-season Williamsport Crosscutters. Thus far in 2012, the 21-year-old has posted a .202/.262/.271 line over 56 games.

It's not unusual for Hudson to have a rough time at the plate. The Phillies' 2009 third round draft pick posted a .171 batting average in his first two pro seasons, combined with the Gulf Coast League Phillies and with Williamsport in 2009 and 2010. Hudson appeared to come on strong last season, when he sported a .275 batting average 1 HR, 18 RBI and 28 steals in his second campaign with the 'Cutters. Unfortunately for the Oregon native, that strong output hasn't continued.

Recently, I spoke with Kyrell about how he copes with offensive struggles, his manager Mickey Morandini, the pressures of being a high draft pick and plenty more. Check out the media player below to hear the full interview.



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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Nats' Johnson Was Right to Rat on Peralta

It's a rarity that I include opinions here on the site, but the much-talked-about Joel Peralta ejection on Tuesday night has me itching to put my thoughts out there.

If you missed it, Tampa Bay Rays reliever Joel Peralta was ejected from Tuesday's contest against his former club, the first-place Washington Nationals, prior to ever throwing a pitch in the game. Nationals manager Davey Johnson asked the umpiring crew to check Peralta's glove for a foreign substance and pine tar was found. Clearly, Johnson knew of the pitcher's tendency to utilize the sticky material, which is acceptable for batters but banned for pitchers.

Rays manager Joe Maddon was beyond angry over the situation, using vulgar language to describe what he thought was an uncool maneuver.

"It was kind of a p***y move to go out there and do that under those circumstances. I like the word p***y move," Maddon was quoted as saying, following the Rays' 5-4 victory over the Nats.

He added that Johnson's intent to have an opposing player disqualified from the game in that fashion was bush league and cowardly.

In the day since the incident, the opposing managers have swapped insults through the media, with Johnson referring to Maddon as "a weird wuss".

Fans of the game have begun referring to the Nationals as "snitches" and "whiners". Individuals inside and outside of the game have questioned Johnson's methods, critiquing the Nationals for using information gained through insider means rather than scouting or observing game play.

Please keep it real, folks. Surely fans of basement dwelling teams despise the clubs on top, but why should anyone allow another team to cheat against them? It seems people would rather diss the team that's on top of the National League East division standings than place proper blame on a man that was caught breaking the rules of a sport that those same folks hold sacred.

Davey Johnson isn't wrong for using what he knows about a player that played for his club when he faces that player's new team. If Washington personnel were aware that Peralta had a tendency to tip a certain pitch and they told all their batters about it to gain an advantage, that would be smart coaching. The same applies when they disable a player from cheating against their team. This was simply a case of an intelligent move by a veteran manager.

While the famous line of "Don't hate the player, hate the game" isn't fully applicable here, a variance the likes of "Don't hate the Nationals, hate the shyster" might fit the bill.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Galvis Suspended 50 Games for Banned Substances

News broke on Tuesday afternoon that Phillies rookie infielder Freddy Galvis had been suspended for 50 games after he tested positive for metabolite of Clostebol, which is a performance-enhancing substance. Clostebol is a clear violation of MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

The suspension is effective immediately for the 22-year-old, who was already out of action due to a back injury. It is unclear when the positive test result was discovered.

Galvis, a native of Venezuela, issued the following statement:

"A trace amount of a banned substance -- 80 parts in a trillion -- was detected in my urine sample. I am extremely disappointed in what has transpired. I cannot understand how even this tiny particle of a banned substance got into my body. I have not and never would knowingly use anything illegal to enhance my performance. I have always tried to follow the team's strength and conditioning methods, listen to the trainers, work out hard and eat right. Unfortunately, the rules are the rules and I will be suspended.

“I'd like to apologize to my all my fans, especially here in Philadelphia and back home in Venezuela, to my teammates and to the Phillies organization. I am looking forward to putting this behind me, rehabilitating my back and returning to the Phillies as soon as possible to try to help them win another World Series.”

The Phillies organization issued a statement as well:

"The Phillies continue to believe in and endorse Major League Baseball's drug policy. We also support Freddy Galvis in his determination to put this matter behind him and we look forward to his return as a productive member of the Phillies as soon as possible."

