Results tagged ‘ Carlos Carrasco ’

Lopez to Start Friday

The Phillies have decided who will start Friday night against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park.

It’s not Carlos Carrasco, Andrew Carpenter or Kyle Kendrick.

It’s Rodrigo Lopez.

Lopez is 5-4 with a 3.91 ERA in 13 starts this season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He is 65-65 with a 4.80 ERA in his seven-year Major League career. He last pitched for the Rockies in 2007.

Lopez signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies at the end of Spring Training after they watched him pitch in the World Baseball Classic. He had Tommy John surgery in Aug. 2007, and spent most of 2008 recovering. The Braves signed him to a minor-league deal toward the end of last season, but the Braves did not exercise the option they had on him.

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Carrasco? Drabek? Who?


carrasco.jpgA popular choice to fill Antonio Bastardo‘s spot in the rotation Thursday in Atlanta is Triple-A right-hander Carlos Carrasco.

He is one of the team’s top pitching prospects, and it could be his turn to get a shot.

But while Ruben Amaro Jr. said nice things about Carrasco (4-7, 4.92 ERA) today when I asked about him, he also quickly mentioned Rodrigo Lopez (5-4, 3.91 ERA), Kyle Kendrick (4-4, 3.97 ERA) and Andrew Carpenter (7-1, 2.75 ERA) as possibilities. Carpenter is having the best season of the four. Lopez has the most big-league experience. Kendrick has more experience than Carrasco or Carpenter.

One person who isn’t a candidate is Double-A Reading right-hander Kyle Drabek (4-0, 2.43 ERA). In fact, Drabek isn’t expected to be a candidate to help the Phillies at all in 2009.

Here is what Amaro told me earlier today about Drabek:

“He’s got great stuff,” Amaro said. “He’s going to be a quality Major League pitcher, if he stays healthy. But we do not believe he is ready to pitch in the big leagues at this time. He needs more Minor League experience. I would not count on him for the 2009 season. He’s not somebody we would actively move to the big leagues because he needs time to pitch in the Minor Leagues and he’s coming off [Tommy John] surgery. Now, there are circumstances that may change that, but right now we’re fully committed to having him pitch in the Minor Leagues in 2009.”

That does not shock me because I had trouble coming up with a player recently who made the jump from Single-A to the big leagues in the same season and had success doing it. I also had trouble coming up with a pitcher who made the jump from Single-A to the big leagues in the same season after missing most of the previous season recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Amaro said circumstances could change, which could put Drabek back in the mix. But now it appears Drabek’s earliest shot at the Majors will be 2010.

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Amaro on the trade market at the moment: “When you have this many teams in the race it’s very thin. It’s always thin. Again, there were three teams who got pitching last year. Three teams out of 30. That’s 10 percent. We can say, ‘Pretty please can we have a pitcher?’ but that doesn’t mean one will become available.”

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Scott Eyre is scheduled to make a rehab appearance tonight for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Phillies.

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J-Roll Returns to the Top Spot

rollins makes history.jpgWhen the Phillies open a three-game series Tuesday in Atlanta, Jimmy Rollins will be back in the lineup for the first time since Wednesday.

He will be back in the leadoff spot, too.

“I felt it was very important to let him sit over there and kind of get a clear mind when I put him back there so he’s fresh,” Charlie Manuel said today. “He’s starting all over.”

Rollins is hitting .195 as a leadoff hitter this season. That’s last out of 44 hitters who have seen significant time in the top spot this season. He also ranks last with a .237 on-base percentage. His .289 slugging percentage ranks 42nd in front of the Mets’ Alex Cora (.275) and San Francisco’s Fred Lewis (.230).

Manuel has been speaking to Rollins — who has not commented on the four-game break — on a daily basis, including a long chat Saturday.

“I think it did,” Manuel said, asked if he thinks the time off has helped Rollins. “That’s why I wanted to do it. I think it’s going to help. We’ll see the way he performs and the way he goes about playing.”

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All signs point to Triple-A Lehigh Valley right-hander Carlos Carrasco making his Major League debut Thursday in Atlanta.

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Raul Chavez bunted in Brad Lidge‘s first test save situation since returning from the DL last week with a sprained right knee.

That didn’t sit well with Lidge.

“It was right out of the chute,” Lidge said. “I guess they probably know why I came off the DL, and they tried to test it. … I wasn’t real happy about that. At first it kind of pissed me off. I remember thinking that but then [thinking] ‘OK, runner on first base, one run game, you better get it done.’

“Honestly it’s fair. It’s not anything super cheap. They want to get a baserunnner. I just didn’t like it.”

