Results tagged ‘ Ruben Amaro Jr. ’

Carrera In, Inciarte Out

Ezequiel CarreraThe Phillies believe they have found a more suitable fifth outfielder than Rule 5 Draft pick Ender Inciarte.

Today they claimed outfielder Ezequiel Carrera off waivers. He hit .272 with six doubles, three triples, two home runs, 11 RBIs, eight stolen bases and a .707 OPS in 158 plate appearances last season with the Indians. The Phillies designated Inciarte for assignment to make room for Carrera on the 40-man roster.

Carrera, 25, is expected to be with the Phillies in time for Wednesday’s game against the Braves at Turner Field.

“He’s got a little more experience,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “Offensively, he’s a little more advanced than Inciarte right now. Inciarte may have been a little better all-around defender, although we think Ezequiel’s got more speed. But his versatility and speed were important to us. Again, this is the 25th man, but we think we’ve marginally improved.”

The Phillies selected Inciarte in the Rule 5 Draft from the Diamondbacks. He impressed with his glove and speed early in Spring Training, although a couple errors late last month convinced the Phillies they needed more seasoned help in the outfield, especially considering Inciarte had never played above Class A in the Minor Leagues.

Because Inciarte, who did not play in Monday’s season opener, is a Rule 5 pick, the Phillies were required to keep him on the 25-man roster the entire season or risk losing him. If a team claims Inciarte off waivers they also must keep him on the 25-man roster the entire season. But if he clears waivers, the Diamondbacks have the option of bringing him back, although they would have to pay the Phillies $25,000, half of what the Phillies paid to select him in the draft.

“We didn’t like the idea of having to lose Inciarte as a result of this,” Amaro said. “But this is part of the game.”

The Diamondbacks are expected to reclaim Inciarte, although Amaro said they will try to work out a trade.

Indians manager Terry Francona said during Spring Training they knew they would lose Carrerra, who can play all three outfield positions, if they placed him on waivers.

“His speed impacts the game,” he said last month. “He’s got the ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark occasionally. He can be an interesting part of the bench, when he can change a game with his speed. He’s a good little player.”

Betancourt Released; Galvis and Frandsen Win Jobs

Yuniesky BetancourtThe Phillies opened Spring Training last month with jobs available in the bullpen, outfield and infield.

They settled on their utility infielders today.

They announced they had released Yuniesky Betancourt as requested. He had hit .447 (21-for-47) with three doubles, one home run, 14 RBIs, a .451 on-base percentage and a .574 slugging percentage in 18 Grapefruit League games. The Phillies had signed Betancourt to a Minor League contract with an opt-out clause, stating they had to place him on the big-league roster by Sunday or release him if he requested it. His agent Alex Esteban said Betancourt officially requested his release.

The Phillies essentially chose Freddy Galvis and Kevin Frandsen over Betancourt.

“This was the evaluation, right or wrong, of what we thought was best for our club,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “Better to have this decision — too many players — than not having enough.”

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Amaro, Dubee Opine on Halladay’s Saturday

Roy Halladay’s start yesterday in a Minor League game at Carpenter Complex drew plenty of attention.

He has had a rough month, struggling in starts because of dead arm, lethargy and illness, respectively. Then 11 of the 18 batters he faced yesterday reached base. He got just three swings and misses, with Triple-A hitters from the Toronto Blue Jays hitting numerous balls hard. His fastball consistently hit 87-89 mph on the radar gun, hitting 90 mph once in the first inning. He officially allowed three runs, although he had the bases loaded with two outs when the first inning got cut short after he reached his pitch limit.

Halladay insisted he felt fine and will be ready to go April 3 in Atlanta.

“He was OK,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said.

“After what he’s gone through, he was fine,” Rich Dubee said. “I’m not looking for results right now. The good part was he threw 80 pitches, he felt strong and felt like he could have thrown more. The arm slot was fine. He’s a ways from repeating it. Do you see anybody at their level yet? He’s not where he’s going to be yet. But I thought the velocity for not having pitched was good. He sat 88 to 90 consistently and finished the game at 89 almost 80 pitches into it. So arm-strength wise, that was good and he feels like there is more there. I think the more we get it right, the more it will come out.”

Ruf Optioned to Work on Defense

Darin RufDarin Ruf smiled brightly as he touched home plate this afternoon at Bright House Field.

He had just smashed a baseball onto the thatched roof of the mini-tiki bar in left field for a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Phillies a 7-6 victory over the Braves. The ball bounced off the roof, out of the ballpark and onto the MLB Network satellite truck below. It was a nice moment for Ruf, who had struggled early this spring as he competed for a job in the Phillies outfield. But before Ruf had a chance to enjoy the moment, the Phillies called him into manager Charlie Manuel’s office and optioned him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

“I’ll be pulling for him,” Manuel said. “I think there’s a good chance we’ll see him here (this season). It depends on how our offense goes. He’s capable of being a really good hitter.”

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Young Progressing, But Timetable Remains Unclear

Delmon YoungThe Phillies said last month they hoped to see Delmon Young play in a Spring Training game before they headed north to Philadelphia on March 28.

That is not going to happen, but Young continues to progress from microfracture surgery on his right ankle in November. He worked out in the outfield for the first time today. He also ran the bases with the athletic training staff monitoring him.

