Archive for the 'Phillies' Category

The Phillies and Nebraska

Friday, March 15th, 2013

I thought this was a good article by Matt Gelb about the Phillies and their players from Nebraska. Click here to read.

Several former BlueClaws are mentioned, including Darin Ruf, Tyler Cloyd, and Jake Diekman.

Why Nebraska? Scouting director Marti Wolever used to live there, for one:

“It’s a big advantage to scouting the area where your boss lives,” said Dave Seifert, the Phillies’ Midwest-area scout. “The few days he’s home, he’s going to get out and see that area’s guys. That’s a huge advantage. I don’t know any other scouting directors that live in Omaha.”

Seifert’s coverage area spanned nine states in 2012. He said he spent four weekends from last March to May in Nebraska. The reason is Wolever; if Seifert can recommend a player Wolever has seen even just once, he may be more inclined to use a late-round pick on that name.

Unrelated to this article, but related to Ruf – He is believed to be the only BlueClaw to play for a Jesuit school (Creighton). We mention this because the recently elected new Pope is the first-ever Jesuit Pope. That’s your fun fact of the day.

Today’s The Big Day

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Happy Pitchers and Catchers Report Day!

Many Phillies are already in camp, but today is official report day for Phillies pitchers and catchers. Position players report later this week.

Todd Zolecki has a rundown of some of the camp position battles, including what he projects could be two former BlueClaws, Darin Ruf and Domonic Brown, batting it out for one outfield spot. In the bullpen, Jake Diekman, Mike Stutes, Justin De Fratus, and BJ Rosenberg, all former BlueClaws, will be competing for spots.

Minor leaguers report in a few weeks, and I’ll post the minor league spring training schedule later this morning.

We also forgot to post about Michael Bourn going to the Indians. Bourn was a 2004 BlueClaw who stole 57 bases, the 3rd highest single-season total in franchise history. We wish him the best of luck.

More and more lately, we’ve heard about the importance of draft picks. The Mets were reportedly careful about pursuing Bourn because they might have to give up their first round pick (11th overall). What made the Indians a fit? File this away when projecting where free agents end up next winter. From the Plain Dealer:

The Tribe went into the off-season knowing they had to upgrade the outfield. They displayed initial interest in Bourn, but he was way out of their price range. Instead, they pursued Shane Victorino and Swisher, while Bourn’s price dropped because most of the high-profile teams interested in him didn’t want to part with their No. 1 draft pick as compensation.

The Tribe’s No. 1 pick was protected because it finished with one of the 10 worst records in the big leagues last year. They’d already lost their No. 2 pick by signing Swisher, which meant the most they could lose in signing Bourn was a pick between the second and third rounds that came their way through last year’s competitive-balance lottery.

They were in a unique position, and the Dolan family gave Antonetti the green light to go for it.

We wish Bourn the best of luck.

Manuel Focused on Topping Tough NL East

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

What follows is an article based on an interview with Phillies manager Charlie Manuel at the annual Phillies Winter Tour stop in Lakewood from January 23rd.

For other content from the Winter Tour, please click here.

LAKEWOOD, NJ – The 2012 campaign was not what the Philadelphia Phillies and skipper Charlie Manuel had in mind, but they are both ready to turn the page and focus on a better 2013.

“We never really got going out of the gate,” admitted Manuel. “We definitely had a lot of injuries and had Howard and Utley out for over half the season, and Halladay was injured too which hurt our rotation and put a lot of stress on the bullpen.”

Manuel addressed the media prior to the Phillies Winter Tour festivities began at Woodlake Country Club. He spoke candidly on last year, and expressed that he was ready for spring training and the 2013 season.

“It’s been a long offseason, a lot of looking back on last year. I’m really looking forward to this season; I’ve been ready to go for a while…I’m heading down to Clearwater and we’ll be off and running.”


Winter Tour Wrap-Up

Friday, January 25th, 2013

There’s a bunch of different content out there from us and from outside sources from the Winter Tour event on Wednesday night. We wanted to consolidate that all in one place, and we’ve done that below.

From / BlueClaws Blog

From the Asbury Park Press

From the Press of Atlantic City

From PhoulBallz / Phillies Nation

There’s a lot of stuff there and I hope you enjoy it!

Biddle Gearing Up For Season

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Also from last night’s Winter Tour…

Jesse Biddle finished 2011 as a South Atlantic League Post-Season All-Star, and after a big season last year with Clearwater, he finished 2012 as the Phillies top prospect, at least in the eyes of Baseball America. The Philadelphia native was at the Phillies Minor League Week stop in Lakewood on Wednesday, and is anxious to get down to Clearwater for spring training.

“You try to enjoy your last couple of weeks in the off-season, but you have to make sure you’re in shape,” he said. “I’m enjoying time with my family and friends but I can’t stop picking up my glove. I can’t wait to have some hitters in the box and get ready for the season.”

