How do you know spring training is nearly over? Don, our favorite host of the Carpenter Complex, starts handing out the 2014 Extended Spring Training Schedule. SEE HERE. The Phillies minor leaguers have only games remaining with the Pirates on Thursday and the Blue Jays on Friday before breaking camp on Saturday .
I will never forget last year’s final camp day. It was the ten o’clock Saturday morning intrasquad games. Baseball Betsy and I were up bright and early as the sun was rising up over Schmidt Field from the east to watch Seth Rosin pitch his final Florida game before heading north with the Reading team. Seems like every major league team in baseball has wanted Seth recently. He was picked up by the Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade with from the Giants. Then he was not protected by the Phillies and claimed in the Rule Five draft in December by the Mets and on the same day traded to the Dodgers. He was on the 25 man Dodgers opening day roster before being put on waivers and just claim by the Rangers. Who knows where were Seth will wind up next?
Talking about players no longer in the Phillies organization, Derrick Mitchell, our favorite five tool outfielder the Phillies never gave a chance to play in the major league, is turning heads in the Atlanta Braves camp. In four games with the Braves in spring training he has gone two for four and driven in five runs. In Wednesday’s game he drove in three runs with a bases clearing triple and a fourth run on an infield out. He also made a great catch in right field in the Braves win over the Marlins. He is expected to open the season at AAA with the Gwinnett Braves in the International League.
For the Phillies minor league squads Wednesday was a camp day. It was AAA vs. AA on Roberts Field and high A vs. low A on Schmidt Field again. I first watch a couple of innings of the AAA game. There, Cody Asche was playing third for AA and Maikel Franco was at third for AAA getting work in as Cesar Hernandez was striking out three times and making an error at third in the Phillies-Tigers game at Brighthouse.
Still can not figure out why Carlos Alonso is not at second base for the AA team. But he was in left field for the AA team while Albert Cartwright was at second base. The AA team had an outfield of Alonso in left, Zach Collier in center and Kelly Dugan in right. Anthony Hewitt another outfielder was the AA team’s DH. I would expect Cameron Perkins to fit into the AA team outfield mix when they go to Reading when camp breaks on Saturday. Two other AA outfielders, Aaron Altherr and Jiwan James, remain on the disabled list and will no doubt start the season at some point in extended spring training.
Sebastian Valle was catching for the AA team. Looks like Valle will share the catching duties with often injured Tommy Joseph. Logan Moore will be next on the depth chart starting the season again at Clearwater. Cameron Rupp and Koyie Hill will share the AAA duties behind the plate.
Getting back to my favorite team over on Schmidt Field, the low A team which will become the Lakewood BlueClaws, they were battling the high A team. The low A team is an extra base hitting machine in just about every game I have seen them play in camp. Wednesday it was doubles time. Dylan Cozens, Zach Green and Sam Hiciano each drove the ball over the heads of the outfielders for two base hits. Larry Greene kept his singles hitting up by grounding an RBI single to left. In Tuesday Larry had a three singles game.
On the mound high A starter Colin Kleven was hit hard. Colin is coming back from an injury that robbed him of most of last season with the Clearwater Threshers and is only now coming back into form. For the low A team Tyler Viza looked sharp in the innings I saw him work and looks to be one of the top pitchers for Lakewood this season. Our good friend Feliberto Sanchez pitched two more scoreless innings extending his spring camp game scoreless streak to 11 innings. He is expected to open the season in extended spring training. Frank Rivas who picked up 10 saves while averaging a strike out an inning last season for the VSL Phillies looked impressive as he came on in the ninth to pick up a strike out in a clean inning of work.
When camp breaks after the intrasquad game which finishes up about noon on Saturday, three of the five teams in camp will head north with Group 3, the Clearwater Threshers, and Group 5, the extended spring team remaining behind. We, Threshers season ticket holders, get to meet the team on Wednesday at Brighthouse and the extended spring training guys get back to work next Thursday at the Carpenter Complex. They will be joined by all the rehabbing players who will start the 2014 season on the disabled lists of the various teams in the organization.