Pine Hill, NJ native James Birmingham has joined the BlueClaws from extended spring training. He takes the roster spot of Ryan Duke, who was promoted to Clearwater this morning. Pine Hill is 71 miles from Lakewood, if you’re wondering.
Duke gave up five runs in 25.1 innings and had nine saves with Lakewood dating to July 10th last year. He was a 25th round pick in last year’s draft out of the University of Oklahoma.
Birmingham, a lefty who last year went 3-1, 1.72 with 39 Ks in 31.1 innings, split 2011 between the GCL Phillies and Williamsport. He went to Coastal Carolina but was undrafted. He ended up at, of all places, FirstEnergy Park, where he was signed out of a tryout in Lakewood (the same tryout that produced 2011 BlueClaws OF Bill Rice). He’ll be the 3rd player ever to sign out of a FirstEnergy Park tryout to play for the BlueClaws, with Rice and 2006 OF Bill Kirk being the other two.
Here is an article from CSNPhilly.com about Birmingham, who grew up a huge fan of the Phillies and…his new manager, Mickey Morandini.
“I grew up 15 minutes from the Walt Whitman Bridge,” Birmingham said. “I’ve always been a Phillies fan, so this is definitely more exciting. It was exciting to try out for them and even more exciting to sign and play in their organization.”