Spring training is starting to wind down for the Phillies in Clearwater. The major league team looks to struggle again this season. The only excitement has been when minor league prospects Severino Gonzalez and Aaron Nola started for the Phillies and pitched well. Zach Eflin get a chance to do the same today in Bradenton against the Pirates. Gonzalez will start the season at AAA and Nola and Eflin will start at AA.
Over at the minor league complex on Sunday intrasquad games were taking place. On Ashburn Field Carlos Alonso continues to play outstanding baseball and lined doubles down both lines. Art Charles hit a long triple to the gap in right center. Both of them are ticketed for the Reading roster. Aaron Altherr continues to square up pitches and had a line drive single. Something tells me he is going to have a breakout season at AA and then move up to AAA by mid season. David Buchanan tuning up for the Phillies rotation went six effective innings in a start there.
Over on Schmidt Field the A ball teams played each other. Lots of good pitching took place but few strikeouts. Colin Kleven went four innings of shutout baseball. Young left-hander Elniery Garcia pitched four innings as well and gave up two runs. He was able to control the running game by picking off two runners at first and getting a third runner leaning at first. That runner was caught in a run down and was thrown out at second base. Garcia’s move to first confused both the runners and the first base coach each inning. Jesen Therrien and Calvin Rayburn look ready to take over a closer roles as they pitched well for two innings each late in the game.
At the plate Zach Green looked ready to have a breakout season as he hit the ball hard. Outfielders Herlis Rodriquez had a couple of hits and Samuel Hiciano doubled in the game.
This is the time that player releases start to take place as the rosters get paired down. Reports were circulating yesterday that pitchers Percy Garner, Jordan Guth and Kyle Bogese along with first baseman Wilmer Oberto were released. The one thing that was common with the three pitchers is that they lacked control. They did not throw enough strikes when I watched them.
One more week to go. The Phillies head north on Thursday and the minor league teams break camp on Saturday. Lehigh Valley, Reading and Lakewood head north and the Threshers and the extended spring training team stay here.
Baseball Betsy and I decided to renew our Threshers season tickets and look forward meeting the players on Wednesday night April 8th at a ‘Meet the Team” introduction event. The Threshers open the Florida State League season at home the next night against the Dunedin Blue Jays.