This past Friday, to fill in the hole left by backup shortstop Freddy Galvis being placed on the 15-Day Disabled List as he recovers from MRSA, the Phils made a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, receiving infielder Jayson Nix in exchange for cash. Jayson joined the team before yesterday’s opening day game with the Texas Rangers.
Nix, a six year veteran infielder, who had played for the Rockies, the White Sox, the Indians, the Blue Jays and the Yankees since 2008, has appeared in 425 games, with a batting average of .218 (267 for 1222), as he has hit 55 doubles, 2 triples and 37 home runs, and knocked in 126 RBIs, while scoring 141 times. He has also walked 105 times. Until Galvis has recovered from MRSA, he will act as the team’s backup shortstop.
Welcome to the team Jayson. Hope you’ll fill Freddy’s shoes admirably while he’s on the disabled list.
The Phils officially started spring training on Thursday, February 13, as pitchers and catchers arrived at Clearwater, followed this week by the rest of the squad, although a large number of players had been at Clearwater during the off-season, getting ready for the 2014 season, especially first baseman Ryan Howard, who has been trying to get back into playing shape.
On Friday, February 14, former ballplayer and ex-Phil manager Jim Fregosi passed away at age 71 from multiple strokes. Fregosi, who broke into major league baseball as a shortstop in September 1961, had an 18-year career playing for the Los Angeles/California Angels, the New York Mets, the Texas Ranger and the Pittsburgh Pirates. A six-time All-Star and a gold glove winner (1967), he would play in 1902 games, having a .265 career batting average (1726 for 6523) as he hit 264 2Bs, 78 3Bs and 151 HRs, knocking in 706 RBIs, while scoring 844 times. He would also walk 715 times. After retiring from baseball during the 1978 season, he would be hired as the manager of the team that he had begun his playing career, the Angels, starting a career that would end in 2000, during which he would be the manager of the Angels (1978-1981), the Chicago White Sox (1986-1988), the Philadelphia Phillies (1991-1996) and the Toronto Blue Jays (1999-2000), compiling a managerial record of 1028-1094 .484, as he managed a total of 2122 games. He would lead the Angels into the playoffs in 1979 as they won the American League West, but losing the AL Championship Series, 3-1, to the Orioles, and he would lead the Phils in 1993 to the World Series, before losing the series, 4-2, to the Blue Jays.
On the 16, the Phils finalized their one-year deal with A.J. Burnett, in which they would give the veteran pitcher $15 million dollars plus a $1 million buyout on a mutual option for 2015. Burnett also has a player option for $7.5 million if he exercises his option. With the buyout options and other incentives, Burnett could end up receiving a two-year contract worth $ 33.5 million. He also has a partial no-trade clause, in which he would have to sign off on any possible trade involving nine other teams. In order to make room for Burnett on their roster, the Phils placed left-handed reliever Joe Savery on waviers, awaiting reassignment. On Monday the 17, the A’s picked Savery off of waivers. Selected by the Phils in the first round of the draft back in 2007, Savery has pitched for the Phils for parts of three seasons (2011-2013), appearing in 41 games, with a 3-2 record and a 3.15 ERA, as he pitched in 47.2 innings, giving up 42 hits and 28 runs, 22 of which were earned, as he struck out 32 batters, while walking 19.
As spring training continues, former Phil Roy Holladay has come to camp as a special pitching instructor, offering advice to the team’s younger players. Hopefully they’ll listen to the future Hall of Famer.
First. yesterday, former Phil Roy Oswalt announced that he was officially retiring, as he signed a one-day contract with the Astros so that he could officially retire as an Astros. Oswalt, who is an fourteen-year veteran, ten of which was spent as an Astros, was a member of the Phils for part of the 2010 season and part of the 2011 season, during which he complied a winning record of 16-11. Oswalt would also play for the Rangers and the Rockies. Oswalt, during his career, would be the NL leader for ERA in 2006 with a 2.98 ERA, wins in 2004 with 20, games started with 35 games in both 2004 and 2005 and in WHIP in 2010 with a 1.03 WHIP. He was also a member of the 2005 Astros team that would win the NL pennant before losing to the White Sox in that year’s World Series, being swept by Chicago, 4-0. Overall, Oswalt had a career record of 163-102 with a 3.36 ERA as he pitched in 365 games, 341 of which were starts, as he completed 20 games, including 8 shutouts. He would pitch in 2245.1 innings, giving up 2199 hits and 897 runs, 838 of which were earned, as he struck out 1852 batters, while walking only 520. I wish you luck in your retirement, Roy.
