Results tagged ‘ Chris Coste ’

Phillies Watch Martinez Throw Again

pedro watch.jpgPedro Watch continues.

A Phillies source said team officials watched right-hander Pedro Martinez throw three scoreless innings in a simulated game this afternoon at the organization’s academy in the Dominican Republic.

Phillies assistant to the general manager Charley Kerfeld watched Martinez pitch Tuesday. The Phillies then requested a second session with Martinez to see how his arm responded. Contrary to a report, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was not in attendance Friday. He is in Philadelphia.

The source would not say what the Phillies thought about Martinez’s second performance. But if they came away impressed and remained interested in signing him, they would require Martinez take a physical.

If Martinez takes a physical and passes it, he could agree to a contract with the Phillies as early as next week.

“I feel the best I have for some time,” Martinez told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The Phillies have been looking for starting pitching help for most of the season. Their rotation has a 5.06 ERA, which is 15th in the National League. A baseball source told MLB.com on Thursday night that signing Martinez would not prevent the Phillies from continuing to pursue Blue Jays right-hander Roy Halladay in a trade. In fact, they plan to pursue Hallday whether they sign Martinez or not.

The Phillies don’t need a fifth starter again until July 20 against the Cubs because of the All-Star break, but because Martinez hasn’t pitched this season he likely would need to pitch in the Minor Leagues before he could pitch in the Majors.

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The Houston Astros claimed Chris Coste off waivers, which cleared room for the Phillies to activate Raul Ibanez from the DL. Ibanez is not starting tonight against the Pirates.

Coste had not started behind the plate since June 17, so the writing was on the wall. The Phillies clearly preferred Paul Bako as Carlos Ruiz‘s backup. But Coste handled the news well. He joked that his time in Philly was so good that he could write a book about it. In fact, he did.

I thoroughly enjoyed covering Coste since he made his debut in 2006. He always treated me well. I wish him the best.

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Howard Is Back


Thumbnail image for howard large.jpgRyan Howard
stepped into the visitor’s clubhouse at Tropicana Field today to find Shane Victorino and Milt Thompson using socks as makeshift masks to protect themselves from the scary viruses Howard has been carrying the past few days.

Howard rejoined the team today after twice spending time in the hospital over the weekend with acute sinusitis.

He is in the starting lineup tonight against the Rays. He will DH.

Chris Coste will play first base.

“Am I 100 percent?” Howard said. “No, but I’m a lot better. I’d probably say about, 75, 80 percent. Right now it’s just mostly congestion. Those two days really helped as far as getting better.”

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The Perfect Storm


barajas 0618.jpgCharlie Manuel
talked yesterday about how the Phillies have not played good baseball for the past week.

There have been mental mistakes upon physical mistakes. They have not swung the bats well at times. The starters can’t get past the sixth inning and the bullpen looks exhausted. The exhaustion is one thing. It has been a long week. (I punch buttons on a keyboard for a living and I’m tired.) But Manuel was asked if he feels he needs to address his team about the sloppy play.

“I’ve been thinking about that for two or three days if you want to know the truth,” he said. “But at the same time with the way things are — we’re kind of beat up, we’ve got guys out, we come back in a game like we did today — I don’t know if that’s the right time to go in there and start screaming and hollering and cussing and throwing things. Don’t get me wrong. I’m headed that way, I guess. But I ain’t quite there yet. Maybe somebody ought to push me into it. But, no, I’ll get it when the time comes.”

The Phillies are banged up. They placed Raul Ibanez, the team’s MVP through 64 games, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin. They’re hopeful Ibanez will be back on July 3, when he is eligible to be activated, but Ruben Amaro Jr. said it could be longer. The Phillies already are without No. 2 starter Brett Myers, closer Brad Lidge and left-handed specialist Scott Eyre.

Combine those things – the injuries, the extra-inning games, the rain delays, the mental and physical mistakes – with the return of the American League and no wonder the Phillies have lost 5 of 6.

But doesn’t this seem familiar?

The Phillies entered Interleaugue Play last year at 41-30 with a three-game lead over the Mets. But they won just 1 of 3 against the Red Sox before the Angels swept them at home. Then they lost 4 of 6 on the road in Oakland and Texas.

The Phillies entered Interleague Play this year at 35-23 with a four-game lead over the Mets. They had won 10 of 13. But they won just 1 of 3 against the Red Sox before the Blue Jays swept them at home. They host the Orioles this weekend before they hit the road to play the Rays and Blue Jays.

“We’ve had some mental mistakes over the last couple days,” Ryan Howard said. “You just can’t have that. You’d rather have it now than later obviously, but it is what it is.”

What it is is a perfect storm for losing. The Phillies just hope they can weather it through their remaining nine Interleague games.

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Rod Barajas had the last laugh.

