But Gonzalez, who had health concerns before the Phillies signed him, has been plagued with shoulder issues. He has been healthy recently, however, and the Phillies today activated him from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Double-A Reading, where he will pitch out of the bullpen.
“We started stretching him out and when he got past 40 pitches he wasn’t able to handle it physically and stay in his mechanics,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “We decided to go ahead and make him a reliever for now. Once he gets his feet on the ground we’ll try to stretch him out for next year.”
So he could be a starter in the future?
“He could, yeah,” Amaro said.
If his shoulder holds up. Asked if Gonzalez’s latest MRI looked clean, Amaro said, “It’s kind of like normal changes like a lot of guys, but he’s physically fine now.”
Gonzalez has been throwing well during a rehab assignment with Class A Clearwater. He touched 97 mph recently when he got upset at an opposing player.
“He got a little rammy,” Amaro said. “We’ll see how rammy he can get. We’re just trying to get him reps right now and get him going and competing. We’ll see where it takes us. We’ll evaluate him like everybody else in our system. Hopefully he can handle Double-A and we’ll go from there.”
Could he be in the big leagues this year?
“Can I see it? If he throws 96 or 97, or 94 or 95 or whatever and gets people out consistently, yeah,” Amaro said. “Why not? A lot of depends on his performance.”
He threw 60 pitches in a three-inning simulated game.
“We’re on pace,” Lee said.
Lee said he feels ready to begin a rehab assignment, which could happen Sunday with Class A Clearwater. That decision could come tomorrow, when the Phillies and Lee see how his elbow responded from today’s effort.
“I’ve been feeling better every day,” Lee said. “A couple rehab assignments then hopefully back up.”
If Lee makes two rehab starts he should be in line to rejoin the Phillies’ rotation after the All-Star break, although the Phillies did not rule out just one rehab start and a return shortly before the break.
- Cody Asche: Dat New New – Kid Cudi
- Reid Brignac: Drop Tha Top – Boss Hogg Outlawz
- Domonic Brown: In Da Wind – Trick Daddy and Move That Dope – Future
- A.J. Burnett: Black Skinhead – Kanye West
- Marlon Byrd: Get Like Me – David Banner and Work – DJ Smoke f/Gangstarr
- Tony Gwynn Jr.: Collard Greens – Schoolboy Q
- Ryan Howard: Trumpets – Jason Derulo
- Kyle Kendrick: The Outsiders – Eric Church
- John Mayberry Jr.: Look Ahead – Future
- Wil Nieves: No Soy Yo – Tony Vega
- Ben Revere: Turn Down For What – DJ Snake & Lil Jon
- Jimmy Rollins: Good Kisser – Usher and Wiggle – Jason Derulo
- Carlos Ruiz: In The Air Tonight – Phil Collins
- Chase Utley: Kashmir – Led Zeppelin
- Mike Adams: Intro – DMX
- David Buchanan: Agnus Dei / Worthy – Third Day
- A.J. Burnett: The Beautiful People – Marilyn Manson
- Cole Hamels: Thunderstruck – AC/DC
- Kyle Kendrick:A Country Boy Can Survive – Hank Williams, Jr.
- Cliff Lee: Stranglehold – Ted Nugent
- Jonathan Papelbon: Bout That Life – Meek Mill
Tom McCarthy made a heck of a catch last night, considering the circumstances.
But the Phillies announced an hour before tonight’s 4-2 loss to the Braves that Ruiz had been placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list. They selected the contract of Triple-A Lehigh Valley catcher Koyie Hill to take Ruiz’s spot on the 25-man roster. They designated Double-A outfielder Zach Collier for assignment to make room for Hill on the 40-man roster.
Ryne Sandberg indicated about three hours before the game that Ruiz, who spent time on the DL in 2010 with a concussion, would be fine, but that changed.
“He was under a little bit of watch,” Sandberg said after the game. “He just had a headache and he checked with Scott (head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan). It was clear that he had something going on.”
