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A Prospect Not: Phillies Trade Matt Rizzotti to Minnesota Twins

Posted by Frank Klose

Matt_Rizzotti
Photo courtesy Mike McCann's Field of Fotos

Well, for a while it seemed as if he was a prospect.   The Phillies traded minor-league-slugging Matt Rizzotti to the Minnesota Twins for "cash considerations" a.k.a. nothing.

The future seemed promising for Rizzotti.  As early as this winter, Bleacher Report articles advocated Rizzotti replacing the injured Ryan Howard.  Okay, so it's Bleacher Report.   But some people, including Rizzotti himself wondered just where he would play this spring.  In a piece by the Allentown Morning Call, Rizzotti voiced hope for a job at Triple A Lehigh Valley:

"From a player's standpoint, not from a front-office standpoint, I feel like I've done my part, that I've done what I've had to do [to earn a Triple-A spot]. "I've been consistent the past two years; I think I proved that one year wasn't just a fluke, that I'm not a one-year wonder. I backed up [2010]; the average went down a little bit, but that's to be expected … you can't keep at that level all the time."

A La Salle University grad and employee, I took particular notice of Rizzotti as he attended Manhattan College, one of the universities run by the Brothers of the Christian Schools.


Luna's walk-off single gives Phillies win over Rays

Posted by Kevin Durso

Cole_Hamels_Smile

After several spring starts, we finally saw what may be a tailor-made game. With Cole Hamels on the mound and as close as you can get to the Opening Day lineup, the Phillies pulled out a victory late.

Hamels started the day with three perfect innings before allowing a solo home run to Evan Longoria.

Hamels would allow two baserunners to lead off the sixth, but struck out the next two hitters before giving way to Chad Qualls entered to strike out Carlos Pena to end the inning.

Brian Schneider tied the game with a solo shot in the fifth.

Hamels finished the day with 5 2/3 innings of three-hit ball allowing one run with two walks and seven strikeouts.

Joe Savery followed with two scoreless innings, and Jonathan Papelbon pitched a scoreless ninth.

The Phillies loaded the bases with one out for Hector Luna. He continued to make his case for the Opening Day roster by hitting a walk-off single, giving the Phillies a 2-1 win.

The Phillies are back in action tomorrow against the Yankees.

Kevin Durso is a contributor to Philliedelphia. You can follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.


Phillies Add Juan Pierre to 40-Man Roster; Scott Podsednik Still a Candidate

Posted by Frank Klose

Juan_Pierre

Juan Pierre has made the Phillies.  Todd Zolecki reports that Juan Pierre has been added to the 40-man roster, as mandated by his contract.

As for Scott Podsednik, who has been better in pretty much every single offensive category?  He is still a candidate for the team, the Phillies say.

Scott_Podsednik

The only way I can see that happening if the Phillies are content with Ty Wigginton serving as the only infield backup.  If Freddy Galvis is the starting second baseman, he could slide over to short in an unexpected absence of Jimmy Rollins.

Zolecki tweeted that Podsednik could still make the team, though Luis Montañez has been ruled out.


Thursday's Phillies Roster Predictions

Well, we're getting down to the very end of spring training. The Phillies played today, and they hit well. The problem? They didn't pitch so good. They lost 11-7. Vance Worley had an ugly outing. Raul Valdes and David Herndon both threw two shutout innings though, helping their chances. Hector Luna homered and had three hits. Lou Montanez had a pair of hits and a double. Pence, Ruiz, and Orr doubled from the big club, and Miguel Abreu did too. The box score is here.

All of this has people talking about Hector Luna making the team. Hey, don't rule it out. At the same time, don't expect Joe Thurston to make the team out of camp. I know they signed Thurston today, but he's not going to get the time to make it now. In fact, I think this team's almost set.

I think there's essentially three battles left, for four spots. There's the fifth outfielder and the utility spot left on the bench, and a battle for the last two bullpen slots. That's it. In each of these, there's a favorite. In fact, I think, barring a move (which may still happen), they're close to set.