Then, the Phils announced that Comcast plans to hire both Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs to replace Chris Wheeler and Garry Matthews inside the TV broadcast booth, starting this season during Spring Training. Congratulations, guys. Hope you both do well in the broadcast booth.
Lastly, the Phils announced that they have just signed starter A.J. Burnett, who they have been pursuing during the off-season, to a one-year contract worth $16 million dollars. Burnett, who had pitched for the Pirates last year and in 2012, is coming off a 10-11 season, with a 3.30 ERA, as he pitched in 30 games, all starts, with a complete game, as he threw in 191 innings, giving up 165 hits and 79 runs, 70 of which were earned, as he struck out 209 batters, while walking only 67. Burnett, who has also pitched for the Marlins, the Blue Jays and the Yankees, being a member of the 2009 World Championship team, has a 147-132 record with a 3.99 ERA, as he appeared in 375 games, starting 370 of them, as he threw 23 complete games, 10 of which were shutouts. He threw a total of 2353.2 innings, giving up 2140 hits and 1142 runs, 1043 of which were earned, as he struck out 2180 batters, while walking only 955. Welcome to the team, A.J.
Burnett’ll more than likely be the number three man in the starting rotation, after Cole Hamels starts pitching after the start of the season, as the Phils announced that Cole will miss opening day as he has developed tendinitis in his left bicep, which will keep him from throwing the ball for the next eight to ten days, and slow down his participation in spring training, although Cole has said that he should be ready to pitch at some point in April. I’m just hoping that it is only a minor setback, as the Phils will need Cole to back up Cliff Lee, if they expect to get anywhere this season.
Tonight’s Phils’ game have been postponed because of tonight’s inclement weather. It will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader tomorrow afternoon, with the day game to start at 3:05 pm EDT and the night game to begin at 8:15 pm EDT.
The Phils break up a 0-0 tie in the bottom of the fifth as, with a runner on second, and with two men out, Ben Revere hits an RBI single, knocking in Carlos Ruiz, who had earlier reached base on an infield single, then moved up to second base on Kyle Kendrick’s sacrifice bunt, 2-4, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead. The Nats tied the game up at 1-1 in the top of the fifth as, with a runner on third, and with one man out, Ryan Zimmerman hits a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Bryce Harper, who had just tripled. The Phils retook the lead in the bottom of the seventh as, with a runner on third, and with one man out, pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen hits an RBI double, knocking in pinch-runner John McDonald, who was pinch running for Darin Ruf, who had started the inning off with a double, before moving up to third base on Ruiz’s sacrifice bunt, 2-4, giving the Phils a 2-1 lead. The Phils then added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth as, with a man on third, and with one man out, Chase Utley, who had started the inning off with a double, then moved up to third base on Dom Brown’s fly out to right, would score on a fielder’s choice grounder hit by Michael Young, as he beat the wide throw to the plate by second baseman Anthony Rendon, giving the Phils a 3-1 lead. That would end up being the final score as Jonathan Papelbon collected his twentieth save of the year by pitching a 1-2-3 ninth.
Kyle Kendrick (8-6, 3.75) got the win as he pitched seven strong innings, giving a run on five hits, a walk and two wild pitches, striking out two. Antonio Bastardo received his fourteenth hold of the season as he threw a 1-2-3 inning, striking out a batter. Jonathan Papelbon collected his twentieth save of the season as he also threw a 1-2-3 inning, striking out a batter. Jordan Zimmermann (12-4, 2.58) took the lost as he went six and a third innings, giving up two runs on eight hits, as he struck out six. Ian Krol pitched an inning, giving up a run on a hit. Drew Storen pitched two-thirds of an inning, getting out both men whom he would face, striking out one.