Backup catcher Wil Nieves already is on the DL with a strained right quadriceps, leaving the Phillies with Cameron Rupp and Hill to catch while Ruiz and Nieves recover.
Hill, 35, was hitting .240 with nine doubles, one triple, three home runs and 17 RBIs in 45 games for Lehigh Valley.
Collier, 23, appeared in 40 games for Reading this season, hitting .228 with five doubles, two triples and one home run.
Chase Utley hit a two-run, walkoff home run in the 14th inning last night to beat the Marlins.
It had been a long time coming, in more ways than one.
He entered the night hitting .225 with one double, one home run, seven RBIs and a .568 OPS in 92 plate appearances since June 2, so he was due for a big hit, if not a big hit at a big moment.
“I’m trying to build some comfort at the plate,” he said. “You go through some funks and you try to battle through them.”
It was Utley’s sixth walk-off hit of his career, but his first since Aug. 30, 2007, when he singled against Mets closer Billy Wagner to score Tadahito Iguchi in a memorable 11-10 victory in a memorable run to the postseason. It was the third walk-off homer of Utley’s career, his first since Sept. 4, 2006, against Houston’s Dave Borkowski.
Utley fouled off a first-pitch fastball from Marlins right-hander Chris Hatcher, but swung and missed badly at an 0-1 fastball.
He recovered nicely, sending the third pitch into the seats.
“It was good to see him regroup, get a pitch he can really handle,” Ryne Sandberg said. “He’s a grinder. Three RBIs on the game, scrapped out a hit and a big shot at the end. Right man at the right spot.”
The Phillies today placed the Double-A left-hander, who they selected in the first round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, on the inactive list. Biddle, who is 3-9 with a 5.03 ERA in 13 starts, told the Reading Eagle, “I’m miserable out there. I’m very unhappy. And I don’t know why.”
It sounds like a mental health break for the 22-year-old.
Biddle, who is 0-4 with a 12.64 ERA in his last four starts, pitching past the third inning just once, battled the mental side of the game in 2013. He also suffered through whooping cough, and a postseason MRI revealed he pitched the final month of the season with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
He finished 5-14 with a respectable 3.64 ERA, but battled through constant frustrations.
“I was really, really immature in some ways handling my illnesses, handling some of the adversity I was facing,” Biddle said in January. “There were a lot of times I failed last year, and I didn’t handle it the right way. There are some things I really want to grow up on and want to improve.”
Former Phillies ace Roy Halladay had a one-on-one discussion with Biddle in Spring Training. He spoke with him for about 30 minutes one afternoon, discussing the mental aspects of pitching and handing him a copy of “The Mental ABC’s of Pitching” by Harvey Dorfman, which Halladay credits for helping saving his big league career.
“A big thing for me will just be not sitting on things as long,” Biddle said. “There are times where I’ll let a game affect me for too long after the game is over, when the fact is, once my manager takes the ball out of my hands, there’s nothing I can do. As much as I want to, as much as I want to go back and replay it over and over in my head, there’s nothing I can do to change it.”
The Phillies also announced they released Double-A outfielder Jiwan James, who they selected in the 22nd round in 2007.
It is exactly why they signed Grady Sizemore today to a Minor League contract after the Red Sox released him last Wednesday. Sizemore will report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Thursday. Ruben Amaro Jr. said that Sizemore has an out clause in his contract. The Phillies will have to bring Sizemore to the big leagues sometime in July or he can ask for his release.
“Well, I’d like to have more production in the outfield,” Amaro said. “It’s pretty simple. If we think after watching him play in Lehigh Valley, if we think he’s going to help us, then we’ll bring him. Really, this is a no-risk, high-reward situation for us. ”
Sizemore hit just .215 with 10 doubles, two triples, two home runs, 15 RBIs and a .612 OPS in 52 games before the Red Sox released him. Sizemore had been one of the better outfielders in baseball with the Indians from 2004-09 before seven surgeries for a variety of injuries limited to 104 games 2010-11 and kept him out of baseball in 2012-13.
