Saturday, August 31, 2013

Trevor May Interview Excerpts

Recently, I posted a feature on former Phillies pitching prospect Trevor May, but that piece couldn't fit all of the quotes I had from the man that was traded last off-season along with Vance Worley for outfielder Ben Revere

Click HERE for that article on May and read ahead for the additional  interview excerpts.


- On topic of top Minnesota offensive prospect and New Britain teammate Miguel Sano-

He's a freak. (laughter)  He can hit the ball really far and he's made some absolutely ridiculous plays at third base and he's a character, just a big kid, an absolute child.  And I'm just gonna throw the other big prospect Meyer, he's just a big kid too.  And let's be honest, I'm a big kid too, so it's a lot of fun to kind of all be together, especially on this team.  I'm glad he can come up here and do as well as he's done, because he's a guy...if I achieve my ultimate goal of reaching the big leagues, he's a guy I want playing third base in the big leagues with me and hitting 40 home runs a year.  It's exciting, as a guy that wants him to eventually be in his lineup and playing behind him in the field, to see the kind of things he does.  He does some amazing stuff. 


- On former Phillies pitcher Vance Worley who was traded along with May to Minnesota-

In spring training we hung out all the time. Me, him and Alex Meyer in the bullpen all the time for the big games.

I talked to him a little bit after the draft, but he went straight to Low-A and I went to GCL and he was always one or two levels ahead of me. I was never on the same team as him. And then he got to the big leagues and I was a Double-A guy...so we never really got to talk that much. But having a little bit more in common, we have similar taste in music too.

It's so funny, when I was 19 and I used to look at 23, 24 year olds and think, "He's been around!" And they'd always talk about guys they played with in the past and ask if I knew who they were and I was like, "I'm 19. No!" Now I'm the guy who's like, "Yeah, I played with him in 2008." And they talk about D'Arby Myers has a 30-game hit streak and I tell them, "I played with D'Arby for four years!" And my roommates says, "Jeez, you've been playing for a while!" This is my sixth year and my roommate was drafted last year and he's a year younger than me. You know, it's part of playing I guess. It's fun.


- On Ben Revere, who came to the Phillies in that swap with the Twins-

(The Twins) traded a guy that he was their guy. They love Ben over there. All the fans love him. He's a great guy. I've never met him, but, besides from a tweet after the trade. I follow him on Twitter. I think he's a very nice guy and he's funny and likes to have fun.


- On how it was joining the new team for spring training this year-

It's a great competitive atmosphere. I never went to big league camp with the Phillies, but I'm sure it's the same over there.

It was pretty crazy being in the same club house as Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer, but they're just guys. And it was incredibly welcoming and fun. It was nice to get in, I got in, like, five games and got to throw to some hitters, even though it was against the Phillies.


- On how New Britain compares to Reading-

The towns are very similar to be honest. Industrial areas, blue collar towns. The people who do come to the games, the super fans, season ticket holders, you wouldn't find any differences, except for there's no Adam Briscoe. That's the only difference. That atmosphere is very much the same and we get really good crowds too. They don't do quite as many promotions and we don't have 26 mascots (like Reading does), but they do a great job in Reading. New Britain's added a lot of stuff this year too, but they're more Rock Cats fans than actual Twins fans. And in Reading you're gonna get fans that are mainly coming because they're gonna get to see guys like Biddle and Franco and all those guys, because they're gonna be up (with the big league team).

Friday, August 30, 2013

Former Phillies Prospect May Taking Strides Toward Majors

Trevor May with Reading in 2012
Following his team's heart wrenching 9-8 loss to the Trenton Thunder on Wednesday, in which the Twins' Double-A affiliate New Britain failed to maintain two separate extra-inning leads, right-handed pitcher Trevor May reflected on his season as well as a trade that brought him to a new organization last winter. What's in the past, however, is not as important as what's on the horizon for the promising youngster.  The ability to quickly refocus and move beyond that sort of loss is the type of approach that can help carry May to the top level of the sport.

With some noticeable highs and lows throughout his career, May, who was the Phillies' 4th round draft choice in 2008 out of Kelso High School (WA), took some internal inventory and realized that his focus was the missing factor to his game. The "stuff" was always there, but an occasionally absent ability to execute his pitches with consistency was his main problem.