Here's my roster:

  • Line-up: Rollins-SS, Polanco-3B, Victorino-CF, Pence-RF, Mayberry-LF, Thome/Wigginton-1B, Ruiz-C, Galvis-2B
  • Rotation: Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Worley, Blanton
  • Bench: Schneider, Wigginton/Thome, Nix, Pierre, Orr
  • Bullpen: Papelbon, Bastardo, Qualls, Kendrick, Stutes, Herndon, Savery
  • DL: Howard, Utley, Martinez, Contreras
  • Last 5 off: Podsednik, Luna, Valdes, Montanez, Kratz
Not really much changing. Will Podsednik beat out Pierre? Will Luna beat out Orr, or will someone else be signed? Will Valdes beat out Savery? Can Montanez or Kratz surprise us? These are the last of the questions now.

Thursday's Minor League Roster Predictions

There are new workout groups in Clearwater. There are also new cuts. Eric Pettis was a surprise cut, but Matt Way was not.

Hog Blog, as usual, had a great post today. It really shed light on a lot of stuff, including Chin-Hung Lu failing his physical, and the battle for back up catching jobs. Good stuff.

Today, we're going to do this a little different. We're adding Clearwater to the mix. Hopefully we'll have a Lakewood prediction by the weekend. Here we go:

Lehigh Valley:

  • Line-Up: Podsednik-RF, Thompson-CF, Brown-LF, Frandsen-SS, Overbeck-1B/DH, Kratz-C, Rizzotti-1B/DH, Luna-3B, Thurston-2B
  • Rotation: Hyatt, Elarton, Misch, Bush, Bump
  • Bench: Gosewisch, Montanez, Clevlen, Hulett
  • Bullpen: Schwimer, Aumont, Diekman, Horst, Valdes, Purcey, Sanches
  • DL: De Fratus
Reading: 
  • Line-Up: Gillies-CF, James-RF, Valle-C, Spidale-RF, Ruf-1B, Kennelly-3B, Mitchell-DH, Hanzawa-SS, Hernandez-2B
  • Rotation: Cloyd, May, Rodriguez, Pettibone, Buchanan
  • Bench: Abreu, Suomi, Tripp, Susdorf
  • Bullpen: Friend, Ramirez, Rosenberg, Cisco, Brummett, Chapman, Gailey
Clearwater:
  • Position Players: Rupp-C, Murphy-1B, Cartwright-2B, Duran-SS, Alonso-3B, Alvarez-OF, Lavin-OF, Collier-OF, Hewitt-DH
  • Rotation: Colvin, Biddle, Claypool, Bonilla, Garner
  • Bench: LeRud, Asche, Barnes, Myers
  • Bullpen: Neris, Sosa, Shreve, Kissock, Whatcott, Hollands, Worthington


Cole Hamels Makes Start As Phils Host Rays

Posted by Erik Seybold

7002496949_39cbf96506_z(Photo Courtesy of Terry Foote/Flikr)

Yesterday's pitching performance from Vance Worley was anything but pretty. The Vanimal was very off against the Twins, allowing 11 runs in the first four innings. Hopefully, Cole Hamels (1-1, 4.00 ERA) can have a better start today as he takes on the Tampa Bay Rays.

Hamels will be making his sixth and most likely last Grapefruit League start today. Hamels has been nothing short of impressive in his previous five starts. In his last outing, against the Red Sox, Hamels allowed two earned runs on four hits through four innings. He gave up two walks and added three strikeouts as well. Hamels is preparing for what could be his final season as a Phillie. Heading out of Clearwater on a positive can definitely give him a push for a big contract where ever he decides to sign.

The Rays will send out Jeremy Hellickson (0-2, 15.30 ERA). The reigning AL Rookie of the Year has not had such a shabby Spring so far. In his last outing, against the Twins, he allowed 10 earned runs on 11 hits in three innings. Hellickson is a contender for the Rays' starting rotation as he was the ROY last year.

Hellickson will take on a Phillies lineup that originally had Jimmy Rollins leading off and playing shortstop, but he was scratched due to the fact that somebody forgot he had day off. Pete Orr will take over at short today while Ty Wigginton will play at second. 

The Phillies also sent catcher Eric Kratz to Triple-A Lehigh and sent infielder Tim Kennelly to minor league camp.

Today's lineup vs Tampa Bay

  1. Pete Orr SS
  2. Polly 3B
  3. Hunter Pence RF
  4. Jim Thome 1B
  5. Shane Victorino CF
  6. Laynce Nix LF
  7. Ty Wiggy 2B
  8. B-Schneids C
  9. Cole Hamels P.

You can watch the game on TV on TCN and ESPN. 