Joe Jordan, the Phillies Director of Player Development, was impressed with Biddle’s year.

“No one had a better year, developmentally, than him,” said Jordan, who was also at Wednesday’s Winter Tour. “But when you get to know him and see him work, there are reasons why he’s successful.”

Read the rest of the story on

We’ll have a companion to this story in a little bit, which will be more long-form Biddle quotes on a variety of topics.

Another BlueClaw Traded

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Two former BlueClaws were traded to Minnesota last week and another was traded on Sunday. The Phillies acquired Michael Young from Texas to take over as their 3rd baseman and 2011 BlueClaws RHP Lisalverto Bonilla was sent to the Rangers along with RHP Josh Lindblom.

Bonilla joined the BlueClaws in May of 2011 and went 4-5, 2.80 with 95 strikeouts in 106 innings. He moved into the rotation after starting his time with the BlueClaws in the bullpen, and even threw nine shutout innings in one game, but is back in the pen. This year, he gave up just eight runs in 44.1 innings between Clearwater and Reading and made the Futures Game, though got hurt at the event and didn’t pitch the rest of the season.

Lindblom was acquired from the Dodgers in the Shane Victorino trade and is on the move again.

Former ‘Claws Traded for Ben Revere

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

The Phillies landed their centerfielder this morning, acquiring Ben Revere from the Twins in exchange for RHPs Vance Worley (BlueClaws 2008) and Trevor May (BlueClaws 2009-10). The pitchers were drafted in succ

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ession by the Phillies in 2008.

Worley was a 3rd round pick from Long Beach State who joined the BlueClaws that summer and went 3-2, 2.66 in 11 starts and made his Phillies debut in 2011. This year, he went 6-9, 4.20 with Philadelphia.

May was a 4th round pick out of high school in Kelso, Washington who spent parts of two championship seasons with Lakewood. In 2009, he came up from extended spring training in June and went 4-1, 2.56. Then in 2010, after a slow start with Clearwater, he came back to the BlueClaws in July and went 7-3, 2.91. In four playoff starts over two years, he was 2-1 and gave up 1 ER in 22.1 innings pitched. BlueClaws fans can thank May for playing a huge role on two different championship teams.

We wish both of these players the best with the Twins.

The Phillies also added Ender Inciarte today from Arizona in the Rule-5 Draft. This past year, he hit a combined .307 between Hi-A and Lo-A in the Diamondbacks system.

No Phillies players were taken by another organization in either the MLB or MiLB phases.

Three Former BlueClaws Added to 40-Man Roster

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

One quick post before Thanksgiving – and first we want to wish both of you (see what we did there) a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Yesterday, the Phillies added four players to their 40-man roster, bringing their 40-man up to 38 as of right now. Zach Collier (BlueClaws 2009, 2011), Trevor May (2009-10), Jonathan Pettibone (2010) and Ethan Martin were added, protecting them from the Rule 5 Draft, which takes place at the Winter Meetings in Nashville on Thursday, December 6th.

Pettibone split the year between Reading (9-7, 3.30) and Lehigh Valley (4-1, 2.55 in seven starts) and just turned 22 in July. He was a 3rd round pick in 2008 who had advanced one level per year until his in-season promotion to the IronPigs, where he will likely open 2013. He was not among the Phillies top tier prospects when the season started but is now.

May and Pettibone were teammates with the BlueClaws championship club in 2010 and May was also on the team that won the league title in 2009. This year with Reading, he went 10-13, 4.87 but struck out 151 in 149 innings pitched. He entered the year as the top prospect in the organization and is certainly still in the top five.

Collier was drafted in 2008, played with the BlueClaws for most of 2009, missed 2010 with an injury, and returned to Lakewood in 2011. This year, he played for Clearwater, hitting .269 with 11 stolen bases, but really earned his spot on the 40-man in the Arizona Fall League, when he hit .371 (23-62).

Martin was acquired from the Dodgers in the Shane Victorino trade at the deadline this year, and went 5-0, 3.18 over seven starts at the end of the season for Reading.

Congrats to those players, who were all very excited.

Collier tweeted: Im really looking foward to going to big league camp this year #madethe40man #bigleaguecamp #Godisgood #letsgetit

Players that were signed at 18 or younger and have been in the organization for five years or players signed at 19 or older that have been in the organization for four years and are not on the 40-man roster can be selected in the Rule 5 Draft. They would have to stay on the drafting team’s 25-man Major League roster for the duration of the season or be offered back. The Phillies lost 2011 BlueClaw Lendy Castillo to the Cubs in the Rule 5 last year. Among those unprotected were 2010 BlueClaws outfielders Jiwan James and Leandro Castro.

VIDEO: Baseball Volunteer Day

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

We mentioned Baseball Volunteer Day on the blog yesterday. Below is a video put together by the Phillies and their expert video man Dan Stephenson, Manager of Vi

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deo Production.