The Phils had nine hits in the game, with Ben Revere (Singles, RBI) and Dom Brown (Single, Double) both leading the team with two hits each. Chase Utley (Double), Michael Young (Double, RBI), Darin Ruf (Double), Carlos Ruiz (Single), and pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen (Double, RBI), had the other five Phils’ hits. The Phils also had two sacrifice bunts (Kyle Kendrick, Ruiz) in the game.
The Phils (46-47, 3rd NL East) will begin a three-game series with the White Sox (36-53, 5th AL Central), their final Interleague Series, and their final series before the All-Star break. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and is to start at 7:05 pm EDT, weather permitting. The Phils will send to the mound Jonathan Pettibone (5-3, 3.84), who is coming off a win against the Braves on July 7, as he went five and a third innings, giving up a run on five hits and a walk, while striking out six, in the Phils’ 7-3 win. He will be trying to get the Phils back at .500. The White Sox will counter with John Dinks (2-6, 4.31), who is coming off a lost to the Rays on July 7, as he went seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out five, in the ChiSox’s 3-1 lost. He will be trying to improve his record. The Phils will be trying to get back to .500.
The Phils start the series tonight with a night game. The game will be played at Progressive Field and will begin at 7:05 pm EDT. The Phils will send to the mound Roy Halladay (2-2, 5.08) who is coming off a no-decision against the Pirates on April 24, as he went six innings, giving up a run on a hit and two walks, while striking out eight, in the Phils’ 5-3 lost. Halladay will be looking for his fourth straight quality start and his third straight win, after having been crushed for 13 runs in his first two starts of 2013. The Indians will send to the mound Zach McAllister (1-3, 3.52), who is coming off a lost against the White Sox on April 24, as he went five and two-thirds innings, giving up three runs on five hits and five walks, while striking out four, in the Indians’ 3-2 lost. He will be trying to cool off the presently red-hot Phils’ offense. The Phils will be out to increase their present winning streak to four games, while trying to win the opener in their second series against an American League team.
The Phils, two days after the return of Carlos Ruiz, who on Sunday went one for four (.250) with a double, actually reaching base twice as he was safe at first on a fielding error, have just activated Delmon Young, who have just finished his rehabbing assignment with the Iron Pigs, after having hit .367 (11 for 30) with two doubles and two RBIs in seven starts with both Class A Clearwater and the Iron Pigs. The Phils, to make room on their roster for D. Young, have designated for assignment outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, who, in 13 games, have batted just .077 (1 for 13), with a walk and two runs scored.
The Phils will send to the mound Joe Blanton (0-1, 13.50) who will be making his first start of the 2012 season. Blanton, who in an injury plagued 2011 complied a record of 1-2 with an ERA of 5.01 and a WHIP of 1.48, as he appeared in just eleven games, eight of which were for starts, pitching in 41.1 innings, striking out 35 batters, while walking 9, is coming off a lost in relief against the Pirates this past Saturday, April 7, as he went two-thirds of an inning, giving up a run on two-hits, in the Phils’ 2-1 ninth-inning lost. Blanton will be out to show that he had fully recovered from his 2011 arm injuries. The Marlins will counter with Mark Buehrle (0-1, 3.00), who had spent 2011 pitching for the White Sox, compling a record of 13-9 with a 3.59 ERA and a WHIP of 1.30, as he started 31 games, pitching in 205.1 innings, striking out 109 batters, while walking 45, as he is coming off a lost against the Reds in his first start as a National Leaguer on April 5, as he went six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks, while he struck out six, in the Marlins’ 4-0 lost. He will be trying to do better in his second National League start.
The Phils, whose bats had decided to come out last night with a fourteen-hit attack, which included three extra-base hits (2B (2), HR (1)), as they gave their ace Roy Halladay some much needed runs support as they scored seven runs, five of which were in one inning, as Halladay threw another good performance on the mound, as he gave up only one run while scattering five Marlins’ hits, will be trying to end their three-game series with the Marlins on a high note. Blanton will be out to show that his performances during spring training were but a prelude to a good 2012 season, while he hopes that the Phils’ offense will continue to roll. The Phils will be trying to even up their regular season record with a win tonight, before they start a three-game weekend series with the Mets.