Erik Seybold is a Contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.


Frank's 2012 MLB Predictions: Blue Jays are Playoff-Bound; Chase Utley Plays First Base

2012 MLB Season Predictions
Posted by Frank Klose

Miguel_Cabrera
Miguel Cabrera's minor setback and adjustment to third base make Jose Bautista my MVP choice 

American League

AL East winner – New York Yankees

AL Central winner – Detroit Tigers

AL West winner – Texas Rangers

AL Wild Card Teams (2) – Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays

AL MVP – Jose Bautista

AL Cy Young – David Price

AL Rookie of the Year – Matt Moore

AL Manager of the Year – John Farrell

Comments: I think that Bobby Valentine and the Boston Red Sox will be a disaster.  I also feel that the Toronto Blue Jays team that blew 25 saves last year will be in much better shape with Sergio Santos as closer, Francisco Cordero setting him up, and the addition of the ageless Darren Oliver and return of Jason Frasor.  If they could have won just 12 of those 25 games, the Blue Jays team would have won 93 games.  I think Jose Bautista will win this year's AL MVP, edging out Miguel Cabrera, who is dealing with the minor face injury and adjustment back to third base.

National League

NL East winner – Philadelphia Phillies

NL Central winner – Cincinnati Reds

NL West winner – Arizona Diamondbacks

NL Wild Card Teams (2) – Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants

NL MVP – Matt Kemp

NL Cy Young – Roy Halladay

NL Rookie of the Year – Yonder Alonso

NL Manager of the Year – Dale Sveum

Comments: St. Louis got considerably weaker this season.  Without the veteran leadership of Tony LaRussa, Dave Duncan, and Albert Pujols, and are without a healthy Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainright. The Cardinals have Kyle Lohse as their opening day starter, and Carlos Beltran hardly begins to make up for Albert Pujols.  Jason Motte is still mostly unproven.  The Arizona Diamondbacks are still good; the Braves and Giants still have major flaws.  I think the Phillies are the clear favorites in the NL for three reasons:  Roy, Cliff, Cole.

World Series matchup – Texas Rangers vs. Philadelphia Phillies

World Series champion and # of games – Texas Rangers in 6

Comments: The Texas Rangers are probably bound for another World Series matchup.  I do believe that Yu Darvish will find success in the major leagues and the Rangers’ offense will get them over the top in both the AL and in the World Series.

Phillies predictions

Total number of Phillies wins - 93

What date does Ryan Howard return to the Phillies lineup (if at all) – Mid-late June

What date does Chase Utley return to the Phillies lineup (if at all)? – He will start playing first base early May.

Which Phillies ace has most wins and how many – Roy Halladay – 20 games

To follow up "Good game, let's go eat," what will be Hunter Pence's next catchphrase? – I think he’ll try too hard and say many stupid things.


Worley hit hard as Twins down Phillies

Posted by Kevin Durso

Vance Worley allowed 11 runs in four innings in today's 11-7 loss to the Twins. (Philliedelphia/Kevin Durso)

After his last start didn’t go as expected, Vance Worley said he was ditching the split-changeup that Roy Halladay had tried to show him. With that off his plate, the rest of his repertoire wasn’t working too well either.

Some bad pitches by Worley and a couple of errors plagued him and the Phillies today, as the Minnesota Twins took advantage of everything the Phillies gave them.

It wasn’t such a bad day at the plate for the Phillies, but while the hits were there, the runs were not, but there was plenty of scoring in this one.

The Twins jumped on the board in the first. Justin Morneau hit a two-run home run to open the scoring.

In the second, the Twins were back for more. A throwing error by Worley allowed one run to score. Denard Span picked up an RBI on a sac fly to cap the scoring in that frame.

The Phillies got one run back in the third, as the Phillies turned a lead-off single by Luis Montanez into a run, with Jimmy Rollins getting an RBI single.

The Twins got that run back and plenty more in the fourth. Span added an RBI single to start the scoring. Joe Mauer and Morneau each followed with RBI singles of their own. Josh Willingham plated another run on a sac fly before Luke Hughes capped the seven-run inning with a three-run homer.

In all, Worley allowed 11 runs (five earned) in four innings of work. He gave up 11 hits, no walks and struck out three.

The Phillies did trim into the lead in the fifth, getting an RBI double by Carlos Ruiz.