Three For the First Time

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Last night, BlueClaws staff members, along with staff members from Reading and Lehigh Valley, were at all Citizens Bank Par

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k for the Phillies game, and we got to see BlueClaws history – for the first time, three former BlueClaws homered in the same game.

  • Darin Ruf hit his first professional home run in the 2nd inning
  • Carlos Ruiz hit his 16th home run of the season in the 3rd inning
  • Domonic Brown hit his 5th home run of the season in the 6th inning

Perhaps the biggest upset is that this happened without Ryan Howard being one of the home run hitters.

Ruf, naturally, got the silent treatment, and a pretty good version of it too, as Matt Gelb details:

For five minutes during a 6-3 Phillies win, Ruf hung his arms over a dugout bench while his teammates rewarded him with cold shoulders. He had smashed a full-count fastball into the stands for his first major-league hit. Finally, when Jimmy Rollins popped out to end the second inning, Ruf was mobbed in the dugout.

“That,” Charlie Manuel said, “was a long one. Some guys took two innings before they talked to him.”

“That,” Ryan Howard said, “has to be some sort of record.”

“That,” Ruf said, “was very loving of them.”

Congrats to Darin, who on September 14th became the 9th former BlueClaw to make their big league debut this year, and 48th of all-time. Here is the list.

BlueClaws, Phillies Extend Player Development Contract

Friday, August 24th, 2012

This was the video that played when we announced the extension of the Player Development contract between the BlueClaws and Phillies at last week’s game.

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro and BlueClaws GM Geoff Brown signed the papers after the video played.
“The Phillies couldn’t be happier to extend their relationship with both the BlueClaws and the city of Lakewood,” said Benny Looper, Phillies Assistant General Manager, Player Personnel. “It’s been a wonderful 12 years and we look forward to many more.”

The BlueClaws have been Phillies affiliates since their 2001 inception.

46 former BlueClaws have gone on to reach the Major Leagues, with 28 of of those having debuted with the Phillies. Ryan Howard was the first to debut (on September 1, 2004) with Gavin Floyd, his 2002 BlueClaws teammate, debuting two days later.

Among the other players that have gone “From the Shore to the Show” include Carlos Ruiz (2001), Michael Bourn (2004), Vance Worley (2008), Michael Stutes (2008), Jake Diekman (2008-10) and BJ Rosenberg (2009).

“The BlueClaws are excited to renew our player development contract with the Phillies,” said BlueClaws General Manager Geoff Brown. “It’s been a magnificent relationship over the last 12 years and we’ve been graced with some great players who have come through Lakewood.”

The BlueClaws have won three championships in their 12-year history, in 2006, 2009 and 2010. Two years ago, they became the first team since 1993-94 (Savannah) to win back-to-back South Atlantic League titles.

Post-Game Howard Quotes

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Ryan Howard went 2-4 with 3 RBIs on Thursday night as the BlueClaws came from behind to beat West Virginia 7-6 wi

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th three runs in the 9th inning.

Howard’s SAC fly made it 6-5, and then Chris Duffy, who homered in the 8th inning to extend his hitting streak to 14, line a two-run single to center to give Lakewood the win.

Here are a few quotes from Howard’s post-game press conference:

“I’m not worried about my Achillies – it’s just a matter of getting back into game shape physically.”

“It’s not hard to not rush [back to Philadelphia] – I’ve been patient for 8 or 9 months now. Another week or two weeks isn’t going to kill me. You want to be back up there as soon as you can but you have to make sure you take the proper precautions. I’m not going to rush myself just to get back there. I have to make sure I’m good and ready to go.”

On the overshift he faced – “In the big leagues, the shortstop is playing behind second base. This guy was out there hi-fiving the centerfielder. My approach was the same though – wanted to stay up the middle. The first ball I got around on it a bit but the approach was right what I wanted to do.”

“It was good because with this being my first real actual game where it counts for something, being able to get in these situations are being, being able to work in these situations. Get back into a game on the line type situation.”

ALSO: We can report that Howard WILL continue his rehab assignment with Lakewood on Friday and he will play first base rather than DH, which he did on Thursday.

The BlueClaws will temporarily unretire his #29 for him to wear.

Ryan Howard Night – The Notes

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Below, find some Ryan Howard related notes as he gets set to begin a rehab assignment with the BlueClaws.


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BlueClaws are 21-11 when a Phillies player rehabs, and they are 1-2 when Ryan Howard rehabs. The BlueClaws are 21-10 in rehab assignment games in Lakewood, with an additional loss last year when Joe Blanton threw a scoreless inning with the BlueClaws in Hagerstown.