May, who entered the 2013 season with a 37-31 record, a 3.92 ERA and an 11.08 K/9 mark in his pro career, has notoriously been a pitcher that has peaks and valleys with his production. In his second season in the Double-A Eastern League, May has tallied a 9-9 record along with a 4.48 ERA with two complete games in 26 starts. A collection of very good outings have combined with the poor ones to produce a moderately mediocre stat line.

"Ups and downs has kind of been my M.O. since I was drafted," May said. "But I feel like the severe roller coaster years, with how this year has gone, are definitely in the past. I've figured a lot of stuff about myself out. I've really created consistency for myself. I made a lot of changes with how I approach pitching and how I approach outings, you know kind of where I get my head at when I pitch."

A troublesome outing in early August was a turning point for May, who took notice of his tendency to simply go through the motions.  Internal adjustments were made following that loss.

"I'm happy that I've been able to analyze myself enough to know that that's what's going on and that if I'm able to kind of realize that my focus is off and get it right back on that, things go a lot more smoother and it makes pitching a lot more simple. It's really shown itself in the last five outings and there's a couple where I didn't have anything left, but the more you're consistent, the more you can create your own luck."

Since the poor effort against Erie in on August 4th, in which he walked five batters, let up eight hits and surrendered eight earned runs in 2 2/3 innings, May has bounced back considerably, improving his output. In his most recent two starts, the six-foot-five 215-pounder is 2-0 with just two earned runs allowed in 12 innings while striking out 13 with five free passes issued.

The Washington state native is hoping to continue his recent success into the Arizona Fall League, where he'll represent the Twins with the Glendale Desert Dogs beginning in October.

"Everyone I've known to go to the fall league and has done well has gone on to go up to the big team. And a lot of them go up there next year," May stated. "It's all about getting yourself in a position and I'm going to continue growing as a pitcher, so when that day comes, I want to go and know that I'm ready to be there and that I should be there and that I'm going to stay there."

The trade that sent him to the team he hopes to play for, the Minnesota Twins, along with pitcher Vance Worley for outfielder Ben Revere, did not come as a surprise, as over the years the 23-year-old had seen several of his teammates and friends dealt in blockbuster trades. The Phillies had developed a reputation of dealing well-touted minor leaguers for established big league stars.

"Every organization's kind of different with how they operate and I was with the Phillies long enough to know that they go for trades and, you know, they get guys and they want to win now," May said. "That's just how it is and there was a lot of guys that had a great year last year and I didn't have the greatest year and, you know, sometimes it's just your turn. Once someone told me, 'You're in rumors', I wasn't going to be surprised if I was traded."

The manner in which May learned of the swap, however, certainly wasn't ideal. Prior to receiving a call from Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. to alert him of the news, the youngster woke up early on the west coast and checked the internet for details on the latest baseball news only to learn about his own fate.

"I found out on Twitter, of course, before anything else, at seven in the morning. I woke up and saw that some other trades had happened...a lot of thing were happening and I read, 'It's been confirmed', or whatever," May explained.

The change for May was welcome, as he feels his path to the majors may be a bit more open with the Twins than it was with the Phillies.

"They use a lot of guys and give guys opportunities. Not that the Phillies don't, but they've got the big three (All-Star pitchers Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels) and the Twins don't have the big three and they're giving guys opportunities," May stated.

While he was in the Phillies system, May was honored as the 2011 Paul Owens Award winner, an honor given to the team's top minor league pitcher, and entered the 2012 season ranked as the organization's top prospect by multiple outlets. With that type of praise, the estimated time of arrival to the major leagues has long been a hot topic for fans and media members as well as May himself. He now feels confident that he is taking his final steps toward reaching the big show.

"It's always crossed my mind, especially with the trade and everything and being on the 40-man roster, the opportunities are a lot closer, it seems, and you can get caught up in it.

"I put in all the work in the world with mechanics and learning how to pitch and all that stuff. And the final step is just letting yourself let all that work you put in come out on the mound every single you pitch as well as you can that day."

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Reading's Murphy Increases Versatility with Time in Outfield

With the Phillies' decision to try Double-A third base prospect Maikel Franco at first base recently a bit of a dilemma with how to use slugger Jim Murphy arose.  The 27-year-old Eastern League All-Star has held down first base at several levels of the minors since he was drafted by the Phillies out of Washington State University in 2008. 

