Results tagged ‘ Freddy Galvis ’

Betancourt Signs Minor-League Deal

The Phillies announced today they have signed infielder Yuniesky Betancourt to a Minor League contract.

The deal includes an invitation to big-league camp in Clearwater, Fla.

“Just to give us some depth,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “I think that some competition for one of the utility spots. We have Freddy (Galvis) and (Kevin) Frandsen who have a chance to be on the club and so does Yuni. He’s got some experience and background. We’ll see how it goes. It gives us some depth.”

Betancourt, 30, hit .228 with 14 doubles, one triple, seven home runs and 36 RBIs in 57 games last season with the Kansas City Royals. He played 46 games at second base, eight at third base and one at shortstop. He hit .308 with eight doubles, seven home runs and 22 RBIs in 26 games in Winter Ball in Mexico.

Betancourt provides the organization additional infield depth. If healthy, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Michael Young will be the Phillies’ everyday infielders. Frandsen, who hit .338 with an .834 OPS in 55 games last season, and Galvis, who is a defensive whiz, are the favorites to come off the bench.

“I am sort of anxious to see him work out and play and stuff,” Charlie Manuel said of Betancourt. “You know, I have always liked his tools. I think that with the talent that he has, going into spring training, it gives us more competition.”

Also in camp as Non-Roster Invitees are infielders Josh Fields, Pete Orr, Michael Martinez, Andres Blanco and Cody Asche.

In 1,019 games in the big leagues with Seattle, Kansas City and Milwaukee, Betancourt has hit .266 with a .290 on-base percentage, .392 slugging percentage and .682 OPS.

Thursday Notes

A few notes today regarding the Phillies:

  • The Blue Jays claimed right-hander Tyson Brummett off waivers. Brummett spent most of the season with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley before making his big-league debut with the Phillies on Oct. 3.
  • The Phillies outrighted infielder Pete Orr and catcher Steve Lerud from the 40-man roster. The Phillies have 37 players on the roster, plus four players on the 60-day disabled list.
  • Phillies third base prospect Cody Asche is hitting .360 with four doubles and three RBIs in six games in the Arizona Fall League. Infielder Freddy Galvis is hitting .460 with one double, one triple, three home runs and five RBIs in Winter Ball in Venezuela. Outfield prospect Tyson Gillies has hit .467 with one double, one triple and two RBIs in four games in Venezuela. Darin Ruf is hitting .133 in four games in Venezuela.
  • Phillies hitting coach Steve Henderson will wear No. 5 next season. Assistant hitting coach Wally Joyner will wear No. 21. Bullpen coach Rod Nichols will wear No. 54. And third base coach Ryne Sandberg will wear No. 23, assuming catcher Brian Schneider does not return next season.

Utley Won’t Play Third

The Phillies have pulled the plug on the Chase Utley third base experiment.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and manager Charlie Manuel said Friday at Marlins Park that Utley will not play third base before the end of the season, leaving the Phillies’ future at the position murky. Utley initiated the idea of a move from second to third and had been working out there for weeks, but the Phillies decided they could not make a credible evaluation about his ability to play there on a long-term basis in just six games.

“It’s kind of on hold, I guess,” Amaro said. “It’s more of a matter of practicality and what’s really best for the team overall. I think while having that option would be helpful, I don’t know if it’s really an option that’s going to make us necessarily better.”

That seems to put the Phillies in a tough spot.

Amaro has made it clear the free agent market for third basemen is not impressive. It is a list that includes Kevin Youkilis, Scott Rolen and Brandon Inge. The Phillies could try to trade for a third baseman, but good luck getting somebody like Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres. Internally, the Phillies seem to view Kevin Frandsen as a part-time player, while Freddy Galvis, who would have been the team’s second baseman had Utley made the switch, has never played third base.

