It’s Saturday morning at the Complex but first a quick drive by for Breakfast on the way and then down Belcher to Old Coachman road to the Complex to see how the extended spring training guys are doing for the 10:00 am. start with the Blue Jays. Baseball Betsy and I try to check up on them a couple times each week. This morning some my favorites, second baseman Andrew Pullin, right fielder Dylan Cozens, catcher Dievy Grullon and center fielder Gustavo Martinez showed in an hour or so time while we were there why some day they will be playing in the major leagues.
Pullin was playing second against the Blue Jays top extended team on Ashburn Field. He flawlessly pulled off two double plays in turning the 6-4-3 and tagging a runner going to second and throwing to first to get another double play. As a 19 year old in his second year in the Phillies system, has made great progress at second after moving from the outfield.
Playing over on Roberts Field the left-handed hitting Cozens lined a double off a left-handed pitcher down the left field line and eventually moved around to score on a sacrifice fly. The 18 year old slugger always seems to do something special when we watch him on Saturday mornings. A couple of Satrudays ago he made that throw from right field on the fly to nab a runner attempting to score on a fly ball.
Also on Roberts Field Deivy Grullon showed why he will be a major league catcher someday. A Carlos Ruiz in body type, he threw from his knees to almost nail a runner who strayed too far from first. Though in his only at bat I saw, he grounded out to third. Grullon usually squared up the ball and hit it hard in other games I have seen him play this spring.
Smallish centerfielder, 19 year old Gustavo Martinez is always worth watching for his speed and his contact hitting. Earlier in the week it was reported that he took rehabbing New York Yankee pitcher Michael Pineda down the right field line for a double. In this morning’s action against the Blue Jays he beat out an infield single to deep short. Though we all thought he had second stolen he was called out by the umpire on the next play.
You never know who you might meet at an extended spring game. On Thursday I stopped briefly at the Complex to watch the action and struck up a conversation with young Phillies Dominican pitching prospect 19 year old Feliberto Sanchez. Needless to say his limited English was better than my non existent Spanish. Feliberto injured his knee and was watching from a small stool next to me in his red shirt/blue shorts workout gear. He offer me the empty stool next to his and I watched an inning or two with him. He made sure we had a good line of sight to watch the game as he told a Phillies pitcher to move out of the way for us. We had a good line of sight to the hitter and pitcher in the game until two Phillies pitching coaches came by and he asked me if I knew who they were because he implied he could not asked them to move. This morning Feliberto walked by and we gave each other a big hand shake.
Other than watching the two games that take place each extended spring date, we also watch the walking wounded on disabled list who are all around the Paul Owens Training Center. Pete Levin, Brody Colvin, Jiwan James, Chad Carman, Colin Kleven were just some of the rehabbers sitting around after treatment whom I recognized today. Several of the Latin players were wearing arm braces from what looked like TJ surgery. The buzz around the Complex was when will Roy Halladay make an appearance to rehab. He has not even had his surgery and the fans wanted to know.
The other odd events were seeing a former Phillies player now with the Blue Jays extended camp and another rehabbing. Catcher Matt Hitt was in the Phillies camp and now is playing for the Blue Jays extended spring training squad. Last Saturday when I went over to the Englebert Training Complex to see the game, there was former Phillie pitcher Michael Schwimer leaving after what appeared to be just finishing up treatment for his arm injury.
Extended spring training games end on June 5th just before the first year draft after which will bring a new group of prospects reporting to the Complex. Once they are signed they will join the guys here and get ready for the opening of the Williamsport season in the NY-Penn League on June 17th against the Pirates farmhands in State College Pa. Down here in Clearwater we will get to see the Gulf Coast League lid lifter at high noon on Friday June 21 against the Blue Jays at the Complex. Baseball Betsy and I just cannot wait!