Prior to going on the disabled list with a lower back fracture, on June 7th, Galvis was batting .226 with 3 home runs and 24 RBI in 58 games with the Phillies.
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PhoulBallz Interview: RHP Prospect Colin Kleven

Righty hurler Colin Kleven is having a remarkable season for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. The British Columbia native has been the 'Claws' most reliable starter, posting a 4-5 record with a 3.80 ERA in 13 starts. The 21-year-old has stood out so well that he was named as Lakewood's lone representative in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game.

Kleven was drafted in the 33rd round by the Phillies in 2010. He struggled upon making his pro debut with the Gulf Coast League Phillies that season, as he tallied a 0-5 record and a 7.04 ERA. He improved greatly in 2011, when he sported a 4-6 record and a 4.84 ERA in 14 starts for the short-season A level Williamsport Crosscutters.

The 6-foot-6-inch 225-pounder is set to represent the BlueClaws in the SAL All-Star Game, on Tuesday night at Charleston, SC's Riley Park, home of the Yankees affiliate Riverdogs.

I spoke with Colin recently about his pitch repertoire, his recent success, getting drafted by the Phillies and plenty more. Check out the media player below to hear that full interview.


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Series Preview: Rockies at Phillies, June 19-21

Beginning on Tuesday night, the Phillies (31-37) and the Rockies (25-40) will begin a three-game series that will enable the remainder of Major League Baseball to continue inter-league play. The odd teams out will be the only teams not facing an opponent from the opposite league.

Last season the Phillies won 4 of 5 meetings with the Rockies. Overall, the Phils have also taken 20 of the past 24 meetings with Colorado.

For a review of the pitching match ups and other details on this series, read ahead.


Tuesday, 7:05 PM. Josh Outman (0-2, 8.44 ERA) Cole Hamels (9-3, 3.34 ERA). Outman, a former Phillies farm hand, has faced the Phils just once, taking a loss when he allowed 3 earned runs in 6 innings. Outman, a lefty, will be starting his 4th game of the season. Hamels has a 6.07 ERA over his last 4 starts. In 3 career regular season starts against Colorado, Hamels has a 1-1 record with a 5.09 ERA. In 7 home starts this season, Hamels has a 4-3 record with a 3.26 ERA.

Wednesday, 7:05 PM. Alex White (2-5, 5.56 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (6-6, 4.93 ERA). In 3 road starts this season, White is 1-2 with a 6.48 ERA. White was the Indians’ 1st round draft pick in 2009 and was acquired by the Rockies in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade last July. White has a 4.31 ERA in his last 3 starts. Blanton has a 3-2 record with a 4.46 ERA in 6 home starts this year. Will Nieves is 5-for-12 (.417 avg) in his career against Blanton. Opponents are batting .282 against Blanton this season.

Thursday, 7:05 PM. Jeff Francis (0-1, 12.46 ERA) vs. Vance Worley (3-3, 2.80 ERA). Francis was in the Reds system earlier this season, where he posted a 3-6 record with a 3.72 ERA in 12 starts for Louisville before opting out of his contract and returning to Colorado, the team that selected him in the 1st round of the 2002 draft. In 5 career regular season starts against the Phillies, Francis has a 1-1 record with a 6.84 ERA. Worley has a 1-1 record with a 4.30 ERA in 4 home starts this season. Comparatively, Worley has a 1.89 ERA in 6 road starts this season. Worley has no wins and a 2.12 ERA in 3 starts since returning from the disabled list.


Carlos Gonzalez has a .360 batting average with 3 doubles and an RBI in 8 regular season games at Citizens Bank Park. Gonzalez’s home splits- .382/.441/.733. Gonzalez’s road splits- .281/.339/.509.

Michael Cuddyer is 2-for-16 (.125 avg) in 4 career games against the Phillies.

In 84 career regular season games against the Phillies, Todd Helton has a .367 batting average with 17 HR and 62 RBI. Helton is batting .222 in 22 road games this year.

Chad Qualls has a 5.84 ERA in 17 home games this season. Qualls' ERA in 30 career games at Citizens Bank Park is 8.37 ERA.

Jim Thome is batting .111 in 7 home games this season. In 24 career games against the Rockies, Thome has a .183 batting average with 3 HR and 11 RBI.

In 16 games this month, Hunter Pence is batting .338 with 2 homers and 9 RBI. The righty hitting Pence is batting .207 against left-handed hurlers this season.