The 2002 Season

Howard was drafted by the Phillies in the 5th round of the 2001 draft from Missouri State University, and after one year with Batavia, he joined the BlueClaws in 2002. He spent the whole season in Lakewood, managed by current White Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto.

With the BlueClaws that year, he hit .280 with 19 home runs and 87 RBIs. The 19 home runs are the third highest single-season total in franchise history (Juan Richardson in 2001 and Jim Murphy in 2011 each hit 22). His 87 RBIs are the 3rd highest single-season total as well (in 2004, Randy Ruiz had 91 and Jake Blalock had 90)

2007 Rehab Appearance

Howard rehabbed in Lakewood on May 23rd and 24th in 2007, going 2-6 with a home run and four RBIs. The BlueClaws welcomed crowds of 8,063 and 8,168 for those two games.

2010 Rehab Appearance

Howard was back in Lakewood on August 20th, 2010 for another rehab assignment, and he went 1-2 with an RBI double.

Before the game that night, the BlueClaws retired the #29 worn by Howard when he was with the BlueClaws in 2002. The team was scheduled to retire his number on September 2nd of that season, but a Phillies snow-out in Colorado forced a make-up game on that day. The BlueClaws then retired his number in a pre-game ceremony when he rehabbed in 2010. The attendance that night was 10,032, the second largest crowd in team history.

Here are today’s Lakewood game notes.

30 and 13…Chris Duffy has reached base by either hit or walk in all 30 games he has played with the BlueClaws this year and has a 13-game hitting streak…He is 40-100 with 14 walks and has walked in the four games that he has not hit safely…The on-base streak spans two stints with Lakewood – seven games from Opening Day through April 17th and 23 games since returning to the BlueClaws on May 29th…He’s hit two home runs with Lakewood and two with Clearwater this year.

About the Hitting Streak… Duffy is 23-47 over the current 13-game hitting streak…Duffy’s 13-game hitting streak includes one game in which he delivered a pinch-hit single in his lone at bat…The hitting streak includes seven two-hit games and two three-hit games (nine multi-hit games of 13)…It’s the longest by a BlueClaw this season…Last year, Jim Murphy had a 16-game hitting streak…The franchise record is 24, set by Jiwan James in 2010.

BlueClaws Transactions…RHP Mike Nesseth (5-1, 3.06) has been promoted from Lakewood to Clearwater…Nesseth had allowed just three earned runs in his last 29 innings pitched and got his third save of the season on Monday night…In addition, LHP Ervis Manzanillo (1-5, 5.37) has been transferred to the seven-day disabled list (left elbow strain).

The Newest BlueClaw…LHP Blake Mascarello has been added to the BlueClaws roster…Mascarello was signed as a non-drafted free agent this year out of Purdue University, where he was a second-team all Big-Ten relief pitcher this season…Mascarello went 8-1, 1.86 with the Boilermakers, helping them to their first conference title since 1907…He had thrown 2.1 scoreless innings with the GCL Phillies before his promotion to Lakewood.

Rosenberg Called Up to Phillies

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

Congratulations to 2009 BlueClaws RHP BJ Rosenberg, who had his contract selected today by the Phillies and will soon make his big league debut.

Rosenberg, a 13th round pick in 2008 from the University of Louisville, was a dynamite reliever with Lakewood in 2009, going 7-2, with a 0.89 ERA and throwing 28.1 straight innings without allowing an earned run from Memorial Day until August 6th when he was promoted straight to Double-A Reading.

Injuries slowed him down in 2010 and he bounced between the bullpen and starting rotation with Reading last year. This year, in 16 games between Reading and Lehigh Valley, he’s allowed just five ER in 28.2 innings pitched with 36 strikeouts and eight walks.

Here is a Q&A we did with Rosenberg after the 2009 season. That year, he pitched for Team USA in Pan-Am qualifying. One of his coaches there was Kannapolis manager Ernie Young. This was going on at the same time that Lakewood and Kannapolis were facing off in the first round of the 2009 SAL playoffs.

Rosenberg will be the 45th Shore to the Show players and sixth BlueClaws alum to make his big league debut this year, following Freddy Galvis, Lendy Castillo, Adrian Cardenas, Jake Diekman, and and Quintin Berry.

UPDATE: Rosenberg was added to this list after making his debut on Saturday. He threw a scoreless 11th inning before allowing a walk-off home run to Adam Jones. Despite the loss, he still called it “the greatest day of my life,” and who’s to say differently?

“This happened so quick,” Rosenberg said. “I was pitching really well, so you never really know. But if you told me at the beginning of the year that I would be here right now, I would have called them a liar. I’m just thankful for the opportunity.”

We did want to share this tweet from Mark Zaiger, who was an intern with the BlueClaws in 2009 and is now with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

Congrats to BJ Rosenberg for making it to the big leagues. He was awesome with the youth when I ran the 2009 @blueclaws kids baseball clinic

Another reason to root for Rosenberg.