Murphy, who is among the league leaders in home runs (22) and RBI (81) was without a spot in the Reading Fightin Phillies' lineup against National League affiliated opponents down the stretch, as teams do not use a designated hitter in those match ups.

Some luck came Murphy's way this week when a lineup spot abruptly vacated by outfielder Kelly Dugan, who was a late scratch on Tuesday, left an opening for Murphy.  The righty batter has never given up on his dreams of climbing all the way up the developmental ladder, despite seemingly being provided with limited opportunities at times.

"The Phillies want Franco to get some games in at first and (manager Dusty Wathan) wanted me to stay in the lineup for National League games, so I worked out there for a few days," Murphy stated.  "Don't know what the future will hold for me in the outfield but it would add value to myself to have a secondary position. It was fun to be out there."

The six-foot-three 255-pounder is a career .268 hitter with an .810 OPS in 679 professional games, one of which was played in the outfield prior to this week.

Murphy got five at bats in spring training with the Phillies back in 2011 and has steadily been striving to get back for another taste of action at the top level of the sport.  A bit of a long shot to be a September call up with the Phils, once the major league rosters expand for the final month of the season, Murphy's production and new found versatility might make for good reasoning for him to finally get that shot in the big show.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Reading Eagle Survey: Franco Ranked Top Phillies Prospect

Maikel Franco, Image- Jay Floyd
Recently, Mike Drago of The Reading Eagle conducted a survey of about ten experts, made up of writers and other media members, designed to rank the top prospects in the Philadelphia developmental system.

The participating individuals, who are all close to the Phillies minor league system, were asked to rank their personal top 15, which were tabulated to determine the paper's published list of top prospects. Those that offered their insight for the ratings this time around included Bob Brookover, Tony Graham, Mitch Rupert, Jeff Schuler, Mike Drago himself and yours truly, PhilliesNation's Jay Floyd.

The collection of experts found that fast rising third base prospect Maikel Franco, who represented the Phillies organization in the MLB All-Star Futures Game this year, is the club's top minor leaguer.  Franco, who recently began playing first base is primed to make an impact with the big club in the near future and has become the Phils' most highly touted offensive prospect since Ryan Howard was trying to break into the big leagues.

Last year's results ranked lefty hurler Jesse Biddle at the top.  The Philadelphia native fell in this year's rankings while others rose and some fell completely off of the list.

Here's a review of The Reading Eagle's Phillies prospect rankings...


1- Maikel Franco, 3B, Double-A Reading...the 21-year-old slugger notched his 30th homer and 100th RBI of the season on Monday night.  Franco, who began the season with Class A Advanced Clearwater, is one of the biggest breakout prospects in all of minor league baseball this season and plans to continue his outstanding year in the Dominican Winter League.  In 127 games this season combined at the two levels, the youngster sports an impressive .313/.352/.566 line.

2- Jesse Biddle, P, Double-A Reading...selected with the 27th overall draft pick in 2010, the Philadelphia native has garnered much attention in his career and had appeared to be fairly dominant in his first few pro seasons.  This year, however, the left-hander has had his struggles, collecting just three wins since he sported a 1.74 ERA and an 11.61 K/9 mark through five April starts.  His 7.11 ERA in five July outings was alarming, but since then, the 21-year-old has settled in and tallied a 2.79 ERA in five starts that have followed his roughest stretch of the season.  Rumors suggest that Biddle is expected to pitch in the Arizona Fall League this year and he should be up for an invitation to big league spring training next year.    

3- J.P. Crawford, SS, Class A Lakewood...this year's top Phillies draft choice (16th overall, their highest pick since Gavin Floyd was taken with the 4th pick in 2001) has proven to be a tremendous talent since turning pro.  The 18-year-old lefty batter led the Gulf Coast League in hitting for much of his time there and has continued to excel since joining the BlueClaws less than two weeks ago.  Overall in 47 games, the Lakewood, CA native has posted a .341 average with nine doubles, three triples, a home run, 21 RBI and 14 stolen bases. 
                       
