Phillies Notebook: Frandsen showing his stuff

Posted: August 22, 2012

SHORTLY AFTER the home clubhouse opened at Citizens Bank Park on Monday afternoon, a pack of reporters slowly swarmed to the corner locker at the front of the room.

If someone had told you a month ago that Kevin Frandsen would be fielding questions about coming out of the starting lineup for the first time in 3 weeks, you would have likely asked them why they were talking about the Triple A Lehigh Valley IronPigs. But in the last 3 weeks, Frandsen has established himself as a capable body at third base.

He hit .329 with a .363 on-base percentage in 20 straight starts, beginning July 29. He hit safely in 16 of those 20 starts and played sound defense at third, too.

"Getting the opportunity to play every day . . . it meant the world to me because it showed, maybe to myself, that it's not a lie what I did down there," said Frandsen, who hit over .300 in each of the last two seasons at Lehigh.

But on Monday, when the Phillies activated Placido Polanco from the disabled list, Frandsen took a seat on the pine for the first time in 23 days.

"Obviously, you have an All-Star coming back," Frandsen, 30, said, "and that obviously says more than a Triple A All-Star who has only been here for a little while."

Across the field in the visiting dugout, another 30-something career minor leaguer prepared for the same game. Former Phillies fan favorite and super sub Wilson Valdez returned to South Philly for the first time since being traded in January for lefthanded reliever Jeremy Horst.

And standing in the Cincinnati Reds clubhouse, Valdez was an example of what a guy like Frandsen could accomplish in the final 6 weeks of the season.

Valdez played the majority of his first 11 professional seasons in the minor leagues before breaking through as a reliable extra infielder for the Phillies two seasons ago, when he was 32.

"It was a good experience for me," Valdez said of establishing himself as a major leaguer in Philadelphia. "Charlie [Manuel] gave me the opportunity to play, he gave me a chance to get into the role where I could be ready to help the team and to be ready to be in the majors."

Frandsen probably will return to the lineup Tuesday and likely will get a long look from Manuel and the front office in what remains of the 2012 season.

"Sometimes when you get to play you take advantage of it; he's done that," Manuel said. "He's going to continue on getting a chance to play some more. He's earned the right to play."

Not unlike Valdez, who took advantage of a similar opportunity 2 years ago. "You have to," Valdez said. "When you're not an everyday player, every chance you get to play you have to prepare yourself, do whatever you have to do to help the team."

Pep talk from Chooch

Carlos Ruiz would rather be in uniform. But the All-Star catcher took advantage of a weekend off by taking his family to Williamsport for a Little League World Series Game. The Panamanian-born Ruiz called Panama coach Carlos Velis and told him he wanted to talk to his hometown team before Friday's game.

"I wanted it to be a surprise," Ruiz said, smiling.

The team from Aguadulce, Panama, defeated Uganda that night. They play Japan on Wednesday and have an invitation from Ruiz to come to a Phillies game at some point during the team's current homestand.

Ruiz, sidelined since Aug. 3 with a left foot injury, will begin running drills early next week. He hit in the indoor cages on Monday and hopes to join regular, pregame batting practice on Wednesday.

"We'll see how it goes," Ruiz said. "I'm happy now because I feel real good. I feel like I'm close."

Honors for Hamels

Cole Hamels was named National League Player of the Week on Monday.

In two starts last week, Hamels collected two wins, a shutout and allowed three runs in 16 2/3 innings. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. joked that fellow Phils starter Kyle Kendrick must have finished in second place in the voting. Kendrick also went 2-0 in two starts last week, throwing 15 shutout innings while striking out 13 and walking one.


Contact Ryan Lawrence at rlawrence@phillynews.com.

 

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