“It doesn’t really change things all that much,” Amaro insisted. “It can be revisited, with Chase being an option. It just doesn’t make any sense for us to have him out there for six games and think that that’s going to change our minds one way or another. It’s not a dead issue. It’s just kind of unfair to the player and to us to think we can make an evaluation in six games and say, ‘OK, shazam, this guy can play.’ That’s not necessarily fair to him. We’re not good enough scouts to make that determination.”

Amaro and Manuel are meeting with players before the end of the season. They met Friday with Utley and Jimmy Rollins.

Amaro said Utley was OK with their decision to keep him at second.

“He’s fine,” Amaro said. “He only came to us because he thought it might help our club, because he knows it’s an area of need.”

Asked about his No. 1 priority this offseason, Amaro said, “I don’t know if we have a No. 1. I think offense is important to us. I’d like to create some balance from the right side offensively. I think that’s something that would help. Having a healthy Chooch (Carlos Ruiz) would help that, but he gets banged up so we have to be cognizant of that. Third base is an issue we have to deal with. I think while we have some very, very good arms in the bullpen we’ll keep an eye on that as well.”

But Amaro also said the Phillies might need to be creative to fill some holes this offseason. Rather than maybe spending big money on the big name on the free agent market, perhaps they will spend more judiciously.

“I think patience is going to be important throughout this offseason,” he said. “And the reason that I say that is some of the opportunities that will present themselves … none of the opportunities that present themselves, at least at first blush, are all that fantastic. I think we’re going to have to, as far as the availability of all players, I think we’re going to have to be creative to try to improve. There are only a few standout guys out there that would be potential free agents.”

Maybe the Phillies look to Galvis to play third base. They had said Galvis would be the second baseman if Utley played third, so they could simply switch spots.

“He did work out there during Spring Training,” Amaro said. “And overall, pretty good reviews on how he handled it. He didn’t do it in any games. But the man went from short to second and was awesome. And now … I don’t know if it’s that much of a stretch to move him to third base and not think he’d be a plus defender.”

Amaro and Manuel said they would keep the door open on Utley trying third base again. Perhaps Utley will spend his offseason working out there and want to give it a shot in Spring Training.

Perhaps.

“If you stop and think about it, he definitely has a big say in it,” Manuel said. “He has to feel comfortable, really good about it. He would do anything to win, but … we’ll just see. It’ll always be there if we want to do that.”

But for now the Phillies will go into the offseason looking for a third baseman.

Utley at Third? Could Happen Soon

It sounds like Chase Utley will play third base before the end of the season if two things happen:

  1. Utley feels comfortable enough to play there.
  2. The Phillies fall from contention in the National League Wild Card race. That could happen quickly. The Phillies entered Monday’s series opener against the Mets at Citi Field four games out of the second National League Wild Card with just 15 games to play.

“I think I’ve been out there three or four times,” Utley said, referring to his pregame workouts at third base. “Every time I get a little more comfortable. But I think there’s still a lot of work to be done. So far it’s going well. I feel like I’ve progressed a little bit, but there’s still more room for improvement.”

Utley is taking this potential move seriously. He spoke with Ruben Amaro Jr. and Charlie Manuel in Manuel’s office before batting practice. He later spoke with Mets third baseman David Wright behind the batting cage with Wright even crouching into a defensive position as he offered advice.

“I think he’s doing fine,” Amaro said of Utley.

Fine enough to play third base next season?

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Amaro said.

Asked if the Phillies can learn enough about Utley at third base if he plays just a couple games there before the end of the season, Amaro said, “Realistically, I don’t think so. But if he really dedicates himself to doing it, I think the probability of him being able to do it is much higher than it is with other people. I think more than anything else this is finding out if in fact he feels comfortable enough doing it. Having him play third base just gives us another option. And what’s wrong with giving us another option?”

Both Amaro and Manuel agree the Phillies are better defensively in 2013 with Freddy Galvis at second base and Utley at third base, despite the uncertainty of Utley’s ability to play there. Certainly if they feel Utley can play third base it would give the Phillies one less thing to worry about in the offseason, which would be a plus because Amaro said the market for third basemen via trade or free agency is “not very good.”