4- Cesar Hernandez, 2B, Triple-A Lehigh Valley...the 23-year-old All-Star second baseman and occasional center fielder has continued to look strong at Triple-A this season.  Through 102 games in the minors this year, the Venezuela native has sported a .324 average with two homers, 36 RBI and 32 steals, while he also tallied a .250 average with a double and an RBI in nine big league games with the Phillies.  Look for Hernandez to earn a steady spot on the big league roster by next season.
           
5- Roman Quinn, SS, Class A Lakewood...the Phillies' 2nd round draft pick from 2011 has been outspoken at times regarding his frustration with the assignment of having to learn to switch hit and adapt to a new position upon turning pro.  Prior to being sidelined with a broken wrist in late June, the 20-year-old had posted a .238 batting average along with five homers, 21 RBI and 32 stolen bases in 67 games.  If Crawford continues to prove to be a fast rising talent, the Phils may feel more inclined to return Quinn to his "natural position" in center field as he climbs the developmental ladder, which could relax the Florida native and allow him to focus more on his work at the plate.
                   
6- Adam Morgan, P, Triple-A Lehigh Valley...the 23-year-old has looked great since returning from a shoulder injury on July 22nd.  In his last seven starts, the lefty hurler has posted a 1.59 ERA.  Overall in 15 starts for the 'Pigs this year, the Phils' 3rd round pick out of the University of Alabama in 2011 has a 2-6 record with a 3.60 ERA and a 6.17 K/9 mark.  Morgan could be considered an option for the big league rotation next season.
      
7- Kelly Dugan, OF, Double-A Reading...the Phils' 2nd round pick in 2009 has had a breakout season.  The 22-year-old slugged his 20th homer of the year on Monday night and could really put some pressure on the organization to give him a look in the big leagues at some point next season, if he continues to progress at this pace.  Combined at Reading and Clearwater this year, Dugan has a .292 average and an .870 OPS in 106 games.
                
8- Ethan Martin, P, Philadelphia...currently with the big league team, the right-hander looked strong following an ugly April this season in the minors with Lehigh Valley.  After sporting a 7.66 ERA in his first five starts of the year, the 24-year-old proceeded to post a 3.28 ERA in his following 16 outings, which earned him a shot with the Phillies.  Martin, who was acquired from the Dodgers in last year's Shane Victorino trade and was LA's 1st round pick in 2008, has a 2-2 record with a 6.33 ERA in his first five big league starts and is another candidate for the 2014 pitching rotation.
                    
9- Cameron Rupp, C, Triple-A Lehigh Valley...the 24-year-old University of Texas product has looked excellent this season.  The righty hitting backstop has a .259 average with 14 home runs and 45 RBI in 91 combined games at Reading and Lehigh Valley this season.  Rupp was the Phils' 3rd round draft pick in 2010 is often credited with his outstanding ability to lead the pitchers that he works with as well as his great arm behind the plate. He is likely the lead argument against the Phillies re-signing Carlos Ruiz for next season.
    
10- Carlos Tocci, OF, Class A Lakewood...the Venezuela native is often praised for his raw tools on the offensive side and his terrific defensive abilities.  The righty hitter turned 18-years-old this past week and has looked every bit of his young age in the South Atlantic League.  After posting a .236 average in 60 games prior to the All-Star break, Tocci has batted .183 in 54 games since then.  Tocci, a righty hitter, should return to Lakewood next year to continue to refine his approach at the plate.
          
11 Shane Watson, P, Class A Lakewood- supplemental round draft pick, 2012.                      
12 Zach Green, 3B, short-season Class A Williamsport- 3rd round pick, 2012.        
13 Tommy Joseph, C, Double-A Reading (DL)- acquired in Hunter Pence trade from SF, 2012.   
14 Aaron Altherr, OF, Class A Advanced Clearwater- 9th round pick, 2009.        
15 Dylan Cozens, OF, short-season Class A Williamsport- 2nd round pick, 2012.

Other players that received votes...
Kenny Giles, P, Clearwater; Mike Nesseth, P, Reading; Cord Sandberg, OF, Gulf Coast League; Andrew Knapp, P, Williamsport; Leandro Castro, OF, Lehigh Valley; Phillippe Aumont, P, Lehigh Valley; Mitch Gueller, P, Williamsport; Perci Garner, P, Clearwater; Seth Rosin, P, Reading; Andrew Pullin, 2B, Williamsport; Hoby Milner, P, Clearwater; Yoel Mecias, P, Lakewood; David Buchanan, P, Lehigh Valley; Tyson Gillies, OF, Lehigh Valley; Jiwan James, OF, Clearwater; Sebastian Valle, C, Reading.