Rockies team OPS- .779
Phillies team OPS- .722

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Pitching coordinator Gorman Heimueller talks prospects

In place of our usual weekly minor league review where we glance at statistics of players that are on a roll or ones that are performing in the opposite manner, we'll let an inside man have a go at providing information on some Phillies prospects of importance. Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to sit down with Gorman Heimueller, the Phillies' minor league pitching coordinator.

Heimueller, who has been the Phils' minor league pitching coordinator since 2002, pitched 14 seasons as a pro, including parts of two with the Athletics. Prior to his current position, Heimueller was a pitching coach at the Double-A and Triple-A level for the Phillies.

On Saturday, Heimueller offered his thoughts on several young hurlers in the organization's developmental system. Those quotes lie ahead.


On Class A Lakewood RHP Colin Kleven, who is the team's lone South Atlantic League All-Star representative...

"His career, the way he's come, from when we drafted him, he's made big strides in his delivery to allow him to become more consistent. He's taken advantage of his size, where he's trying to throw the ball downhill. His velocity- he's got a live fastball that has some life at the end of it. His breaking pitch has gotten better, and now, if we get him to trust his change up more, he just needs game experience, continue to get a lot of innings and just watch the improvement."


On Lakewood RHP Gabriel Arias, who sports a fastball that regularly reaches 94-95 MPH and struck out five batters in 2 1/3 innings against Hickory on Saturday...

"Gaby threw the ball fine. He attacked the zone with his fastball and he's got a real good arm. His off-speed stuff tonight wasn't as sharp as I've seen it. But, like I said, he's throwing the fastball fine and he put up two zeroes for us after coming in for Colin to finish his inning."

Asked if he feels like Arias has a bright future...

"Yeah. Oh, yeah, definitely. And I was really please with Yari Sosa coming in there. You know, he's a kid that came in from extended (spring training) and it's his first year over here. Part of it was that he had a nice 8th inning, but another part of it was that it's not easy to pitch the 9th inning. It's not easy to get that last out and he went right after them and got some...pitched to contact, got early contact, and got them (out) 1, 2, 3 and that's gonna do worlds for his confidence."


On Class A Advanced Clearwater LHP Mario Hollands, who was recently promoted from Lakewood and has posted wins in each of his first three starts with the Threshers...

"I saw the game in Clearwater when, I think, he went six no-hit innings. When we drafted him and he pitched in Williamsport the first year, that's the guy we saw. And he came (to Lakewood) last year and he did a good job for us but he didn't quite have the life on his fastball that he had the year before. And he came to spring training this year and he did a couple things that helped his delivery, because his key is his deception, the way he throws. And he just made a little, minor adjustment and he's always thrown strikes. He's got a good cutter, he's very smart and everybody's thrilled with the way he's throwing because he's a good guy.

"I'm pleasantly surprised- I knew it was in there. I know last year was not the one we saw in Williamsport, so I'm happy he got back to where I thought he could be. He's got a chance, he's really good, because he's left-handed and he can throw a breaking ball. He keeps taking the ball, he's a guy, too- and I've talked to him about it- he's a guy that you can put in there to start and give you some innings, you can put him in the middle and (he'll) give you some innings, and he might be a guy to come in and face a lefty and that's it. So, his versatility, that he can have, just increases his value."


On Double-A Reading RHP Colby Shreve, who began the season in Lakewood and has jumped two levels this year...

"Sending him back to Lakewood was a hard, hard thing to do. Because the thing, coming out of spring training, that I was real happy with was how many arms we had, especially going from Triple-A all the way down. And Colby got caught up in numbers, pure and simple. There were some things we wanted him to work on as far as his angle with his pitches, trying to create more of an angle and to use his fastball more. And we told him, Joe Jordan told him, 'You're not going to be (in Lakewood) very long.' Because things happen. In a perfect world, nobody gets hurt, everybody does great, but that's not the game. And I know it hurt him tremendously. I know it was tough for him, but to his credit, he (went down to Lakewood) and worked his butt off and did some of the things we were trying, you know, through the pitching coaches and video, showing him what we wanted him to do, and it wasn't a big change, it was just small little things in his mechanics. But, you've seen him. His velocity's up to 95.

"He threw good the other day too, in Reading. And, you know, his first game (at Double-A), it doesn't matter what level you're at, it's always a bit of an adjustment period.