But here’s the big question: If Utley only plays a couple games at third base and Amaro does not think he can truly evaluate Utley’s ability to play there based on just a couple games, how do the Phillies go into the offseason knowing Utley is their 2013 third baseman?

“I don’t necessarily,” Amaro said. “It becomes riskier. Then you take a risk sometimes. Sometimes it’s OK to take a risk.”

Galvis Suspended 50 Games

Nobody expected this, but in a season that has gone poorly for the Phillies it fit.

Major League Baseball announced today that Freddy Galvis, who has impressed the organization and fans with his brilliant defense and on-field smarts, has been suspended 50 games for testing positive for a metabolite of Clostebol, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

The suspension began today, even with Galvis on the disabled list with a pars fracture in his back that likely would have had him sidelined the next 50 games anyway. Nobody could say if Galvis appealed the league’s decision, but MLB would not make the announcement if Galvis was in the middle of an appeal. Either he lost his appeal or he never appealed.

Not surprisingly, Galvis claimed innocence in a statement:

“A trace amount of a banned substance – 80 parts in a trillion – was detected in my urine sample. I am extremely disappointed in what has transpired. I cannot understand how even this tiny particle of a banned substance got into my body. I have not and never would knowingly use anything illegal to enhance my performance. I have always tried to follow the team’s strength and conditioning methods, listen to the trainers, work out hard and eat right. Unfortunately, the rules are the rules and I will be suspended.”

Galvis later said on Twitter: “Sometimes life isn’t fair… But that’s the way it is… You have to keep moving forward and turn the page.”

Galvis was hitting only .226 with 15 doubles, one triple, three home runs, 24 RBIs and a .617 on-base plus slugging percentage in 58 games before he went on the DL on June 6. He doesn’t fit the mold of the typical bulked-up power hitter, but Galvis credited increased strength over the past year or so for his improved performance at the plate.

Galvis never hit higher than .240 with a .588 OPS in the Minor Leagues before he hit a combined .278 with a .716 OPS with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley last season.

“It’s disappointing,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said in the Phillies dugout before tonight’s series opener against the Rockies at Citizens Bank Park. “We fully support the program and the decision. At the same time we support the player. We just want him to get healthy and get back onto the field for us. … We believe in the kid. I believe in him. I think he’s still got a great future for us moving forward.”

Asked if he believed Galvis’ claim of innocence by mentioning only 80 parts of the banned substance in a trillion were found in his system, Amaro said, “I don’t know anything about those numbers. It’s kind of foreign to me. As I said, I support the player. I can’t really comment on it because I don’t know much about it.”

Galvis was not available to reporters, but Amaro had. He said Galvis was “disappointed.”

Galvis also added in his statement, “I’d like to apologize to my all my fans, especially here in Philadelphia and back home in Venezuela, to my teammates and to the Phillies organization. I am looking forward to putting this behind me, rehabilitating my back and returning to the Phillies as soon as possible to try to help them win another World Series.”

Galvis In Brace 3 Weeks, Out Longer

Doctors in New York concurred that Freddy Galvis has a pars fracture in his lower back.

He will be in a brace for the next three weeks.

“Then we’re going to reexamine him and see where we’re at,” Phillies head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan said before tonight’s game against the Twins at Target Field. “Based on his symptoms and that kind of stuff, we might be able to begin some stuff with him exericise-wise, but we really won’t know a lot more until we get to that time period. The biggest thing right now is just trying to get him comfortable, make him feel better and try to get this thing to heal.”

Sheridan said it is too early to say how much time Galvis will miss, but it should be a significant period of time.

“It’s hard to just go, oh, the season is over,” Sheridan said. “I think a lot just depends on how he responds after the first three weeks.”

Galvis, whose L45 vertebrae is fractured, has had some back issues in the past, most recently in Winter Ball. But he just recently developed the full fracture.

“It’s not an uncommon injury in baseball,” Sheridan said. “You want to treat it appropriately. If you let these go they can progress into other problems.”