Two catchers fell considerably on this list. Valle, who ranked in the 5th spot last year, dropped out of the top 15 and Joseph, who was ranked 2nd last year, dipped quite a bit as well.

Pitchers Brody Colvin and Austin Wright were among the prospects that fell completely off the list.

Players such as Freddy Galvis, Cody Asche and Jonathan Pettibone, who had notable time in the majors or who appeared to be with the big league team for the long haul were not considered in the survey.

To read the original piece from The Reading Eagle, click here.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Weekly Minors Roundup: Hernandez, Franco, Altherr, Cozens Heat Up

Here's another weekly rundown of the Phillies' minor leagues with details on some recent noteworthy performers...

Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs...

In eight games since returning to the IronPigs' lineup, following a wrist injury, second baseman/center fielder Cesar Hernandez has gone 11-for-26 (.423 avg) with a double, a triple, two RBI and two steals.  The 23-year-old batted .250 in nine games with the big league Phillies earlier this season.

Third baseman Tyler Henson is batting .375 with seven doubles, four home runs and 17 walks in 22 games since joining the 'Pigs.  The 25-year-old was signed as a minor league free agent last off-season.


Double-A Reading Fightins...

Maikel Franco, Image- Jay Floyd
In his last six games, Maikel Franco, who turns 21-years-old today, is 8-for-22 (.367 avg) with a double, three home runs and seven RBI.  The Dominican native began playing first base for the Fightins over the weekend after being strictly a third baseman in his pro career till then.  Overall in 126 games combined with Reading and Clearwater, Franco is batting .314 with 29 home runs and 98 RBI this year. 


Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers...

Outfielder Aaron Altherr is 15-for-37 (.405 avg) with three doubles, two homers and seven RBI in his last nine games.  The 22-year-old righty hitter is sporting a .276 average with 12 home runs, 68 RBI and 21 steals in 116 games this season.  Altherr was the Phillies' 9th round draft choice in 2009.

Cameron Perkins, another Threshers outfielder, had a hot stretch ended with an 0-for-5 effort on Sunday.  The Phils' 6th round pick from 2012 was 11-for-25 (.440 avg) in his previous eight games prior to Sunday's contest.  Overall this season, the 22-year-old Purdue product is batting .300 with seven homers and 53 RBI in 99 games.

Lefty starting pitcher Hoby Milner has a 3-1 record and a 1.33 ERA in four outings this month.  The 22-year-old was selected in the 7th round of last year's draft out of the University of Texas.  This season, Milner has a 12-6 record with a 3.77 ERA and a 6.70 K/9 mark in 25 games.


Class A Lakewood BlueClaws...

This year's 1st round draft pick J.P. Crawford is batting .321 with a double, two RBI and two steals in eight games since joining the 'Claws.  The 18-year-old shortstop joined Lakewood after sporting a .345/.443/.465 line in 39 games with the GCL Phillies.

Carlos Tocci, Image- Jay Floyd
Outfielder Carlos Tocci is batting .183 in 54 games since the South Atlantic League All-Star game after tallying a .236 average in 60 games prior to the break.  Tocci, who turned 18 this past week, was signed by the Phillies on his 16th birthday two years ago.


Short-season A level Williamsport Crosscutters...

Second baseman Andrew Pullin has gone 12-for-30 (.400 avg) with four doubles, a home run and six RBI in his last seven games.  This season, in 48 games, the 19-year-old is batting .270 with three homers and 21 RBI.  Pullin was the Phillies' 5th round pick in last year's draft.

Over an eight-game hit streak that concluded over the weekend, outfielder Dylan Cozens went 10-for-28 (.357 avg) with a double, a triple, a home run and five RBI.  In 58 games this year, the 19-year-old is batting .261 with seven homers, 29 RBI and 10 steals.  The lefty batting Cozens was drafted in the 2nd round last year.


Rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies...