“More than anything else, when you take that much time off, it takes a long time — much longer than people think — to get your feet back on the ground,” Amaro said. “I know Boston gave him an opportunity to play. He had some level of success and then he did struggle at times. We’ll see what he has in the tank. We believe in the athlete. We’ll see what he has left.”
There is reason to roll the dice. Phillies leftfielders entered Tuesday 30th in baseball with a .578 OPS and Phillies centerfielders were 27th with a .612 OPS. Individually, Domonic Brown was 162nd out of 167 qualified players with a .596 OPS. Ben Revere was 157th with a .615 OPS.
Marlon Byrd‘s .778 OPS was 63rd. He was on pace for 25 home runs and 93 RBIs.
Amaro said he thinks Sizemore can still play center field, although he will get a look at every outfield spot.
The Phillies expressed interest in Sizemore in the offseason, but did not want to offer him a big-league contract.
“We were interested,” Amaro said. “It didn’t work out. But we’ll get an opportunity to see how he’s progressed. We’ll see what happens. There’s a chance we could get him back here in July at some point.”
But Chase Utley indicated yesterday that he does not expect to change his mind.
Utley’s name is popping up as the trade deadline approaches with the Phillies sitting below the .500 mark and in last place in the National League East. The Phillies have played better recently, but they still have plenty of work to do. In fact, if they struggle leading to the deadline, the Phillies front office could initiate a fire sale with Utley becoming an attractive piece for postseason contenders, although the club has said it has no inclination to trade him.
Utley has indicated his desire to remain in Philadelphia, but what if the team begins a long rebuilding effort?
“Well, you’re creating situations that aren’t necessarily going to happen,” Utley told MLB.com. “I guess we’d have to see at that point, but I don’t plan on going anywhere.”
Utley has 10-and-5 rights — 10 years in the Major Leagues, the last five with the same team — so he can refuse any trade at any time for any reason. He signed a $27 million contract extension last August, which could be worth as much as $75 if options are vested.
Utley said then that one reason he re-signed is because he believed the Phillies could win in the future.
“Last year, re-signing here was something I really wanted to do,” he said. “Great organization. Nothing has changed since then.
“I mean, honestly, I haven’t thought about it.”
But Utley said he still thinks the Phillies can win in the future.
“I think the mentality of trying to win will be there,” Utley said. “I think we need to make improvements as does every team in baseball.”
Utley’s comments follow ones made recently by Jimmy Rollins and Cole Hamels. Rollins, who also has 10-and-5 rights, told USA Today that the Phillies “would have to come up with a reason for me to leave. … if they tell me to go, then I got no choice. I’ll go. If you make it that clear that you don’t want me, you don’t have to tell me twice.
“I’m not going to volunteer to go anywhere. Even if somewhere else was the perfect spot, this is what I know. You weigh that against the instant gratification of winning right now. You leave, and there’s no guarantee you’re going to win anyways. You pack up to leave for a different organization, a different city, and it feels temporary.”
Asked about his desire to remain in Philadelphia should the club elect to rebuild, Hamels, who has a partial no-trade clause, told CSNPhilly.com: “Then it’s a different situation. And I think you kind of have to look at it in a different way because your careers are only so long. Your good years only last so long. You want to make them count.”
But each player has indicated he wants to stay.
Sell, sell, sell!
But the Phillies are 9-4 since, which ties the Brewers and Dodgers for the best record in baseball in that span.
Hold on a second. Despite their recent run, the Phillies are just 34-40. They remain in last place and are five games out of first place. They have played better, but they still have a long way to go. Even if they replicate their 9-4 mark over their next 13 games, matching their best 26-game run (18-8) since Aug. 25 to Sept. 22, 2012, they still would be a game under .500 on July 5. And at that point there are still 22 games remaining before the 4 p.m. trade deadline on July 31.
In other words, there is a ton of baseball to play before the Phillies hit the trade deadline. They need to keep going and they need to keep playing well over the next several weeks. Because the Phillies front office doesn’t need to do anything until 3:49 p.m. July 31, if they don’t want to.