Asked if this could bother Galvis in the future, Sheridan said, “I don’t think so. I think it probably changes the way he approaches things going forward.”

Galvis Could Have Back Fracture

The Phillies got bad news today on Freddy Galvis.

Tests revealed Galvis, who the Phillies placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday, might have a pars fracture in his back. He will get a second opinion next week, but if the initial prognosis is confirmed the Phillies said Galvis could miss a considerable amount of time.

“It’s serious,” Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. “From what I understand, it’s a minimum of at least six weeks in a brace.”

Galvis might have injured the back on a swing Wednesday or an acrobatic catch during the same game. But Proefrock also said Galvis might have suffered a back injury during Winter Ball, which might have been a factor in the injury.

Blanton Keeps Winning

A quick turnaround today. The tarp is on the field, but the Phillies and Astros are going to try to play.

If the game is postponed, I’ll let you know via Twitter ASAP.

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Joe Blanton allowed one run in seven innings in last night’s 5-1 victory over Houston. The Phillies have won three of his last four starts, and Blanton has not taken a loss since April 22. What is interesting about that is the Phillies have not won a game Roy Halladay has pitched since April 16 — a stretch of five consecutive starts — and they have not won a game Cliff Lee has pitched all season.

Of course, that is not entirely the fault of Halladay or Lee. The Phillies scored a combined three runs in Lee’s first three starts before the bullpen blew a lead Wednesday against the Mets. Halladay has a 4.59 ERA in his last five starts, but remove that brutal effort against Atlanta on May 2 and he has a 2.89 ERA in the other four.

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Placido Polanco became the 268th player in baseball history to reach 2,000 hits. He is the 17th active player to have 2,000.

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Freddy Galvis had three hits last night. Since he started his career 0-for-12, he is hitting .260 (25-for-96) with nine doubles, one triple, one home run and 15 RBIs. His 15 RBIs rank third on the team. Only Hunter Pence (23) and Carlos Ruiz (23) have more. And that’s more than Placido Polanco (eight) and Jimmy Rollins (six) have combined.

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More and more teams are using the defensive shift, but as of last week the Phillies had employed the defense just once. Sam Perlozzo explains.

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here! Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  • June 16: Barnes & Noble, Wilmington, Del, 2 p.m.

Check out my Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter.

Cover Your Eyes

Freddy Galvis has no reason to hang his head. He has played brilliant defense, and is hitting .214 with four doubles, one home run and five RBIs through 17 games. Those five extra-base hits are tied with Carlos Ruiz for the team lead. Not bad for a guy that had just 121 at-bats above Double-A Reading before this season.

It’s the rest of the offense that has played terribly.

That is why the Phillies clung to the five runs they scored in the ninth inning in last night’s 9-5 loss to the Diamondbacks.

Charlie Manuel called it a morale booster.

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Chase Utley would not offer a timetable for his return, but I would not be surprised if he is back before June 1. He returned to action on May 23 last season, and Utley sure seemed pleased with his progress when we talked to him yesterday. We asked Charlie Manuel if Utley could play some first base upon his return, especially if Ryan Howard is still on the DL. Manuel would not rule out the possibility, but he did not say it was something he was considering, either.

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Rollins Talks Thole Blunder

Jimmy Rollins could not believe his eyes.

In the top of the second inning in last night’s 5-2 loss to the Mets, R.A. Dickey executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance Josh Thole to second base with one out. Phillies first baseman Jim Thome tagged Dickey about halfway up the first-base line and nonchalantly tossed the ball back to Cliff Lee, who believed like everybody else at Citizens Bank Park the play had ended.

In fact, Rollins motioned for Thole that he did not need to slide as he reached second base, which is something he has done since he reached the big leagues whenever there is no play at the base.

“Nice hit,” Thole told Rollins as he reached second, referring to Rollins’ first-inning double.

“Thanks,” Rollins replied.

Then Thole inexplicably turned around and walked back to first base.

(more…)

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