At Double A Reading, Dugan waiting for shot to move up

Posted: July 11, 2014

READING - When you look at the Phillies' 40-man roster, there are some glaring holes. With five of the 40 on the disabled list, the Phillies are running thin.

They have five outfielders on the major league roster, three of whom are not producing at a high level and one who's just arrived.

At the minor league level, Darrun Ruf, who is with Triple A Lehigh Valley, has battled injuries all season, but has potential to be an everyday player. Aaron Altherr is the prized jewel of Double A Reading, and has seen time with the big-league club this year.

That leaves Kelly Dugan. The 23-year-old is just waiting for his opportunity in Reading. He saw Altherr make the jump from Double A right to the majors, and knows he needs to be ready if his name is called.

"Aaron is a great player," Dugan said. "He got an opportunity. Everyone is different. If they feel like I'm ready to go play and they need me, I'll be ready here. I am getting ready every day. That's how I see it. We all have to be ready."

Dugan has made strides in Reading, when he has been healthy. He has spent more than half of this season on the disabled list with an oblique injury. He has played only 31 games this year, but says he is ready to contribute, both to his own cause and to help Reading win for the rest of the year.

"I am completely good," Dugan said. "For me, I just want to keep taking at-bats, and that's what I'm here for. I am here for continued work and continued development. As a team, we are trying to win ballgames."

The oblique has been a problem for Dugan throughout his young career. He spent time on the disabled list in 2012 with the same injury. He would be further along his developmental process if he could stay on the field. As of now, he is back and enjoying being on the field each day.

"I'm continuing to work on things and continuing to keep trying to get better in every aspect of my game," Dugan said. "We are also here to win, and, I think, as a group, we have been battling. I am enjoying the whole process of every day playing baseball."

When he is in the lineup, Dugan has been productive. He is hitting .281, and has an on-base percentage of .384. His 6-3, 215-pound frame suggests he is more of a speedster, but he has the ability to hit for power, along with his knack for getting on base. Between Clearwater and Reading last season, he hit 20 home runs on the year. He has only three this season, but expects that number to spike once he gets his legs back under him.

Dugan is trying to do anything to help Reading, which has struggled this season. He also is trying to do the things that promote a winning atmosphere, as well as the little things on the field that win baseball games, but sometimes go unnoticed.

"I'm trying to play winning baseball," Dugan said. "If I can affect the game and help us win. Take away runs on defense, get runs on the field, drive runs in, move runners over, get the game moving, I think that has been my strength as a player. Holding runners in the field, containing runs, it is all just about that. You always work on that. My whole life, I know you limit them, and you score runs, you are going to win."

Dugan is a solid corner outfielder with a plus arm. If he had stayed healthy, it is not out of the question to say the Phillies' second-round pick of the 2009 draft could have reached the major leagues by now, at some capacity. Dugan does not let that get him down, and he has a good grip on the learning process in the minor leagues.

"Every day is different on the field," Dugan said. "You try to learn from the experiences and bank it in your memory. Every time something new happens, every time I make a mistake, because we all make mistakes, I want to get better."

He is getting better each day he spends in the lineup at Reading. For now, he is just waiting for his opportunity to move up to the next level.

Prospect park

Catching up with five notable Phillies farmhands:

1. Aaron Nola, P, Clearwater: Nola has had a few weeks to get into the swing of things in Clearwater, and has been as advertised. He struck out five in his July 6 outing, giving up only up one hit in five innings. 1-1, 3.18 ERA, 11 SO

2. Maikel Franco, 3B, Lehigh Valley: Since June 2, Franco is 15-for-32 at the plate, including having three multi-hit games this week. .234, 6 HR, 40 RBI

3. Aaron Altherr, OF, Reading: Altherr has bounced back and forth from the Phillies and Reading in the past few weeks, but finished up a stellar June in which he hit .326. .246, 6 HR, 34 RBI

4. J.P Crawford, SS, Clearwater: Crawford is not hitting the ball all that well at Clearwater since being called up, but he was on a seven-game hitting streak entering yesterday. .234, 3 HR, 7 RBI

5. Roman Quinn, OF, Clearwater: Through six games in July, he was hitting .350, which is a good sign for a guy coming off injury. .266, 2 HR, 11 RBI

On Twitter: @AndrewJAlbert01

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