Since making the move from the bullpen to the starting rotation, 18-year-old right-hander Tyler Viza has a 1-0 record with a 1.29 ERA in five outings.  Viza was drafted in the 32nd round this year.  Overall in 11 games, the youngster has a 1.55 ERA. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

PhoulBallz Interview: Mark Leiter Jr. Talks Draft, Baseball Pedigree, Pro Transition

With family and local ties, Mark Leiter Jr. is one of the best stories out of this year's Phillies draft class.  The son of former Phils hurler Mark Leiter Sr., nephew of former big leaguer Al Leiter as well as Kurt Leiter who was also a pro pitcher and a product of Toms River North High School and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Leiter Jr. has been enjoying success since he was selected in the 22nd round this year.

In 13 outings to start his professional career, the 22-year-old had gone 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA before earning a promotion from the Gulf Coast League Phillies to Class A Lakewood recently.  Leiter, who stands six feet tall and weighs around 195 pounds, has not allowed a run and has struck out 12 while walking only two in two starts (11 innings) since joining the BlueClaws.

Last week I spoke with the right-hander, who grew up as a Phillies fan, about his draft experience, coming from a baseball pedigree and his family's hobby of collecting baseball cards.  Read ahead for that full interview.


- Can you take me through the draft process this year?  How were you tracking it?  And were the Phillies on your radar or were they a surprise to take you?

Well, the Phillies were the team I hoped would draft me.  They had seen me a few times over the last couple years in college and, so they were keeping tabs on me and how I was doing.  I think a decent amount of different scouts saw me, from the Phillies.  So, we were hoping it was the Phillies.  

On the day of the draft, I didn't know what was going to happen.  You never know.  We watched the first day, I watched the second day with my family and on the third day, my dad took me and my grandfather and my cousin golfing, so we didn't watch at all.  So, we were playing golf and I got the phone call and it was nice.  It was a good experience, I was just with my dad and my grandfather and my cousin, playing golf.  It was definitely cool.


- I want to get your thoughts on playing in a family with a baseball pedigree.  I'm sure you get this question all the time, but what advantages did your background provide for you and what is it like coming from this family into baseball as a pro.

Well, having the background of my family, with the experience that they have has really been a big help for me, as far as my personal performance and mentally being sharp and stuff like that.  I talk to my uncles on the phone, I talk to my uncle Kurt a lot, and me and my dad have countless conversations.  Every time we're together, just whether it's just a small conversation or if we have a full conversation about baseball, you know the tutelage that they're able to give me, the outside observations of what I'm going through that they've already gone through, it's very helpful.  Then, of course, my dad- working out with him in the winter, you know, throwing with him, being able to call him after a bad game, he does lessons, in the winter he does them here, at the BlueClaws' batting cages.  I always go with him, help him out, work with the kids.  So, that's helping me, because mechanically, different stuff, keeping myself sharp.  But, being able to just have that to lean on, when you're struggling, or whatever it is, to have the person to go to, that's been there and knows what you need to hear, is very helpful.  

I'm very lucky and very fortunate.  The mentoring they've all been able to do for me has been great.  I've been privileged to have it.


- You talked about being here in a different capacity, coaching, mentoring...have you ever been here at FirstEnergy Park as a fan and what are the differences for you being in attendance as a fan versus being here as a mentor against now representing this team and the Phillies?

Well, I came to a few games when I was younger, but the past couple years I haven't been able to.  I haven't been home, summer baseball and stuff like that with college.  But, being here in the winter, being able to see it and knowing it was a possibility (to play here), it was kind of like that's the goal...being able to play in Lakewood next summer.  It was very cool and it has hit me, but it hasn't.  The first time I'm able to see my family really, other than my dad flying down to Florida, but just being able to go home and see everyone, it's nice.  And being able to wake up in my own bed and drive to the field it's unbelievable.


- You mentioned being able to have your family come out.  What does it mean to you to get a couple starts here at home as the season winds down?

It's awesome.  (My first start with Lakewood) was obviously on the road, but it was close enough that my mom, I was able to have my mom come and it was the first time I got to see my mom and my dad.  My sisters came down.  My one sister just went away to school, but having them really able to see me for the first time was nice.  And then once I got sent here I have a lot of friends and family congratulating me, asking me when I'm pitching.  So, the fact that I'm pitching at home and they're able to come out is nice and is very cool.


- How has the process been for you adjusting to the pro's from college ball thus far?

 Everything that's come so far has been everything I hoped for and more.  Just the ways it's run, the way you go about your daily routine, all that kind of stuff has been awesome.  It's been everything I've dreamed of and what I've wanted to do through college and high school.


