Phillies Notes: Phils invite Biddle, Franco to big-league camp

Posted: January 09, 2014

The Phillies' top position player and pitching prospects, Maikel Franco and Jesse Biddle, were invited to big-league spring training Wednesday, although neither may have a chance at winning a job.

Franco will compete with Cody Asche at third base. Asche is the favorite in that competition given his decent production as a rookie in the final months of 2013. Franco is viewed as the future at the position; the 21-year-old Dominican solidified his top-prospect status with 31 homers last season.

Biddle, the Germantown Friends graduate and former first-round pick, is likely ticketed for triple-A Lehigh Valley in April. Manager Ryne Sandberg said last month Biddle is a "back-burner type of possibility" for the 2014 rotation. The 22-year-old lefty posted a 3.64 ERA with 10 strikeouts per nine innings at double-A Reading in 2013.

The Phillies also invited righthander Ken Giles, lefthander Mario Hollands, and catcher Sebastian Valle to spring training. Giles, 23, is an intriguing arm. He throws 100 m.p.h. and impressed during Arizona Fall League action.

Morandini moves up

The Phillies promoted Mickey Morandini to bench coach at triple-A Lehigh Valley. Morandini, 47, spent the last three seasons as a manager at the single-A level. The former second baseman was a candidate to serve as the Phillies' assistant hitting coach until John Mizerock was promoted.

Veteran coach Greg Legg will replace Morandini at single-A Lakewood. Ramon Henderson will manage single-A Clearwater. He was the Phillies' bullpen coach from 1998 to 2008 before he was fired for substance abuse.

Chris Truby, the manager at single-A Clearwater last season, will be the organization's infield coordinator in 2014. Doug Mansolino was promoted to field coordinator.


mgelb@phillynews.com

@magelb inquirer.com/phillieszone

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