Yesterday, the Phils announced the reason why Jose Contreras had not been used for most of the Padres series. He had strained the flexnor pronator tendon on his right elbow. Because of that, he will be placed on the 15-day disabled list, while coming back to Philadelphia to have an MRI taken to see how bad it really is. At the time of his injury, Contreras had appeared in eight games, pitching eight scoreless innings, and converting all five of his save opportunities.
To take his place as the team’s closer, while the club is still waiting for Brad Lidge to return from his injury, will be Ryan Madson, who has so far converted both of his save opportunities. To take Contreras’ spot on the roster will be Michael Stutes, who had pitched well during spring training. The Phils have bought Stutes’ contract from Lehigh Valley, planning to give him his first taste of going against Major League bats during the regular season. Hope he will do as well as Antonio Bastardo presently is, and hope that Contreras will be back soon.
The Phils have just announced that they will be placing J.C. Romero on the 15-day disabled list, one day after he is taken out of last night’s game in the top of the ninth, as he attempted to field a ground ball hit by the Brewers’ Carlos Gomez, as he strained his right calf. Before the injury, Romero had pitched four and two-thirds innings, with a 3.86 ERA, as he was appearing in his seventh game of the season. Talk about tough luck.
The Phils have called up left-hander Mike Zagurski from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take his spot on the 25-man roster. So far this year with the Iron Pigs, Zugurski had appeared in three games, with a 1-0 record and an 0.00 ERA, as he had allowed just two hits and have struck out seven in three and one-third innings. Hopefully he’ll do well with the parent club while J.C. recovers from his injury.
The Phils have announced that they have made a one-year deal, pending his passing a physical, with J.C. Romero, for an undisclosed amount of cash.
J.C. Romero, whom the Phils had let go earlier in the off-season, had spent the last three plus seasons (2007-10) with the Phils, going 6-6 with 4 saves and a 2.60 ERA, as he appeared in 213 games, pitching in 148.2 innings, giving up 99 hits and 46 runs, 41 of which were earned, and walking 105 batters, while striking out 123. Last year, in 60 games pitched, he recorded a 1-0 record with 3 saves and a 3.68 ERA, as he pitched 36.2 innings, giving up 30 hits and 17 runs, 15 of which were earned, as he walked 29 batters, while striking out 28.
If he passes the physical, its obvious that the Phils will once again use him as their situational lefty out of the bullpen, hoping that he’ll bounce back from his injuries in 2009-10. I just hope the Phils know what they’re doing.
It seems that several things had occurred as far as the Phils are concerned.
First, on December 2, the Phils tendered contracts to outfielder Ben Francisco and pitcher Kyle Kendrick to keep them from becoming free agents. Kyle Kendrick will likely be fighting with Vance Worley for the fifth starter’s spot during spring training, while Francisco will be involved in a platoon situation with Dom Brown, as…
on the following Sunday, December 5, it was announced that Jayson Werth had signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Washington Nationals. Although he was expected to leave, Jayson’s signing with another team within the NL East came as a complete surprise to everyone, including Phils manager Charlie Manuel, as everyone had expected him to sign with an AL team, like the Red Sox or the Tigers. Well, Jayson, congrats on the money, but be prepared for a lot of boos, after being given some respectful cheers the first time you come to town in a Nat uniform. (The Nats? I hope you know what you’re doing Jayson.) As for the Phils’ compensation in draft picks, they will get a player in the draft between the first and second rounds, and then a player from the second round, as the Nats’ first round pick did not fall among the first 15 players of the draft.
The next day, December 6, the Hall of Fame Expansion Era Committee announced that it had elected ex-Phil General Manager Pat Gillick (2005-2008) to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Gillick, who was also the GM for the Blue Jays, who won World Series Championships in 1992-1993, to go along with the Phils’ 2008 World Series Championship, as well as being the GM for both the Baltimore Orioles and the Seattle Mariners, in 27 years as a GM, had 11 teams enter the post-season.
