The extended spring training players are ready to move on. They still don’t know where they will be assigned but when you talk to them you get a strong feeling that they want the games to start for real. Most of these guys have been here since the first week of March and are ready for the game to count on the back of their baseball cards and for us in Baseball Reference.
I saw some of the best hitting of the season from the Phillies extended spring training players Saturday morning at the Blue Jays minor league complex in Dunedin. Good pitching and and a lot of offense took place in the 6-3 Phillies win over the Jays.
Luis Encarnacion and Venn Biter looked ready to open the season. Luis dropped the barrel head on a pitch for a long three run homer to left and Venn Biter hit a solo shot out to right. Base hits were dropping in too as as Jose Pujols squared up a couple pitches to left for base hits. Rehabbing Kelly Dugan drove a couple of singles up the middle and Jan Hernandez coming off an injury made his first appearance in weeks with a base hit. Carlos Duran knocked a double off the base of the left field wall.
The highlight of the morning was the five inning work of rehabbing pitcher Matt Imhof who was mixing a 76 mph curve ball to get two strikeout to go with a 90 mph fast for a fly out to left in the first inning. Imhof would strike out six in his five inning start.
Another interesting part of the day was in the afternoon when I returned home and we received a call from one of our player friends needing help for another player. He needed a car ride for a personal matter for his friend. Baseball Betsy and I are always ready to help the boys if we can.
Our two friends came back to the House to watch the first several inning of the Phillies- Giants game on MLB-TV. They seem fascinated by the site of Citizens Bank Park on our TV screen and were concerned with struggles of Severino Gonzalez on the mound. They were especially interested in watching fellow countryman, Maikel Franco.
One of the boys asked me about the North American draft taking place beginning on Monday night. He asked about how many more players will be added to the Phillies rosters? He knows that there are only so many jobs to go around and that the Complex will be humming with new players coming and going in the next week.
All of the players in extended spring training are ready to start their seasons. The way they hit and pitched showed on Saturday morning they were ready to get started for real. Extended spring training camp breaks the end of this week. The guys will be headed either to Williamsport to start the New York-Penn League season on Friday, June 19th or remain at the Complex to play in the Gulf Coast League starting Monday, the 22nd.