"I saw him pitch up there, in Clearwater, a couple times and he was outstanding. His whole demeanor and his confidence, you could just see he was riding a high as far as believing and trusting his stuff. So, he's- we drafted him with high expectations, knowing he had Tommy John (surgery), and, so it's taken a year or two, but now this is the guy that we were expecting to see. It's taken a tad longer than we thought, but he's definitely on the radar."


On Double-A Reading RHP Lisalberto Bonilla,who began the season with Clearwater...

"Bonilla has got tremendous stuff. He's got a plus fastball and a plus change up and a slider that we're working on, to get better. And, again with him, as with Colby, trusting the fastball. They've got good enough fastballs because everything comes off of that. Sometimes he gets a little change up happy, but he's learning, with Reading, that he can use his fastball because hitters are smarter and he's doing fine up there. He's doing a real nice job."


On Triple-A Lehigh Valley RHP Tyler Cloyd, who has a 9-1 record and a 2.06 ERA overall in 13 combined starts at Reading and with Lehigh...

"He has broken out. He's opened some eyes. He's having a tremendous year in Double-A and Triple-A. He's been the most consistent starter there in Triple-A. He's always been a strike thrower, from day 1, when we signed him. He's always been a strike thrower and he's always learning and tinkering around to try to make himself better with the stuff he has. We've got a lot of guys with better fastballs, but I don't think we've got many guys with as good as command and knowing where he wants to throw the ball.

"He's come up with a cutter he can throw to both sides of the plate and his change up's getting better. And he loves baseball. I mean, he's a baseball player. He loves the game, so it's really fun to see that. I thought you were gonna mention the other Tyler...Tyler Knigge, he's throwing the heck out it. He's got a sub-1 ERA and I saw him pitch a few days ago, he made the (Florida State League) All-Star team, he's excited about that. He has done a whale of a job. He lost about 15 pounds coming into spring training. He's always been focused, he always gives you good effort. It's fun. That's what's great about this job is seeing these guys get better."


On Reading RHP Julio Rodriguez, one of the well-touted Baby Aces....

"Julio...he just keeps getting people out. You talk about Trevor May and Jon Pettibone, who are very good pitchers, and Julio's been right there with them. He doesn't have the fastballs those guys have, doesn't have the breaking balls some of those guys have. But he gets people out. He's got a fastball that naturally cuts. You just look at the radar gun and you watch him, and you watch the hitters' reactions and there's something there, I wish I could teach it. He hides the ball, he's got nice, loose, long arms and the ball has some movement on it. And his breaking ball's getting better and the one thing he does do very well- he don't like to lose. He's very competitive. He goes out there and he expects- he doesn't hope to get you out, he expects to get you out."


On Clearwater RHP Brody Colvin, who recently was moved to the bullpen and then back to the starting rotation...

"He hasn't been moving back and forth. He struggled a little bit and the ball was coming out fine, his stuff was fine. We just thought (he should) take a little break, go to the bullpen. We wanted him to have fun, wanted him to not know when he was gonna pitch. And he got in about four games or so and the ball was coming out good and he pitched well. It was never, ever the intent to keep him in the bullpen. I told him that from day 1. It was just kind of a little, 'Take a breath here. Go out to the bullpen and mess around, have some fun, laugh a little bit. You know, when the phone rings and it's for you, get up throw the ball and get in there. Don't think.' And then, I saw his first start back in Clearwater last week and he threw the ball real well."

Heimueller then asked me if I saw the type off effort Colvin put forth when he became a highly regarded prospect with Lakewood in 2010. I answered affirmatively.

"I still believe it's there and I believe he's going to be a good major league pitcher."

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Series Preview: Phillies at Blue Jays, June 15-17


Inter-league play continues with a battle between the National League's and the American League's East division basement dwellers, as the Phillies (31-34) head to Toronto to face the Blue Jays (31-32) in a three-game series beginning Friday night.

The Phillies won 2 of 3 meetings with the Blue Jays in a series played at Toronto's Rogers Centre last season.

Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups and other statistical info on this series.

Friday, 7:07 PM. Vance Worley (3-2, 3.00 ERA) vs. Drew Hutchison (5-3, 4.66 ERA). Worley is 2-1 with a 2.09 ERA in 5 road starts this season. Opponents are batting .240 against Worley in 2012. The righty, Hutchison, is 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA in 4 home starts this season. Hutchison was Toronto's 15th round draft pick in 2009.