Earlier today, the Phils have announced that they had signed outfielder Juan Pierre to a minor league contract and have invited him to Spring Training.
Pierre, who was playing left field for the Chicago White Sox in 2011, would appear in 158 games for the pale socks last season, batting .279 (178-639), getting 17 doubles, four triples and two home runs, knocking in 50 RBIs, while scoring 80. He would also steal 27 bases, while being caught only 17 times. During a 12-years career, during which he would also play for the Rockies, the Florida Marlins, the Cubs and the Dodgers, he would compile a career .296 batting average (2020-6823), playing in 1751 games, as he got 234 doubles, 86 triples and 16 home runs, scoring 980 times, while knocking in 484 RBIs. He would also have 554 stolen bases, while being caught just 190 times.
Pierre will be trying to become the team’s fifth outfielder, who will probably be used mainly as a late-inning baserunning threat, which should put some pressure on the defense late in games, as well as a pinch hitter. Pierre is suppose to have good bat control and be able to bunt. He was also a good lead-off hitter while he was with the White Sox, which should come in handy if Jimmy Rollins gets injured at some point during the season.
Welcome to the Phils, Pierre. Wish you luck making the team during spring training.
The Phils have just announced that they have traded utility infielder Wilson Valdez to the Reds for left-handed relief pitcher Jeremy Horst.
Wilson Valdez, who had spent two seasons (2010-11) with the Phils, playing second base, shortstop and third base, as well as pitch a shutout inning in an extra-innings game (19), getting the win, played in 210 games for the Phils, batting .254 (154 for 606) with a .300 on-base percentage, as he hit 30 doubles, 7 triples and 5 HRs, while knocking in 65 RBIs. During last season, he batted .249 (68 for 273) as he appeared in 99 games, hitting 14 doubles, 4 triples and a home run, while knocking in 30 RBIs, while scoring 39 runs. Valdez, a career .243 hitter, has also played for the White Sox, the Mariners, the Padres, the Dodgers and the Mets from 2004-05, 2007-09, before joining the Phils.
Jeremy Horst, who the Phils are getting in return, is a 2007 Reds draft pitch, who made his major league debut last season. Coming out of the bullpen, he pitched in 12 games, compiling a record of 0-0 with a 2.93 ERA, as he pitched in 15.1 innings, giving up six runs, five of which were earned, as he gave up 18 hits. He also struck out nine players, while walking only six. He will come to spring training as a non-roster invitee. Horst, who is a left-hander, will likely be trying to become the late-innings left-handed specialist the Phils want to compliment Antonio Bastardo.
With the move, it is most likely that former Rule 5 pick, Michael Martinez, will be taking Valdez’s place as the Phils’ utility infielder. The less I’ll say about that, the better I’ll feel. Prove us all wrong, Mini-Mart!!!
Sorry to see you go, Wilson, and welcome to the club, Jeremy.
Jim Thome, who had played first base for the Phils from 2003-2005, before being traded to the White Sox after the 2005 season, allowing Ryan Howard to become the everyday first baseman, will return to the Phils as he signed a one-year contract worth $1.25 million dollars, to become mainly the left-handed bat off the bench, although expected to play a few games at first base early in the 2012 season as Howard recovers from his Achilles tendon injury, pending a physical.
During his three seasons with the Phils, ‘Gentleman Jim’ Thome help to make the Phils a contender as he had 333 hits, including 96 home runs, 65 doubles and 4 triples, while knocking in 266 runs while scoring 234. He also walked 260 times. Last season, as he played for both the Twins and the Indians, he hit a combined .256 batting average, with 71 hits, including 15 home runs and 16 doubles, as he knocked in 50 runs, while scoring 32 runs. Breaking into the majors with the Indians in 1991, Thome has a career total of 2287 hits, which includes 604 home runs, 444 doubles and 26 triples, knocking in1674 RBIs, for a career batting average of .277.
Welcome back, Jim. Hopefully you’re the left-handed bench bat that the team presently need once Howard comes back from his injury.