September 15, 2016 |
Jorge Alfaro spent the last five months preparing for the moment he faced in the seventh inning of a 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park. The catching prospect worked each afternoon this season with double-A manager Dusty Wathan. It helped, Alfaro said, to have a minor-league manager who happened to be a former catcher. Wathan gave Alfaro daily lessons in the catcher's art of calling pitches. There is little question that Alfaro can hit. He batted .285 with a .783 OPS this season at Reading.
August 21, 2016 |
This was mid-January, a freezing day in a freezing month, but already Nick Williams was thinking warm thoughts. The Phillies had brought him to Citizens Bank Park, with several other young players and prospects, for a tour of the place, and in walking the concourse Williams began eyeballing the right-field wall and its alluring distance from home plate. Just 329 feet down the line. Just 369 to right-center. September, he said. He wanted to be in the Phillies lineup by the end of September, to take some shots at that short porch.
July 24, 2016 |
READING - As soon as Jorge Alfaro signed with the Texas Rangers in 2010, his focus shifted to doing whatever he could to make it to the majors. But Alfaro grew up playing the outfield, third base, and shortstop. He didn't have any catching experience and the Rangers moved him behind the plate anyway. He wasn't expecting it. But he wasn't surprised, either. Alfaro was ready to do whatever was asked of him. "I will play anything," Alfaro said. "But I really like catching [now]
July 13, 2016 |
SAN DIEGO - Cole Hamels never doubted he would return to the postseason. Stay healthy, the former Phillies ace said, and the opportunity could arise. He just did not expect it so soon with the Texas Rangers last season, mere months after the Phillies traded him. Now he is the best pitcher on the team with the best record in the American League at the all-star break. Life is good for the 32-year-old lefthander. That does not preclude him from being wistful about the great days in Philadelphia.
April 25, 2016 |
Jerad Eickhoff was three years removed from being a 15th-round pick and even further from being considered a prospect. The pitcher was instead a middling minor-leaguer, struggling to find success on baseball's lowest rungs. Then, in the summer of 2014, he struck up a conversation with Mark Connor, a roving pitching instructor in the Texas Rangers' farm system. Connor told Eickhoff to throw his curveball more. He believed that American League pitchers who offered a heavy dosage of curveballs were more likely to succeed.
March 26, 2016 |
For Bishop Eustace catchers, hitting is optional. Defense and leadership are mandatory. That's fine with Crusaders senior catcher Nate Steele. He has embraced his role for a young team with a staff of inexperienced pitchers. "As a catcher, that's how it works at Eustace," Steele said. Bishop Eustace coach Sam Tropiano "doesn't even care about how much you hit. You have to be a leader. " Steele batted a respectable .293 with seven doubles, two homers and 19 RBIs as a junior for a team that won 25 games and finished in the No. 1 spot in the Inquirer's Top 25. Steele had two of those RBIs in Bishop Eustace's victory over Eastern in the Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic championship game.
March 1, 2016
Free agent Ian Desmond has agreed to a one-year contract with the Texas Rangers that will include a move to the outfield for the onetime all-star shortstop who was expected to be in their camp Monday. The $8 million deal was near completion after Desmond passed his physical Sunday, according to a baseball official who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement from the team. Desmond is expected to play left field for the AL West champion Rangers.
February 26, 2016
Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton will start the season on the disabled list because of an injured left knee. Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said the five-time all-star, bothered by swelling in the knee, received a stem cell and platelet-rich plasma injection Monday, when he was examined by orthopedist James Andrews. Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP, will be on crutches for seven to 10 days and is projected to need eight weeks of recovery time. Levine said Hamilton likely would start a minor-league rehabilitation assignment in late April and the Rangers hope he will return to their lineup in early May. Hamilton will be making his 11th trip to the disabled list.
February 22, 2016 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - It was an interesting revelation from a passionate man with little patience for ballplayers who do not work diligently at their craft. Unsolicited this offseason, Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa referred to Odubel Herrera as the hardest working man on the team last season. "He was the kind of kid that gave everything he had, and his attitude was the same every game," Bowa said. "I've seen guys play a year or two, and they never make any adjustments. But to me this kid made adjustments last year.
January 19, 2016 |
Growing up in Galveston, Texas, Nick Williams spent a lot of time in his backyard hitting golf balls without a golf club. He was a kid who loved baseball, and kids who love baseball often love hitting home runs, and Williams savored the chance to track how far a baseball would go once his bat struck it. His father might throw him 200 pitches during a batting-practice session, Williams said, and he'd swing from his heels at every one. But he particularly...