Saturday, 1:07 PM. Cliff Lee (0-3, 3.18 ERA) vs. Ricky Romero (7-1, 4.15 ERA). In 10 career starts against the Blue Jays, Lee has a 2-5 record with a 4.23 ERA. Lee is 0-2 with a 4.54 ERA in his last 5 starts. Rajai Davis is 6-for-11 with a double and a triple in his career against Lee. Romero is 1-0 with a 2.21 ERA and a .187 batting average against in 3 games against the Phillies. Carlos Ruiz and Placido Polanco are a combined 2-for-15 (.133 avg) in their careers vs. the lefty Romero. In 6 home starts this year, Romero is 5-0 with a 3.51 ERA.

Sunday, 1:07 PM. Kyle Kendrick (2-6, 5.08 ERA) vs. Jesse Chavez (0-0, 5.40 ERA). In 2 career starts against the Blue Jays, Kendrick has no decisions and a 6.75 ERA. Kendrick is 1-2 with a 4.75 ERA in 8 road games this year. The right-handed Chavez will be making just his second appearance for Toronto. In his career, Chavez, who formerly pitched with Pittsburgh, Atlanta and KC, has a 1-0 record and a 0.00 ERA in 8 relief appearances against the Phils.


In 24 career games against the Phillies, Jose Bautista has a .282 average with 5 HR and 9 RBI. Bautista is batting .222 in 32 home games this season.

Edwin Encarnacion is batting .296 with 12 HR and 26 RBI in 31 home games this season. Encarnacion is a combined 3-for-18 (.167 avg) in his career against Lee and Kendrick.

In 15 career games against the Phillies, Colby Rasmus has a .216 batting average with 4 doubles. Rasmus is batting .227 in 30 home games this year.

Carlos Ruiz is a .231 hitter with 3 doubles and 6 RBI in 11 career games against Toronto. In 28 road games this season, Ruiz has tallied a 1.130 OPS.

In 17 career games at Rogers Centre Placido Polanco is a .179 hitter with 1 HR and 5 RBI.

Jimmy Rollins is batting .317 with 2 homers, 7 RBI and 10 runs scored in 13 June games. Rollins is a .337 hitter in 21 career games against Toronto.

Phillies team ERA- 3.98 (16th in MLB)
Blue Jays team ERA- 4.06 (19th in MLB)
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The Strange Timeline of Domonic Brown

With reports of another injury to Domonic Brown, the usual high hopes for the prized Phillies outfield prospect have taken another dip in the waters of woe. In recent years, the toolsy Brown has had many ups and downs as he has tried to rise to the highest level of baseball and stay there. Here's a look at some key moments in his so-far frustrating career.

June 6, 2006 - Brown is selected in the 20th round of the MLB amateur draft by the Phillies out of Redan High School in GA. Brown signs his first pro contract one week later.

August 6th, 2006 - Brown hits his first professional HR for the Gulf Coast League Phillies.

2007 - Led the short-season Williamsport Crosscutters in hits (84), average (.295), SB (14) and games played (74).

2008 - Led the Class-A full season Lakewood BlueClaws in hits (129), runs (77) and SB (22).

2009 - Named a mid-season All-Star for the Class A Advance Clearwater Threshers. In 66 games there, Brown batted .303 with 11 HR and 44 RBI before earning a promotion to Double-A Reading. Brown's line for the remainder of the year- .279/.346/456 in 37 games.

2010 - Prior to the season, Brown is named the Phillies' top prospect by Baseball America.

PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast: Episode 7

We're back with another brand new edition of the PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast. This week, Tug and I talked about the progress of RHP Colby Shreve, Trevor May's DJ gig the R-Phils game last Saturday, Brian Gump's progress as a pitcher, the Charlotte Knights (Triple-A White Sox), the short-season Crosscutters' season beginning, R-Phils closer Justin Friend and BlueClaws OF Kyrell Hudson. We also provide updates on the Clearwater Threshers, including exclusive info on LHP Mario Hollands, first baseman Jim Murphy, along with notes on rehabbing Phillies, plus the progress of RHP Justin De Fratus' elbow.

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to download this episode. You can also listen to the show with the media player below.