The next day, December 7, it was announced that journalist Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily News (also formerly on the Philadelphia Bulletin) will receive the J.G. Taylor Spink Award from the BBWAA, for 50 years of meritorious contributions to baseball writing. He will be given the award during the induction ceremonies at Cooperstown, NY, on July 25, 2011.
Then, on December 8, the Phils announced that they had signed former Cardinal relief pitcher Dennys Reyes to a one year deal for $1.1 million, with a $1.35 million option for 2012. Reyes, who has pitched in the major leagues for fourteen seasons out of the bullpen, will be joining his eleventh team when he joins the Phils, as he finished 2010 with a 3-1 record with an ERA of 3.55, as he pitched in 59 games, with a save, as he struck out 25 batters, while walking 21. The Phils will likely be using him as their left handed specialist out of the bullpen, to compliment Antonio Bastardo.
On the 9th, the Phils took three players in the Rule 5 Draft, with the first one, Michael Martinez, an infielder, coming from the Nats organization, via their Syracuse Triple-A affiliate. Phils’ GM Ruben Amaro Jr. jokingly commented that picking him up was the Phils way of getting back at the Nats for taking Jayson. (I just hope the last laugh ain’t on the Phils with this one.) The Phils would also pick up Chris Frey from the Rockies organization and Justin Friend from the A’s in the minor league part of the Rule 5 Draft. I guess it’ll be a while before we see if any of these guys pan out with the Phils.
Also during the week, the Phils brought Dom Brown back from the Dominican League, as they did not think that he was getting the seasoning that they thought he would need to be ready for spring training. Instead, they plan to do it during spring training itself, to get him ready for the regular season.
Lastly, the Phils had announced on Saturday that shortstop Jimmy Rollins had on Thursday undergone minor surgery on his left wrist. They also announced that he should be able to participate in spring training next year.
In his second start of the 2009 season, Brett Myers won his first game of the year in spite of once again giving up four runs on three long balls as the Phils defeated the Rockies at Coors Field, 8-4, tying up the three games series at a victory apiece.
The Rockies took a quick 2-0 lead in the second inning as Myers gave up a two-run home run to Troy Tulowitzki, his third home run of the year, as he knocked in Brad Hawpe, who had earlier doubled. The Phillies struck back in the top of the third, as Ryan Howard knocked in three runs as he hit a bases clearing, two-out double, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who had earlier singled, Shane Victorino, who had also singled, and Chase Utley, who had walked, giving the Phils the lead, 3-2. In the fourth, the Rockies tied the game up at three all as Garrett Atkins hit a hard to believe solo home run off of Myers, his second home run of the season. The Phillies regained the lead in the fifth, as Jayson Werth hit a two-out, two-run triple, scoring Utley, who had earlier singled and had gone to third on Howard’s single, and Howard, making it a 5-3 Phillies’ lead. The Rockies got one of the runs back in the bottom of the fifth as Clint Barmes hit a lead-off, solo home run off of Myers, his first home run of the season, cutting the Phils lead down to 5-4. But that turned out to be the Rockies’ last hit, as first Myers and then the Phils’ bullpen would get out the next fifteen Rockies. Meanwhile, the Phillies slowly added to their lead. In the seventh, Raul Ibanez made it 6-4 Phils as he hit a two-out solo home run, his second home run of the year. Then in the eighth, the score became 7-4 Phillies as Utley hit a two-out RBI single, scoring Victorino, who had earlier doubled. The Phillies then scored their last run in the ninth, as Pedro Feliz knocked in Ibanez, who had earlier doubled, making it an 8-4 Phillies’ lead. Brad Lidge then came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth, pitching a 1-2-3 inning.