- When you've got a big leaguer like Roy Halladay rehabbing with the team it's common for the younger players to have all eyes on him.  Talk a bit about having Roy around and what type of impact he could have on the players.

I'll be charting the game, so that'll be cool.  I mean, he's a great pitcher, he's a two-time Cy Young Award winner.  I've been to game at Citizens Bank Park when he's been pitching and just seeing him in the locker room, it's pretty cool.  And to be charting his pitches, it's just gonna be awesome.


- What's your pitch repertoire right now and what do you consider your out pitch?

Fastball, change up, curve ball.  I'm working on a cutter.  Change up's the go-to pitch. 


- Before I let you go, and thanks for your time, I wanted to ask as a kid did you collect baseball cards and do you remember your favorite card or who your favorite guy to collect was?

Griffey.  Absolutely.


- Not the family? (laughter)

Well, I mean we get those cards, but after my dad retired, The Backstop, we'd go over there all the time, the last Friday of every month and we would collect cards and open boxes, all that kind of stuff.  I was always excited if I got a Griffey.


- Inserts are always a big deal with collecting cards.  Do you remember ever getting a special insert that you got excited about?

Well, my dad opened up a Topps Sterling, when those first came out, he got a Mickey Mantle autograph.  So, that was pretty cool.  We were video taping at that time and he pulled that card.


- That's a hot pull.

Yeah, that was a real impressive one.  We pulled a lot of cool ones, but that was the most memorable. 

18-inning Marathon Results in Early Return For Doc



Righty hurler Roy Halladay, who was slated to appear in another rehab outing for Double-A Reading on Sunday will return to the big league club instead, following a marathon of baseball Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.

In Saturday night's (Sunday morning's?) 12-7 defeat at the hands of the Diamondbacks, the Phillies sent nine pitchers and two position players to the mound to make it through the lengthy affair. Starter Ethan Martin could not escape the opening frame, as he allowed three hits, three walks and three earned runs. Over the 4 2/3 innings that followed, Luis Garcia and Zach Miner allowed a combined four earned runs. The remainder of the relief corps including Cesar Jimenez, Justin De Fratus, Jonathan Papelbon, Jake Diekman and B.J Rosenberg combined for 6 2/3 scoreless innings while Sunday's originally scheduled starter Tyler Cloyd was called upon to toss five scoreless frames.

As the need to use Cloyd approached, the Phillies dugout got in touch with general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. to consult him on the possibility of having Halladay return to Philly, instead of taking the mound in Reading on Sunday.  The GM obliged and Cloyd was used in relief to begin the 12th inning with no end in sight.

In Halladay's most recent rehab effort on Tuesday, the 36-year-old, who has been out of action since May following shoulder surgery, allowed seven hits while striking out four and walking three in six innings for Class A Lakewood. He threw 90 pitches, 52 of which were strikes, in that effort and gave up two runs, although only one was earned.

In his nightly press conference Phils manager Ryne Sandberg confirmed that with the taxed bullpen, the team anticipated adding a rested relief pitcher to the mix on Sunday prior to the team's 1:35 PM series finale against Arizona. Cloyd, who threw 91 pitches, and Rosenberg, who pitched three straight days, are the likely candidates to be demoted.

Out of arms, the Phillies resorted to using Casper Wells, who started the game in right field, to pitch the 18th inning. The right-hander yielded five runs after retiring the first two batters he faced. Utility man John McDonald was called upon to close out the inning.

Wells, who took the loss, registered 90-91 MPH regularly in the stadium radar gun, which is velocity that would be welcome for Halladay on Sunday, as he was mainly clocked at 87 MPH in Lakewood last week.

At seven hours and six minutes, Saturday's game was the longest in Phillies history. The two clubs combined to use 20 pitchers, tying the big league record.


Bonus notes:

Darin Ruf slammed his ninth homer of the month on Saturday, which is tops in the National League for August.

Carlos Ruiz is 15-for-29 (.517 avg) with three doubles, two home runs and six RBI in his last seven games.

Righty hurler J.C. Ramirez has a 0.00 ERA in seven outings (11 2/3 innings) since returning to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.  The 25-year-old threw one inning on Saturday, his first outing since August 19th.