March 5, 2014 |
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - One of the first names out of Ryne Sandberg's mouth yesterday afternoon was that of a 36-year-old who has tallied more than 100 major league plate appearances in a season four times, 200 major league plate appearances in a season twice, and who has a frame that looks more like a utility infielder's. Meet Wil Nieves, the Phillies' backup catcher, a man who might print his resume in landscape mode, its breadth far exceeding its depth. A veteran of eight organizations, two of which never promoted him to the major leagues, the 5-11, 190-pound Puerto Rican player signed a $1.125 million contract to replace Erik Kratz as Carlos Ruiz' understudy behind the plate this season.
February 21, 2014 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - A sweat-soaked Maikel Franco walked back into the Phillies' clubhouse yesterday afternoon after a long day's work. He smiled. It's good to be in big-league camp. The likely reality is that Franco - a third baseman who turned 21 in August near the end of his breakout minor league season - will be moving across the Carpenter Complex to minor league camp in a few weeks. Franco is young and probably still has some more developing to do as a professional.
February 11, 2014 |
WHILE A number of 2009 second-round draftees already have contributed to the major league club that selected them, Phillies prospect Kelly Dugan still is awaiting his opportunity to show off his talents in Philadelphia. The 23-year-old outfielder started 2013 in high-Class A Clearwater but finished his fifth year with the organization with Double A Reading, where he batted .264 with 10 home runs and 23 runs batted in in 56 games. Before joining Reading in July, the lefthanded-hitting Dugan hit .318 with 10 homers and 36 RBI in 56 games with the Threshers.
January 10, 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.
September 12, 2013 |
ANDREW CASHNER is the latest in a long line of Texas kids blessed with the god-gifted ability to throw a baseball really, really hard. Nolan Ryan came in the 1970s, Roger Clemens in the '80s. Kerry Wood followed in the '90s, Clayton Kershaw in the '00s. Only four pitchers have been armed with a faster fastball than San Diego's Cashner in 2013: Matt Harvey, Stephen Strasburg, Jose Fernandez and Wily Peralta. A Phillies lineup featuring five guys who have played a considerable amount of time in Triple A in the last two seasons was no match for Cashner's heavy artillery last night.
September 6, 2013 |
WHEN MIKE Adams' season was declared over and Antonio Bastardo was served a 50-game suspension, the Phillies' bullpen basically turned into Jonathan Papelbon and a herd of pitchers moving in and out of a revolving door to and from Triple A Lehigh Valley. The relief corps has been made up of former IronPigs trying to stay former IronPigs by succeeding in the big leagues. It's really been one, big, open tryout for the 2014 bullpen. While many have struggled to take advantage of the opportunity, at least one reliever has blossomed as a big-leaguer.
August 5, 2013 |
WILLIAMSPORT - As with any 31st-round draft pick, the odds are against Chris Nichols' ever pitching in the big leagues the way his father, Rod, did with three teams in the late 1980s and early 1990s. That's not going to stop him from having the time of his life trying. Something special happened for Chris and Rod Nichols in June 2012. Rod was in his 13th season as a minor-league pitching coach with the Phillies when he learned the team was going to make Chris a 31st-round pick. Father was given the honor of telling his son. "I had a little bit of an idea, but it was just a little bit surreal," Chris said.
August 4, 2013 |
With his hands stretched behind his head, Zach Miner relaxed on his black leather chair on Friday afternoon and looked into his new locker in the Phillies clubhouse. A night earlier, triple-A Lehigh Valley manager Dave Brundage told him he was being promoted to the big leagues. Miner spent most of Friday's early afternoon stuck in traffic trying to find his way to Citizens Bank Park. But after four seasons, the 31-year-old righty was back in the majors. It feels better this time, Miner said, than when he debuted seven seasons ago with Detroit.
July 28, 2013 |
DETROIT - The Phillies 42d player this year has as many LinkedIn endorsements for Microsoft Office as he does for baseball. His resume lists his current employer as the Phillies. Before that, he was a program associate at a project-management company. He has a degree in civil engineering. Steve Susdorf was called up on Thursday, had his first major-league at bat against the Cardinals the same day - and grounded into double play. The Phillies had placed Domonic Brown on the seven-day disabled list for concussions before Thursday's game, and needed a replacement, quickly.