Brett Myers won the game for the Phils as he pitched a seven-inning four hitter against the Rockies, although giving up four runs on three home runs, and a walk, as he struck out six batters. His record is now 1-1 with a 5.54 ERA, thanks to the fact that he has given up eight earned runs on six home runs. Myers will need to cut down on the gopher balls to get his ERA lower. Ryan Madson followed Myers and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, striking out two. Brad Lidge then came in to pitched the ninth, also pitching a 1-2-3 inning, striking out a batter. Jorge De La Rosa took the lost for the Rockies, only able to go four and two-thirds innings, giving up five runs on six hits and two walks, while he struck out three. His record is now 0-1 with a 9.64 ERA. Ryan Speier followed him, pitching a third of an inning, giving up no runs on one hit. Jason Hammel then came in for two and two-third innings, as he gave up two runs on five hits and two walks, while he struck out a batter. Jason Grilli pitched a third of an inning, giving up just a walk as he struck out one. Huston Street then pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a run on three hits as he struck out a batter. Manuel Corpas then came in for a third of an inning, getting out the only man he would face.
The Phillies had fifteen hits in the game, with Shane Victorino and Pedro Feliz leading the attack with both man going three for five. Victorino had two singles and a double as he raised his average to .250, while Feliz had three singles, raising his average to .333. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez then followed with two hits each, with Utley’s two hits raising his batting average to .444. Jimmy Rollins, Jayson Werth and Chris Coste had the other three Phillies’ hits. Howard knocked in three of the Phils’ eight runs, Werth brought home two, and Ibanez, Utley and Feliz each knocked in a run. The Phillies’ batters also had five walks.
Carlos Ruiz has been placed on the fifteen-games disabled list because of his injured right oblique. While he’s out, Coste will be performing the catching duties as Lou Marson is called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to be the back-up catcher.
The Phillies (2-3) will this afternoon conclude their three games series with the Rockies (3-2). The game will be played at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. Game time is at 3:10 pm Eastern time (1:10 pm Mountain). The Phillies will send to the mound Chan Ho Park, who will be starting his first game in 2009. Last year he went 4-4 with a 3.40 ERA in 54 games, including five starts with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He has already pitched an inning in relief in 2009, with a record of 0-0 with an 0.00 ERA. He will be trying for his first win of the year while also attempting to pitch the rotation’s first quality start. The Rockies will send to the mound Aaron Cook, who pitched a two and one-third innings no-decision against the Diamonbacks on April 6, giving up six earned runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out two. His record is presently 0-0 with a rather high ERA of 23.14. Cook will be trying to improve on that bad start.
The Phillies hope to leave Denver with a series win and a .500 record in the standings, before they go on to Washington for a three games series with the Nationals in the Nation’s capitol.
After trailing the Braves for the third straight game, the Phillies’ eight-run rally in the seventh inning lead to their first win of the 2009 season, as they defeat the Atlanta Braves, 12-11, ending the three-game series on a high note.
The Phillies began the afternoon by receiving their world series ring. After the ring ceremony, Joe Blanton started the game for the Phils, and right from the start was in for a long day as he gave up a two-out two-run home run to Brian McCann, his second home run of the young season, knocking in Yunel Escobar, who had earlier reached second base with a double, giving the Braves an early 2-0 lead. The Phils tied the game up in their half of the second as Raul Ibanez hit a two-run home run, his first homer as a Phil, and the team’s first home run of the season, scoring Ryan Howard, who had earlier doubled. The Braves retook the lead in the top of the third as they torched Blanton for five runs. After loading the bases via a single to Omar Infante, a walk to Kelly Johnson and another single to Escobar, with nobody out, McCann made the score 3-2 Braves by knocking in Infante with an RBI single, while moving Johnson and Escobar up to third and second respectively, leaving the bases loaded. After Casey Kotchman strikes out for the inning’ first out, Jeff Francoeur made it 5-2 Atlanta with a two-run single to center, knocking in both Johnson and Escobar, while McCann would move safely to third on Shane Victorino’s throw to home plate. Matt Diaz followed with a two-run double, scoring both Francoeur and McCann, giving the Braves a 7-2 lead. The Phils would get one of the runs back in the bottom half of the third, as Victorino, who had started the inning off with a triple, scored on an Infante throwing error of a Chase Utley ground ball to third base, making it 7-3 Atlanta. The Braves increased their lead to 9-3 in the fifth as rookie Jordan Schafer hit