Yesterday was a camp day for the Phillies minor league squads. That means afternoon intra-squad games. These games give Player Development Director, Joe Jordan and his assistant Steve Noworyta a good look from the observation deck at the Carpenter Complex at all the guys in camp before final decisions are made when camp breaks a week from Saturday.
It’s also time to take stock of any injuries. When we arrive at the Complex, Baseball Besty made small talk with J.P. Crawford who was in civilian clothes sitting on top of the waist- high wall in front of Ashburn Field watching the action. We later learned he is out 4-6 weeks with a left oblique injury. Kelly Dugan still has not played this spring and we last saw him with a walking boot on his right foot. Pitcher Feliberto Sanchez who is coming back from Thanksgiving knee surgery has just start fielding balls rolled to him. He has begun to pitch live batting practice off the mound but still needs pitchers fielding practice before cleared for game action.
Action on the field was interesting. I continue to be impressed with Zach Eflin who was one of the starting pitchers. He is a strike throwing, ground ball pitcher. I have yet to see him pitch against a visiting team. But in his live batting practice and yesterday in the intra squad game he looked sharp.
Several Phillies came over from the major league camp. Jeff Francoeur, Grady Sizemore and Cesar Hernandez batted every inning under the watchful eye of Charlie Manuel. Hernandez made some outstanding plays at shortstop and it looks he has the inside track to make the Phillies opening day lineup as the utility infielder.
A big play came with Roman Quinn on third. Quinn singled and stole second and third. Then on a shallow fly ball to center, Quinn tagged up but was out at the plate on a throw on the fly by Carlos Tocci to catcher Gabe Lino.
Outfielder Dylan Cozens was barreling the ball hard. He hit a line drive to left that Cameron Perkins froze on only to see the ball sailed over his head for a double. Next time up Cozens lashed a single to right. He looks ready for a big season.
Outfielder Aaron Altherr was squaring up the pitches as well. He drove a long shot over the head of Carlos Tocci that hit the base of the batter’s eye in center for extra bases. Altherr in a later at bat drove a single up the middle.
Catcher Chace Numata has been hitting the ball hard in camp. Earlier in the week he hit a three run homer to right on Roberts Field. Yesterday he hit one into the gap in right center on Schmidt Field for a triple.
Another guy who has had a strong camp is middle infielder Drew Stankiewicz. He struggled last season with the bat with Lakewood after hitting over .300 with Williamsport. With the injury to J.P. Crawford he might have a roster spot opening wanting for him at the A ball level.
One of my favorite relievers Edubray Ramos looked sharp picking up a couple of strike outs in his relief appearance. Ramos has a closer mentality.
The least exciting drill of the camp day is always watching starting pitchers trying to sacrifice bunt. Every time a man was on first with less than tow outs Joely Rodriquez and Tom Windle were sent to the plate to try to bunt. I did seen Rodriquez after a number of failures get down a sac. bunt.
So now the Phillies Front Office is working on player assignments for the three teams that will head north when camp breaks in ten days and the Clearwater Threshers and the extended spring training teams who will play their seasons here.
Phillies minor league pitchers heading to Lehigh Valley, Reading and Lakewood will soon be trading in their shorts and T-shirts for jackets and long sleeves when they head north in ten days.