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Interleague Play is over. I’m sure the Phillies are excited about that. They went 6-12 against the AL this season.

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Amaro: Losing Brett Would Be A Big Blow


amaro.jpgBrett Myers
said earlier today that it’s almost 100 percent certain he will need surgery on his right hip
, which jeopardizes his season and weakens the rotation.

He hopes a second opinion gives him better news, but he does not sound optimistic.

I talked with Ruben Amaro Jr. about an hour ago outside Chase Utley‘s second annual Utley’s Animal All-Stars charity event — I hadn’t done a stakeout in a while (fun!) — which was held in Olde City. Here is what Amaro had to say about Myers:

Q: Does this increase your urgency to find starting pitching in a trade?
A: We’ve been looking for starting pitching from February on and that hasn’t changed. The urgency, a lot of it depends on what happens at the exam (second opinion with hip specialist Bryan Kelly). We’re going to probably bring somebody from our Minor League system, if in fact we need it. We’ll see how it progresses. The sky is not falling.

Q: Who are the options to take Myers’ spot in the rotation in the short term?
A: (Carlos) Carrasco, (Kyle) Kendrick, (Andrew) Carpenter, (Antonio) Bastardo.

Q: If you lose Myers, is a team with a starting pitcher to trade probably going to wait closer to the trade deadline to make a move, regardless of your situation?
A: That team that decides they want to be a seller? They’re going to try to get the best deal they can possibly get. And if they know Brett Myers is not with us, they’re going to try to get the best deal they possibly can. But I’m sure there are other teams out there who are looking for the same thing. So we have to assess. And if there is a deal to be made we’re going to have to assess whether it makes sense for us, not just short term, but long term as well.

Asked if he had anything else to add, if he wanted to tell Phillies fans to stay calm (all is well!), Amaro declined.

“The fact of the matter is, if we lose him it will be a big blow to us,” he said. “I don’t want to downplay that because if you lose Brett Myers it’s a big deal. But the fact of the matter is, we’ll have to make an adjustment. I don’t know how we’re going to do that, but it starts internally and we’ll see how that works out and we’ll go from there.”

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A big assist to Scott Eyre, who kindly gave me a bag of walnuts from the giveaway bag from the event. They kept me standing on my feet while I waited for Amaro.

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Go Time for Park

park.jpgThis could be Chan Ho Park‘s last start for the Phillies if he has a poor showing tonight against the Mets at Citi Field.

The team’s options to replace Park should he pitch poorly?

- Lefthander J.A. Happ. He narrowly lost the fifth starter’s job to Park in Spring Training. Charlie Manuel has praised Happ recently, saying that he knows Happ can be a successful starter. Happ is 1-0 with a 3.87 ERA in nine relief appearances this season, so he is doing something Park isn’t: getting hitters out at the big-league level. Happ is the favorite because he already is on the 25-man roster and has the confidence of his manager and pitching coach. Other candidates in Triple-A Lehigh Valley would mean optioning somebody to the Minor Leagues, and I just don’t see a fit at the moment.

- Right-hander Kyle Kendrick. Kendrick got a relatively early demotion to Minor League camp in Spring Training because the Phillies thought he hadn’t developed his secondary pitches enough to warrant a continued look. Kendrick is 2-1 with a 2.77 ERA in five starts in Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

- Right-hander Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco was the team’s dark horse candidate to win the fifth spot in Spring Training, but he showed his inexperience. He is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in five starts for Lehigh Valley.

- Right-hander Rodrigo Lopez. The Phillies picked up Lopez before the end of Spring Training. He is 1-1 with a 3.07 ERA in three starts. He has big-league experience, which can help his cause should he continue to pitch well.

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The Phillies face Johan Santana tonight. Let’s take a look at the Phillies’ projected lineup, and how they have fared against Santana in the past:

Jimmy Rollins: .059 (1 for 17) with 1 walk, 1 strikeout.
Shane Victorino: .083 (1 for 12) with 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts.
Chase Utley: .167 (3 for 18) with 1 home run, 1 RBI, 3 strikeouts.
Ryan Howard: .429 (6 for 14) with 2 home runs, 5 RBIs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts.
Jayson Werth: .313 (5 for 16) with 1 double, 1 homer, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts.
Raul Ibanez: .353 (12 for 34) with 1 homer, 8 RBIs, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts.
Pedro Feliz: .158 (3 for 19) with 1 RBI, 6 strikeouts.
Carlos Ruiz: .429 (3 for 7) with 1 strikeout.