He hit a game-winning homer in the ninth against Ryan Madson in yesterday’s 8-7 victory. Barajas, one of Philly’s most disliked athletes in recent seasons, is 8-for-16 with four homers and 10 RBIs against the Phillies since he left them following the 2007 season.

“I hear them,” Barajas said of Phillies fans. “I laugh at them. I joke around with [Chris] Coste or [Carlos] Ruiz, whoever is back there. When I go up to hit, Coste is booing me, too.”

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Posts might be a little infrequent this weekend because of a family affair, but I will when I can.

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Rollins Hits Sixth

Jimmy Rollins is back in the Phillies lineup tonight, but he is not hitting leadoff.

Charlie Manuel is having Rollins hit sixth, and it sounds like it could be for more than just tonight’s series finale against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Manuel thinks Rollins, who has just two hits in his last 23 at-bats, needs a different look. Fifty-four games into the season, Rollins is hitting just .217 with a .257 on-base percentage.

Rollins did not start yesterday, the third time this season Manuel has rested Rollins to try to get him going. Tonight is the fourth time this season Rollins has not hit leadoff. (He hit fifth the previous three times.)

While Rollins has hit .217 overall, he has hit .213 in 48 games in the leadoff spot, which ranks 39th out of 41 hitters who qualify for the statistic. His .249 on-base percentage is worst amongst those 41 leadoff hitters. His .294 slugging percentage is tied for 37th with Milwaukee’s Craig Counsell.

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Matt Stairs is attending his daughter’s high school graduation today, which means the Phillies have just three bench players available: Greg Dobbs, Eric Bruntlett and Chris Coste.

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Limited Options

park 2.jpgThe Phillies find themselves in first place in the National League East despite the worst starting pitching in baseball.

Can it continue?

“We’re not going to get very far unless they all step up and pitch the way we think they can pitch,” Phils general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Monday. “It’s something we monitor every day. We haven’t made any decisions as far as changes are concerned. But, of course, when they’re not performing at their normal levels, it is cause for some concern.”

The Phils enter tonight’s game against the Reds at Great American Ball Park with a 6.35 starter’s ERA, which is the highest in baseball.

Right-hander Joe Blanton has a 6.86 ERA, which is the sixth-highest ERA in the Majors. If left-hander Jamie Moyer had enough innings to qualify for the ERA rankings, he would have the highest ERA in the game at 8.15. If right-hander Chan Ho Park had enough innings to qualify with Moyer, he would have the sixth highest ERA at 7.08.

I bring this up (again) only because I’ve been getting plenty of questions about what the Phillies can do to improve the rotation.

And, well, what can they do?

Not much.

“We have to keep our minds open with what ways we can improve our club,” Amaro said. “But at this time, the options that we have internally are not necessarily better options than what we have going right now. If we feel differently, then we’ll make changes, but right now that’s not the case.”

Moyer and Blanton aren’t going anywhere, which means the Phillies have just one option at the moment: replace Park with J.A. Happ. I would not be surprised if Park gets bumped to the bullpen this week after he lasted just 1 1/3 innings Sunday against the Nationals.

“He’s pitched very well out of the bullpen, and we’ve needed him,” Amaro said of Happ. “He’s been effective back there. He’s helped us there. He’s been helping us win games there. The question is whether or not we’re better off having him do his job as well as he has done in the bullpen, or whether we end up weakening our bullpen and adding what may be a question mark in our rotation. Do you weaken two areas just to see? Those are the things you have to factor in.”

In short, the Phillies have to hope Cole Hamels and Brett Myers continue to pitch well, and Moyer and Blanton start pitching better because other than Park, they have what they have.

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Signing catcher Paul Bako to a Minor League deal doesn’t seem like much, but I don’t think it’s completely insignificant either. The Phillies already have Lou Marson and Paul Hoover in the system, so they are not hurting for depth should Carlos Ruiz or Chris Coste get hurt. But I’m thinking Bako not only provides the Phillies a little more depth, but he pushes Coste a little, too.

Of course, Coste is accustomed to that. He always seems to be behind the eight-ball with the Phillies. He had a great Spring Training in 2006, but he didn’t make the Opening Day roster. He eventually joined the team and hit .328 that season, but the Phillies signed Rod Barajas before 2007. Coste experienced no drama in 2008, but struggled offensively late in the season. He was hitting .182 on May 2 this season, but is hitting .455 (5 for 11) in his last four games to boost his average to .236.

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How about that Ryan Church? Doh!

Phillies Are Shopping Paulino

Chris Coste probably can breathe a little easier because a couple sources have said the Phillies are shopping catcher Ronny Paulino.

Read the story here.