In addtion, find a backlog of episodes HERE.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Shreve showing promise despite rocky AA debut

It wasn’t the debut Colby Shreve wanted to make at the Double-A level. On Thursday, fresh off the excitement of his second promotion of the season, the 24-year-old surrendered three hits and walked three batters, while letting up six runs (five of those earned) in two-thirds of an inning, in relief for the Reading Phillies. The disappointment was far greater than he had felt at any point on the pitcher’s mound, but Shreve knew that he would bounce back and prove himself worthy of competing in the Eastern League and beyond.

Following six outings with Class A Lakewood early this season, the right-handed Shreve, sporting a 3.60 ERA and 9.6 strike outs per nine innings, was promoted to Class A Advanced Clearwater. Shreve then sported a 2.25 ERA and an 8.55 K/9 mark in 13 outings for the Threshers while recording two saves. Last week, the Southern Nevada Community College product then took another step upward and didn’t make the kind of splash he hoped for. His initial outing for the R-Phils was actually more of a crash.

"I mean that's probably one of the worst outings of my life,” Shreve said. “Honestly, I knew what the problem was. I was just a little too amped up, you know. I waited a long time to get to Double-A, so, maybe (I was) just overthrowing a little bit and not getting ahead of hitters, I think.”

Following what could easily be described as an atrocious outing, Shreve quickly bounced back with his next effort, a scoreless, hitless inning to close out Reading’s 7-2 win over Harrisburg on Saturday.

“I wanted to get back out there within the next couple days just to get a good one in. Hopefully, I got the worst one out of the way first," Shreve stated.

A hurler that the Phillies believed in so much that they drafted him as early as the 6th round in 2008 despite the fact that he was sidelined, requiring Tommy John surgery at the time, Shreve has proven to be a very capable arm out of the bullpen, as has seen the velocity on his fastball climb a notch or two this season. Regularly reaching 94 MPH after previously registering in the low 90’s, the 6-foot-5-inch 210-pounder credits some extra work with his added heat.

"Actually, when I went down to Clearwater, my velocity jumped pretty well,” Shreve, who also throws a slider, a change up and a sinker, said. “I attribute it to the trainers, all the exercises and our strength and conditioning guys, they have us very regularly in the gym twice a week- upper body, lower body, after we pitch and that kind of thing."

Prior to returning to Clearwater, where Shreve posted a 1-1 record with a 3.55 ERA in 7 appearances last year, the Las Vegas native was disappointed when he was assigned to open the 2012 campaign with the Lakewood BlueClaws. Shreve had spent parts of the past two seasons in Lakewood.

Admittedly, Shreve was so confident this year that his time with the 'Claws was temporary that the avid golfer did not bring his golf clubs north to New Jersey when this season began. The reason Shreve was so sure that he wasn't staying in Class A very long was his own work ethic, after a conversation with organizational brass laid provided a blue print for advancement.

"It was definitely a talk that me and (Phillies director of player development) Joe Jordan and Gorman Heimueller, our pitching coordinator, had at the end of spring training," Shreve explained. "Obviously, I was demoralized, going back to Lakewood for the third straight year. But they laid it flat out. They said, 'Work on what we want you to work on and you'll be out of there in no time.' And...they stuck by their word and I worked hard and pitched pretty well and I moved up...twice."

After the debut hiccup and the redeeming effort that followed, Shreve's new home ballpark, Reading's FirstEnergy Stadium, has already made a big impression on the youngster. He cites the big difference between the vibe at Brighthouse Field in Clearwater, where crowds don't quite match up to Reading's fans that are generally straight out of the heart of big league Phillies territory.

"I love the environment. It's definitely the most fun and exciting ballpark I've ever been to as a fan or a player. It's a great environment, I like it a lot," Shreve said.

With the Phillies roster using a heavy rotation of pitching options, due to injuries, perhaps it won't be too long before Shreve get a tastes of a real Philadelphia crowd. Until then, he'll certainly continue to strive to progress further to make that a reality.

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Additional quote from Colby...

On getting the news about the promotion to Reading-

"I was ecstatic. First things first, I called my mom and my dad. My mom was crying because she knows how hard I've worked and putting in the time for rehab after surgery and stuff like that. And my dad was very happy too. I called my brother, (Chasen Shreve) who is in High-A for the Braves, he's doing very well. It was great. The girlfriend was kind of sad that I was leaving, for a split second, and then she was happy for me."

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