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Giles Released; Mayberry and Carrasco Optioned

marcus giles.jpgThe Phillies made a few roster moves this morning:

- Marcus Giles has been released.
- John Mayberry Jr. and Carlos Carrasco have been optioned to Minor League camp.
- Mike Koplove, Jason Ellison and Pablo Ozuna have been told they will not be making the 25-man roster, but will accompany the team to Philadelphia for the On Deck Series on Friday and Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays at Citizens Bank Park.

The moves leave Miguel Cairo as the only potential righthanded bat that could make the Phillies’ bench, unless the Phillies make a trade before Opening Night. They continue to look for that righthanded bat, by the way. It also leaves Bobby Mosebach and Gary Majewski as potential bullpen candidates, although their chances took a big hit Friday when the Phillies acquired left-hander Jack Taschner from the Giants.

“I don’t blame their decision,” Giles said. “I got every chance in the world. It’s not their fault. There’s nobody to blame but myself. I would have made the same decision they did to be honest with you. I’m not a guy to make excuses. I had my chance.”

Giles had signed a Minor League contract with the Phillies, so they could have re-assigned him to Minor League camp. But with a glut of infielders at Triple-A, the Phillies figured it made more sense to let him go.

“I’m not going to get the at-bats I need there,” Giles said. “So in a nutshell, I think they did me a favor by giving me my release instead of sending me to Triple-A to play once or twice a week. I just need some consistent AB’s. I think I can make it back to this level.”

So how’s the 25-man roster going to look? Remember the Phillies don’t need a fifth starter until April 20, so they could open with 11 pitchers. If they open with 11, I think J.A. Happ makes the rotation, Chan Ho Park makes the bullpen and Cairo is the extra man on the bench. That would buy them time to move Geoff Jenkins or Matt Stairs before they need that fifth starter, which would move them back to 12 pitchers. If they open with 12 pitchers, I still think it’s Happ in the rotation and Park in the bullpen.

And don’t rule out the Phillies making a move before Opening Night or the first couple weeks of the season.

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The Braves have their rotation set for next week’s series against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park: Derek Lowe (14-11, 3.24 ERA in 2008) on Sunday, Jair Jurrjens (13-10, 3.68 ERA) on Tuesday and Javier Vazquez (12-16, 4.67 ERA) on Wednesday. 

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Your Daily Hamels Update


hamels 0318.jpgCole Hamels
threw 48 pitches in a bullpen session today. He felt fine afterward.

He felt fine yesterday, too, a day after he pitched in a Minor League Spring Training game at the Carpenter Complex.

Hamels will pitch Sunday against the Boston Red Sox at Bright House Field. The Phillies still officially haven’t ruled out Hamels for Opening Night, but he remains a long shot. Why? Because he threw just 48 pitches Tuesday and is scheduled to throw 70 to 75 pitches Sunday. The Phillies won’t start Hamels if they don’t feel confident he can pitch deep into a game with 90 pitches.

Rich Dubee said things could change if Hamels throws nine innings on 75 pitches Sunday. Of course, he was smiling when he said it, so it sounds like he’s not expecting that.

But if Hamels can pitch nine innings throwing 75 pitches he’ll start Opening Night?

“If Chuck says he’s good for 90,” Dubee said. “He could pitch six or seven with 90.”

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Carlos Carrasco allowed six hits, four runs and one walk in five innings in the 10-2 loss to the Yankees. He struck out four. He is 2-2 with a 5.95 ERA in 19 2/3 innings this spring.

“I think his stuff is good and everything,” Charlie Manuel said. “I think he’s going to pitch in the big leagues, but he’s definitley got to improve some things. I think when he does is when he’ll pitch in the big leagues. He’s got to throw his breaking ball more, throw his secondary stuff over the plate and also be a little more aggressive with his fastball. Trust his fastball.

“His stuff is there, but he needs some experience. He needs some guidance. He needs to finish off some of the little things it takes to be a good pitcher.”

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The Race Is On: Part II

Kyle Kendrick still has to make his first start since Rich Dubee announced the race is on for the fifth spot in the Phillies rotation. But first impressions are that Chan Ho Park and J.A. Happ have taken the early lead with Kendrick and Carlos Carrasco behind them.

Carrasco allowed six hits and five runs (three earned runs) in two innings today in a 7-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves at Champion Field. Carrasco is 1-1 with a 7.71 ERA in three Grapefruit League appearances.

Carrasco seems to be showing his inexperience. He didn’t trust his curveball in his previous start last Monday against the Toronto Blue Jays  at Dunedin Stadium. He didn’t trust his fastball today against the Braves. Carrasco’s fastball hovered around 90 to 91 mph when Dubee visited him on the mound. Dubee told Carrasco that it looked like he didn’t trust his fastball.

