We got to the Carpenter Complex in time to watch Chad Billingsley coming back from two elbow surgeries to make his 2015 debut on the mound. He went an inning with a strikeout but gave up two line drive hits including a double. His final out took a great play by Carlos Alonso at second to snare a hard hit bouncer that took a bad hop. Looks like we will see Billingsley in extended spring training for most of April.
Maikel Franco was back home in the minor league camp Saturday afternoon and it did not take long for him to hit a long ball. Against the Yankee farmhands he hit one over the left field fence at Ashburn Field.
Not to be out done Brian Pointer lined a pitch over the right field fence as well. Both Franco and Pointer played well into the new year. Franco played for his home Dominican Republic where he homered once in five games of the Caribbean Series. Pointer homered for Perth winners of the Australian Baseball Championship.
Zach Green continues to hit the ball hard. In yesterday’s AA game against the Yankees he hit one that the centerfielder caught over his shoulder as the ran into the batter’s eye in dead centerfield on Schmidt Field. Green has been one of the most impressive players in camp in the first week of games.
Right-handed pitcher Feliberto Sanchez is making a strong recovery from left knee surgery back over the Thanksgiving holiday. He is throwing 0ff the mound for the first time and is only a few weeks behind the other pitchers in camp. Sanchez pitched a five inning no-norun game for Williamsport last season.
Zach Elfin looked sharp yesterday in his start. He pitched only two innings because the game had a half hour delay as the plate umpire was injured with J.P. Crawford at bat. The plate umpire finished the inning but the base umpire had to finish the game. A Phillies coach took over on the bases.
We have been following the two Phillies minor league prospects who MLB.com are projecting to have breakout seasons. Earlier we did a blog about outfield Aaron Brown. On Friday we focused on 20-year old Elniery Garcia who pitched two innings against the Blue Jays. He put on quite a fielding pitching show in his second inning of pitching to get out of a jam.
With runners on first and second and none out, it took Garcia only two more pitches to get out of the inning. He fielded a ball hit to the second base side of mound and threw to third where Mitch Walding put the tag on the incoming runner. For video See Here.
Then on the next pitch he threw his sinker and induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Garcia’s fielding was on a major league level. See Here. To pitch in the major league requires the ability to field your position. Garcia proved he can field and pitch in clutch situations Friday against the Blue Jays.