his second home run of his young career, a two-run shot to right, scoring Diaz, who had gotten on base earlier with a walk. Both runs came off of J.A. Happ, pitching in relief of Blanton, thus ending with one swing of the bat both the bullpen’s hitless and scoreless streak. The Braves added to their lead in the seventh, making it 10-3 Braves, as Chad Durbin gives up a bases loaded walk to Infante, forcing in Kotchman, who had earlier doubled and had moved over to third on Greg Norton’s walk, while moving Schafer to third, who had also walked, and moving Norton over to second base. Clay Condrey then came into the game in place of Durbin and got out of the inning by striking out Johnson. Now trailing 10-3, the offense decided to come to life. Victorino started off the Phils’ half of the seventh by grounding out, 5-3, for the inning’s first out. Utley followed with a single to center. Howard was then hit by the pitch, putting runners on first and second, as Utley moved up to second. The next batter, Jayson Werth, is then walked by Peter Moylan, who was pitching in relief of Eric O’Flaherty, loading the bases with still only one man out. Ibanez followed Werth with a single, knocking in Utley, as he collected his third RBI of the afternoon, making the score 10-4 Atlanta, while sending Howard over to third base, and Werth to second, leaving the bases loaded. Pedro Feliz then singled in Howard, making it 10-5 Braves, while Werth and Ibanez both moved up a base, leaving the bases loaded with Phils. Matt Stairs, pinch hitting for Carlos Ruiz, is given a four pitch walk, forcing in Werth with the third Phils’ run in the inning, reducing the Braves lead to 10-6, as the bases remained loaded. The next batter, pinch hitter Chris Coste, batting for Condrey, also walks, bringing home Ibanez, as the Phils now trailed 10-7, while the bases remained loaded for Jimmy Rollins, who became the ninth batter of the inning. Rollins received a four-pitch free pass, the third straight walk to a Phil batter, and the fourth walk of the inning, forcing in Feliz, as the bases stay loaded, making the score 10-8 Braves. The next batter, Victorino, followed with a single, scoring Stairs, making the score now 10-9 Atlanta, moving Coste and Rollins over to third and second base, respectively, as the bases remained loaded. The eleventh batter of the inning, Utley, walks, the fifth Phil to walk in the inning, tying the ballgame up at 10 all, as Coste crosses the plate, while Rollins and Victorino both moved up a base. Howard comes up to the plate, and with the count 1-1, hit the ball on a bounce towards Braves’ first baseman, Kotchman. Kotchman, having only one play, threw the ball over to relief pitcher Jorge Campillo, the fourth Braves reliever to pitch in the inning, who tagged the bag in front of Howard for the second out of the inning, as Rollins scored the go ahead run, giving the Phils their first lead of 2009, 11-10. Victorino and Utley both moved up a base on the play. Werth ended the inning by flying out to right. The Phils sent thirteen men to the plate, as they scored eight runs in the inning on four hits, five walks and a hit batter. Ryan Madson took over in the top of the eighth, pitching a strong 1-2-3 inning, throwing only seven pitches. The Phils added an insurance run in their half of the eighth, as Eric Bruntlett, pinch hitting for Madson, hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Ibanez, who had earlier walked and had gone to third on Feliz’s double, with nobody out, making it a 12-10 Phillies’ lead. In the ninth, Brad Lidge took the mound. Although he gave up a one-out solo home run to Diaz, his first home run of the season, Lidge recorded his first save of the 2009 season, as he struck out pinch hitter Garret Anderson for the final out, for the moment staying perfect in save opportunities as a Phil.
Joe Blanton received a no-decision as he got pummeled by the Braves, giving up seven runs on nine hits and two walks, while striking out six in four innings of work. J.A. Happ pitched two innings, giving up two runs on one hit and a walk, while he struck out two Braves. Chad Durbin pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a run on one hit and three walks. Clay Condrey received the win as he pitched a third of an inning, striking out the one man he would face. His record for 2009 is 1-0 with an ERA of 0.00. Ryan Madson pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, as he held the lead. Brad Lidge recorded his first save of the season as he pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit, as he struck out one. Javier Vazquez also received a no-decision, as he pitched six innings for the Braves, giving up just three runs on five hits and four walks, as he struck out five batters. Eric O’Flaherty followed him, pitching only a third of an inning, as he gave up two runs on one hit. Peter Moylan pitched to four batters, getting none of them out, as he gave up four runs on two hits and two walks. Blaine Boyer took the lost as he faced only two batters, with both of them scoring, as he gave up two runs on no hits and two walks. Jorge Campillo blew the save, giving up a run on two hits and two walks, in two-thirds of an inning. Jeff Bennett pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit while striking out a batter.
