The Hot Stove League is coming to an end and spring training is about to begin. A week from now pitchers and catchers will be throwing from the seven mounds bullpen at the Carpenter Complex. The only problem is that it is all but impossible to see them throw from there. Then, there is always the exciting pitchers fielding and hitting practices. And don’t forget catchers batting practice when Cameron Rupp usually puts on a show hitting balls over the left field fence of Schmidt Field field. But the real stories that will be taking shape are now being chronicled by the excellent work of Jim Salisbury at csnsports.com.
However, on Tuesday afternoon on the MLB’s Inside Pitch Cody Ashe was the featured player interviewed by hosts Casey Stern and Jim Bowden. Cody explained his move to left field which is being designed to give him more versatility and at bats. He really has never played the outfield before except for five innings in instructs one year and shagging fly balls in batting practice.. He said he is working on outfield foot work with the coaches in his first four or five days he has been at the Complex. He looks to Alex Gordon of the Royals as a model who started out as a third baseman. Gordon is now a gold glove left fielder.
Asche is also working to become a better hitter. He wants to improve his OBP by making more contact and cut down on strike outs. He wants to hit the ball more on the line, hit better with two strikes and stay within himself.
Ken Giles had an outstanding rookie season last year of the pen. He dominated the month of April at Reading, the month of May at Lehigh Valley and MLB the rest of the season. Shockingly, Jim Salisbury is reporting even if Jonathan Papelbon is moved, Giles may not be the Phillies closer. See Here. As Richie Ashburn often said to Harry Kalas back in the day “Hard to Believe” Harry. We can only guess that the Phillies Front Office means what they said that they really don’t want to win this season!
If Giles will not close this season it also appears that Maikel Franco will likely start the season at AAA Lehigh Valley. Again Jim Salisbury provides the details. See Here. I have posted in previous blogs that I would move Asche to left, put Franco at third and platoon Howard and Ruf at first. But as usual General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. refuses to listen to me yet again. It looks like to me that Ruf and Sizemore will platoon in left. Cody will start the first six weeks or so of the season at third then be replaced by Franco so they can delay his free agency until 2021. Howard will be everyday at first.
Phillies minor league farm director Joe Jordan just finished up an interview with Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin on Sirrius XM radio MLB’s Power Alley. He said they hope to “turn up the clock” on him so he can get off to better start than in previous seasons. He is a good player on both sides of the ball. The Phillies hope that he can continue his strong play from winter ball and gets off to a strong start. He will be an important part of the Phillies lineup for a long time.