Paulino has options, so why not just send him to the Minors? Well, it’s probably because Lou Marson is going to be playing every day in Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Paulino has more value than a backup up Triple-A catcher, and they’re not going to send him to Double-A Reading, either. So they will try to find some value for him. I can’t imagine they would land anybody terribly impressive in return, but at the very least perhaps they could add depth in the Minor Leagues.

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Phillies vs. Braves – 3/11

bright house 0311.jpgCarlos Ruiz and Matt Stairs are back from the World Baseball Classic.

Pedro Feliz, Brad Lidge and Chad Durbin are scheduled to play at noon today in a scrimmage across the street at DiMaggio Field.

Here’s today lineup for the game against the Braves at Bright House Field:

1. Jason Donald, 3B
2. Eric Bruntlett, SS
3. Raul Ibanez, LF
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Jayson Werth, CF
6. John Mayberry Jr., RF
7. Marcus Giles, 2B
8. Carlos Ruiz, C
9. Kyle Kendrick, P

Kendrick is putting him well behind J.A. Happ and Chan Ho Park for the fifth spot in the rotation. He allowed 10 hits and eight runs in three-plus innings, including two two-run home runs to Clint Sammons. Braves pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes followed Sammons, doubling in the second and singling in the fourth.

Not a good day for Kendrick.

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Here is the lineup for the scrimmage across the street, which begins at noon: 1. J.J. Furmaniak, 2B; 2. Chris Coste, C; 3. Pedro Feliz, 3B; 4. Andy Tracy, 1B; 5. Jorge Velandia, SS; 6. Richard Thompson, CF; 7. Chris Walker, LF; 8. Jason Ellison, RF; 9. Mike Cervenak, DH.

Feliz went 1 for 2 with a hit by pitch. Coste went 1 for 2 with a home run and a hit by pitch. Myers allowed two hits and struck out seven in five-plus innings. Park allowed two hits and one run in three innings. He allowed the shomer to Coste. He also allowed Feliz’s single up the middle. Durbin allowed two hits and one run in one inning. He struck out one. Lidge allowed one run in one inning. He allowed a homer to J.J. Furmaniak.

Coste Is In

So much for Wednesday …

Chris Coste checked into today’s game in the top of the seventh inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Bright House Field. He caught two innings and went 0 for 1.

Coste said earlier today that he expected to play in a scrimmage at the Carpenter Complex on Wednesday, but why wait? There are 24 more preseason games (22 Grapefruit League games, plus two games against the Tampa Bay Rays in Philadelphia) before the season opener. That should leave Coste plenty of time to secure his backup job behind Carlos Ruiz.

So far Ronny Paulino, who is competing with Coste for that job, is hitting .231 (3 for 13) with a double, home run and two RBIs this spring.

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Ruiz is expected to rejoin the team Wednesday. Panama was eliminated in just two games at the World Baseball Classic.

Feliz to Play Wednesday?

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said the Phillies will scrimmage at the Carpenter Complex on Wednesday afternoon, and a few players who have not been on the field should be there:

  • Pedro Feliz, who is recovering from lower back surgery.
  • Brad Lidge, who has had some tightness in his right forearm.
  • Chris Coste, who has had tightness in his right hamstring.
  • Chad Durbin, who had tightness in his right hamstring.

Amaro said Feliz has to pass one final test before he can play Wednesday: sliding. But he passes that test and plays Wednesday, obviously that is a sign that he is making progress toward being ready to play Opening Day.

Chase Utley is not expected to play Wednesday.

“Over the next few days, if things go well, hopefully we’ll get him into some games,” Amaro said of Utley.

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The Phillies reassigned the following players to minor-league camp: righthander Yorman Bazardo; infielders Ozzie Chavez, Anthony Hewitt and Terry Tiffee; and outfielders Jeremy Slayden and Chris Walker.

Your Phillies Medical Report

Just a few injury updates for y’all:

Chase Utley (right hip) is taking grounders and BP, but isn’t sure when he’s going to get into a Grapefruit League game. “I’m getting closer,” he said. “But right now no news is good news.” I suppose that’s true. But it sounds like he’s still on schedule to be in the lineup Opening Day.

Pedro Feliz (lower back) is improving, but he said he isn’t sure when he’ll be getting into a game. The Phillies have said they’re “cautiously optimistic” Feliz will be in the lineup Opening Day.

Jayson Werth (right shoulder) said he plans to take BP tomorrow and get into a game Friday.

Chad Durbin (right hamstring) said he is scheduled to throw a bullpen session tomorrow. He could be in a game sometime next week.

Chris Coste (right hamstring) is taking things slowly. He had the same hamstring injury two springs ago. He tired to push it, injured himself further and opened the season on the 15-day disabled list. But as soon as he was activated he was optioned to triple-A Ottawa. He wants to take care of the problem now and have a good three weeks of spring training games to play.

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