The Phillies had eleven hits in the game, with Victorino, Utley, Ibanez and Feliz each getting two hits. Howard, Ruiz and Coste had the other three hits. Ibanez knocked in three runs, Utley brought home two, while Feliz, Stairs, Coste, Rollins, Victorino, Howard and Bruntlett each knocked in a run, with Bruntlett’s coming in on a sacrifice fly. The Phillies collected five extra-base hits in the game, three doubles (Howard, Utley and Feliz), a triple (Victorino) and a home run (Ibanez). After three games, Utley leads the team in hitting with a .364 batting average, followed by Ruiz with a pleasently surprising .333 average.
The Phils (1-2) are off today. Their next game will be on the road against the Colorado Rockies (2-1) in Denver, Colorado, at Coors Field. The game will start at 2:10 pm Mountain Time tomorrow afternoon. The Phillies will send to the mound their ace, Cole Hamels, who ended 2008 with a record of 14-10 in 33 starts with an ERA of 3.09 in the regular season. His record for this season is presently 0-0 with a -.– ERA. The Rockies will oppose him with Jason Marquis, who last season had a record of 11-9 for the Chicago Cubs, with an ERA of 4.53 in 29 games (28 of which were starts). His record for this season is also 0-0 with a -.– ERA. The Phillies will be trying to even their season record tomorrow.
Last December, the Phillies had traded catching prospect Jason Jaramillo to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Ronny Paulino, who they hoped would be able to challenge, if not win, the second catcher job from fan favorite Chris Coste. Sadly, for Paulino, his spring training average would show otherwise as he batted only .194 (6 for 31) in thirteen Grapefruit League games with only two doubles and a home run while striking out twelve times. Although Coste didn’t do any better with his at-bats, the Phillies have decided to go with the known quantity instead of the unknown and had put Paulino out as trade bait several days ago. Last night they got a nibble as the Giants had traded to them left-handed relief pitcher Jack Taschner for Paulino.
Although Taschner is having just as bad a spring pitching for the Giants in the Cactus League (6.23 ERA in eight and two-thirds inning), the Phils thinks that he is the man that they need for their bullpen right now. While pitching for the Giants last year, Taschner went 3-2 with a 4.88 ERA in fourty-eight innings as he appeared in 67 games. Career-wise, in four seasons in the big leagues, all with the Giants, Taschner has a career record of 8-4 with a 5.01 ERA in 140 innings as he pitched in 178 games, all in relief.
With the trade, the Phillies now have two left-handers coming out of the bullpen as they wait for J.C. Romero’s return from his soon to be served 50 games suspension. The trade may also have an influence on the battle for the final spot in the starting rotation, as its more than likely now that the left-hander J.A. Happ will either be declared the winner of the battle, over right-hander Chan Ho Park, or he will be sent down to the Lehigh Valley Triple-A team and will be the first pitcher to be called up if any of the members of the starting rotation is either injured or have a melt down. Only time will tell.
My thoughts on the trade? I think it’s a good strategic move on the Phillies’ part. The Phils have moved someone who they saw during spring training couldn’t cut it while getting in return a temporary, veteran, second left-handed arm to go along with their left-handed relief specialist Scott Eyre while they wait for J.C. Romero to come back from his enforced exile, thus preventing the kind of situations with Eyre like had just happened to him this past Thursday against the Yankees. Hopefully, Traschner will be good enough during that 50 games period that he makes it hard for the Phils to let him go when that happens. I would just love to see what the Phils will do if that happens. 🙂