Carrasco’s next fastball was 95 mph.

“We’ve got areas we’ve got to grow in, no doubt about that,” Dubee said.

But can Carrasco grow up fast enough to win this job? Entering spring training, I thought Carrasco would have to blow away Park, Happ and Kendrick to earn the final spot in the rotation. Why? Because he’s just 21 and the Phillies wouldn’t consider it a tragedy to have him gain more experience in triple-A Lehigh Valley. Park and Happ are off to good starts, and Kendrick has a chance to redeem himself after he lost his cool Thursday against Team USA. There is still plenty of time for Carrasco to dazzle, but so far Park and Happ have looked the best.

Lidge Throws, Feels Fine

Brad Lidge has had some forearm tightness recently, but he threw a bullpen session today at Bright House Field and said he felt fine. If he continues to progress, he said he will throw one more bullpen and maybe a live batting practice session before he pitches in a game, which could be next week.

He has not appeared in a Grapefruit League game.

“It went really good,” he said. “I felt for the first time this spring like I have a fighting chance at getting somebody out. Before I was wondering how I was going to do it. The tightness is pretty typical for me coming into spring training. I’m trying to throw in Colorado, but I can’t get a ton of work in there. Then we come here and I’m throwing a lot. I go through a phase where I have tightness and stiffness and deadness and all the above.”

Lidge would like to pitch in around 10 Grapefruit League games before the April 5 season opener, and he thinks he’s on schedule for that.

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Jayson Werth went 0 for 2 in the “B” game against the Blue Jays at the Carpenter Complex. Jamie Moyer allowed two hits and one walk in three scoreless innings. He struck out four. Joe Blanton, who followed Moyer in the “B” game, allowed five hits in four scoreless innings. He struck out four.

Moyer threw 57 pitches. Blanton threw 59.

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J.A. Happ allowed a two-run home run to Adam Lind on a 1-2 pitch in the first inning to give the Blue Jays at 2-1 lead at Dunedin Stadium. Happ allowed three hits and a walk in the first inning. After he walked Brad Emaus with two outs in the first, Happ retired seven of the next eight batters he faced. … Carlos Carrasco threw a perfect fourth, but found some trouble in the fifth — although he had some help. Joe Inglett reached third on an error when Eric Bruntlett dropped a fly ball in center field. Aaron Hill doubled to left-center to score him to give the Jays a 3-2 lead. Lind walked and Kevin Miller smacked a 1-0 pitch for a three-run homer to left field to give the Jays a 6-2 lead. It gets worse for Carrasco. Emaus just jacked a solo homer to left-center to make it 7-2. … It must be a great day to hit because the Philllies put up six on the Blue Jays in the sixth to take an 8-7 lead. Jeremy Slayden hit a leadoff homer. Jason Donald, Ronny Paulino and Miguel Cairo each singled to score another run. Raul Ibanez‘s two-run double to left-center field cut the Jays lead to one, and Ryan Howard‘s two run homer to right-center field took the lead. It was Howard’s second homer of the spring. … The Phillies won, 12-7.

The Fifth Job

park.jpgSo where are the Phillies with the fifth spot in their rotation?

“Dead tie,” Charlie Manuel said today.

Maybe because the competition hasn’t started yet.

“It hasn’t even gotten out of the gate,” Rich Dubee said. “I really don’t look at first, maybe even second outings. Repeating a delivery takes time, and a lot of these guys are in brand new shoes, so they’ve got to break those in. But I like what I’ve seen. But they need more reps. They need to go through a lineup two or three times.”

But while the Phillies say nobody has won the competition (or even taken a lead), certainly nobody has put himself in a hole, either. Carlos Carrasco and J.A. Happ, who pitch tomorrow afternoon against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, each threw two scoreless innings last week. Kyle Kendrick allowed a run in 2 2/3 innings Saturday, and Chan Ho Park allowed a run in three innings today.

This has the potential to be a very close, very competitive race over the next few weeks, which is good for the Phillies because it means, you know, they have talent and depth. But Park’s situation intrigues me. What if Park pitches just a tick better than Happ, Carrasco or Kendrick? Do they give him the job? Or do they put him in the bullpen, and give the job to the person who finished just behind him? Park bypassed the WBC because he wants to start, but the Phillies would benefit from having him in the bullpen because he can pitch multiple innings — which they could use with J.C. Romero serving a 50-game suspension to open the season. In other words, I wonder if Park has to go head and shoulders above the other three pitchers to get into the rotation.

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Johan Santana‘s elbow is healed! Healed, the Mets say!

(They better hope so.)

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