Raul Valdes calmed the storm through the fifth and sixth, allowing two hits in two scoreless innings.

In the seventh, the Phillies trimmed the lead even more. Hunter Pence doubled home a run to start. Another run scored on an RBI groundout by Erik Kratz. Hector Luna capped the three-run inning with an RBI single.

David Herndon came on to pitch, and pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth innings.

Tuffy Gosewisch brought the Phillies closer in the eighth with an RBI single, cutting the Twins’ lead to five. Hector Luna added a solo shot in the ninth, but that was all the Phillies could manage in an 11-7 loss to the Twins.

Vance Worley was not good today. That is clear by his numbers. But don’t let these starts fool you. Worley needs time to develop each spring. Remember Worley was a Rookie of the Year candidate who didn’t get called up for regular starts until May last season.

Meanwhile, the performance at the plate today was encouraging. The Phillies as a team picked up 15 hits today. Jimmy Rollins reached base three times and picked up two hits. Carlos Ruiz, Luis Montanez and Miguel Abreu each added two hits as well. Hector Luna had a huge day, going 3-for-5. Hunter Pence also had an RBI double in a 1-for-4 game.

The Phillies still have plenty of kinks to work out, but for some reason, with spring training meaning nothing, they find a way to make things happen once the games count. Hopefully that’s what this means again.

The Phillies are back in action tomorrow afternoon against the Tampa Bay Rays. Cole Hamels is expected to start.  

Kevin Durso is a contributor to @Philliedelphia. You can follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.


Erik Seybold's MLB Predictions

Erik Seybold's 2012 MLB Season Predictions

American League

AL East winner – New York Yankees

AL Central winner – Detroit Tigers

AL West winner – Texas Rangers

AL Wild Card Teams (2) – Los Angeles Angels, Tampa Bay Rays

 

AL MVP – Robinson Cano

AL Cy Young – Justin Verlander

AL Rookie of the Year – Matt Moore

AL Manager of the Year - Joe Maddon

 

National League

NL East winner – Philadelphia Phillies

NL Central winner – St. Louis Cardinals

NL West winner – Arizona Diamondbacks 

NL Wild Card Teams (2) – Washington Nationals, Milwaukee Brewers

 

NL MVP – Justin Upton

NL Cy Young – Cole Hamels

NL Rookie of the Year – Yonder Alonso

NL Manager of the Year – Davey Johnson

 

World Series matchup – Rays vs Phillies

World Series champion and # of games – Phillies in 6 games.

 

Phillies predictions

 

Total number of Phillies wins - 94

 

What date does Ryan Howard return to the Phillies lineup (if at all)? – June 6, 2012

What date does Chase Utley return to the Phillies lineup (if at all)? – May 26, 2012

 

Which Phillies ace has most wins and how many – Roy Halladay, 18.

To follow up "Good game, let's go eat," what will be Hunter Pence's next catchphrase? –

 "Let's Go Celebrate!"

 


Phillies Pick Up Infielder Joe Thurston; Get Your Signed Photo for Only $40.00

Posted by Erik Seybold

ThurstonCourtesy mlblogs.com

The Phillies have finally added some infield depth to their organization. This afternoon, they signed seven-year veteran Joe Thurston to a minor-league deal. With the absences of Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and now Michael Martinez (broken foot), the Phillies have little to none depth in their infield.

The 32 year-old utility man Thurston was recently released from the Houston Astros and the Phillies have scooped him up. Thurston has been with this organization before. In 2006, he was signed to a minor-league deal and was assigned to the then Phillies' Triple-A affiliate Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Barons. Thurston was called up in late August, 2006 and remained on the roster for the rest of the season. In 18 games with the Phillies, Thurston hit for a .222 average and scored only three runs. I'm sure the Phillies have signed him for his fielding skills over of his hitting.

Thurston will be sent to minor-league camp in an effort for the team to exercise with him and see what he can do. He will open the season with either the Double-A Reading Phillies or the Triple-A Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.

I like the addition, but we should look into a more solid player to add depth in the major league club as well.

This news could be an indication that Pete Orr will open as the Phillies utility infielder.  Orr is hitting .304 so far this spring and has seen time at shortstop, second base, and third base.

Good news, Phillies fans: you can purchase a signed Joe Thurston Phillies photograph for only $40.00 here.

Erik Seybold is a Contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.