Phillies' injury-plagued De Fratus making strides

Phils prospect Cody Asche is posting way better numbers this season: Last year, he hit .192 in Williamsport. This year, he's batting .297 in double-A Reading.
Phils prospect Cody Asche is posting way better numbers this season: Last year, he hit .192 in Williamsport. This year, he's batting .297 in double-A Reading. (YONG KIM / Staff Photographer)
Posted: August 26, 2012

ALLENTOWN - Justin De Fratus was hoping to pitch for the Phillies this year. While he hasn't made it to Philadelphia, the righthanded reliever for Lehigh Valley is happy to be pitching at all.

He hurt his elbow working out in the offseason and landed on the disabled list March 26 with a right elbow strain.

De Fratus, who will turn 25 in October, made one rehab appearance, for single-A Clearwater, Fla., on April 22. He then was shut down until July 10, when he made the first of two appearances with the Gulf Coast League Phillies. Afterward, he pitched one inning for Clearwater on July 16.

De Fratus, the Phillies' 11th-round pick in 2007 out of Ventura (Calif.) College, has been with Lehigh Valley since July 18.

According to De Fratus, he was fortunate the elbow injury didn't require surgery.

""Look at it this way: Had I gotten surgery I would have been out all year," he said.

Without the injury, it is likely De Fratus would have been with the Phillies. Last season he appeared in five games for the Phillies, going 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in four innings.

Now he is looking to regain his form.

Entering the weekend he had appeared in 14 games for the IronPigs, covering 15 innings, and was 0-1 with a 2.87 ERA. He had an impressive 0.96 WHIP and had struck out 15 and walked two.

He has not held back, he said. Now it's a matter of gaining consistency.

"I knew coming back there would be a little inconsistency," said De Fratus, The Inquirer's No. 9-rated Phillies prospect. "Lately I can say I feel really strong and am back to where I need to be."

IronPigs manager Ryne Sandberg said DeFratus has been showing strong signs.

"Starting late has affected his progress, but as he has gone along he sure seems like he is healthy and has shown the stuff he had in the past this year."

Showing power

It's always an adjustment for a player in his first year as a professional, but Gulf Coast Phillies outfielder Dylan Cozens has shown some power in the early going.

Considering that he turned 18 in May, it will be interesting to see how he develops.

The 6-foot-6, 235-pound Cozens was the Phillies' second- round pick (77th overall) this year. He entered the weekend hitting .265 with 11 doubles, two triples, five home runs, and 24 RBIs in 155 at-bats.

"He is a big kid who moves around well for his size and he has shown power and the ability to hit," said Joe Jordan, the Phillies' director of player development.

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