Ruben Amaro Jr. said Young could face live pitching in a simulated game sometime in the next week.

“I’m just going day by day,” Young said before his workout. “If I feel good then we’ll keep going along. If I don’t then we’ll back off. I really don’t know yet. But I feel good. I’m happy with the progress. You want everything to happen right away, but you know it’s going to take time to build back up.”

Amaro said there remains a chance Young will rejoin the Phillies before May 1, but he wouldn’t say if his timetable has been pushed back or not.

Betancourt Decision Coming Soon

Yuniesky Betancourt

Ruben Amaro Jr. said today the competition for the team’s two utility infield jobs remains wide open with less than a week remaining before they need to make a decision.

Freddy Galvis, Kevin Frandsen and Yuniesky Betancourt are fighting for those jobs, but because Betancourt has an opt-clause he must be informed by Sunday if he has made the 25-man roster. If he has not, he can ask to be released.

Galvis is hitting .273 (15-for-55) with six doubles, one triple, two home runs and eight RBIs. He is the best defender of the three, and Charlie Manuel has been vocal in his support. Frandsen has had a good spring offensively, hitting .298 (14-for-47) with four doubles, one triple, two home runs and six RBIs. Betancourt went 4-for-5 with a double and two RBIs in today’s 17-10 loss to the Braves at Champion Stadium. He is hitting .450 (18-for-40) with three doubles and nine RBIs.

“I think they’ve all played well enough to be on our club, so it has to be wide open,” Amaro said, “Defense is still important, but obviously it’s the total package of the player. All three of them have played very well. I’m happy with all three of them.”

Asked if he can make up his mind in the next six days, Manuel said, “I can make up my mind in two seconds.”

But has he?

“No, I haven’t,” Manuel said. “Everything comes into play. It kind of depends on where we want to go and what we see on our team. Really. We’ve got a good battle there, man.”

Phillies: Doc Sick, But Otherwise Heathy

Roy HalladayRoy Halladay is still sick.

He lasted just one inning yesterday in a Grapefruit League game against the Orioles at Bright House Field. That followed 2 2/3 innings Tuesday, when he struggled terribly and said he felt lethargic because of a more intense workout program and because he threw two bullpen sessions in between starts.

Everybody maintains Halladay is healthy, other than the illness that got the best of him.

“We’ve just got to get him healthy so we can get him back on the mound,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said today at Champion Stadium, referring to Halladay’s sickness.

Understandably, there are many skeptics out there. Halladay struggled in 2012, fighting back and shoulder problems. He pronounced himself fit during a press conference in February. He looked pretty good in his first two Grapefruit League starts before seeing a drop in velocity in his third. His fourth start Tuesday raised red flags.

“Obviously we want to get him on the mound and get him his reps, but we can’t do anything about him being sick,” Amaro said.

Asked again if Halladay is healthy, Amaro said, “Yeah. There is no indication that he’s suffering from any discomfort or anything like that. That’s good.”

Asked if he is confident Halladay can make 30-33 starts this season, he said, “I am. Listen, we’ll find out as he continues to pitch, but Doc’s confident and we’re confident in him. We’ll just have to see how it plays out. Right now we’re more concerned about him getting healthy so he can get back on the mound.”

Delmon Young to Step Up Rehab

Delmon YoungDelmon Young took the redeye from Los Angeles to Tampa last night, and showed up in the Phillies clubhouse early this morning at Bright House Field. He came straight from the airport to the clubhouse after sleeping on the plane.

He took batting practice with his teammates a short time later.

“That was the first time I had someone throwing to me since the last World Series game,” he said.

That must have been nice, right?

“It’s batting practice,” he said. “I really don’t care too much to hit on the field.”

But Young got good news in Los Angeles, where the doctor that performed the microfracture surgery on his right ankle in November told him that he can progress his rehab. That includes full-weight bearing on the treadmill, participating in batting practice and standing in the right field to get acclimated to fly balls. That does not include shagging or making lateral movements, although that could come in the next week or so.

He didn’t get the fuss as he answered a few questions about his rehab and trip to L.A. in front of his locker today.

“You guys trying to write a soap opera here or something?” he said.

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Betancourt Could Get A Job On Phillies Bench

Yuniesky BetancourtThe Phillies signed Yuniesky Betancourt to a Minor League contract in January, and my Twitter feed quickly filled with stunned-and-confused comments about it. I guess it’s one of those things that happens these days. The Phillies sign a guy for organizational depth at relatively low cost and minimal risk and people freak out because he has a career .290 on-base percentage.

I mean, we’re talking about the 25th man on the big-league roster or Lehigh Valley’s possible everyday shortstop, but whatever …

But an interesting thing is happening in Clearwater: Betancourt is playing well and he could get one of the team’s two utility infield jobs.

Read the entire story here.

What is especially interesting about the battle among Betancourt, Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis is Betancourt has an earlier than usual opt-out clause for March 24. The Phillies must tell Betancourt by that date if he has made the 25-man roster. If he has not made the team, he can ask to be released. March 24 is a full week before the Phillies play their final exhibition game, so the Phillies will have to decide on that before they theoretically come to conclusions about the final three bullpen jobs or outfield situation. Like I wrote yesterday, I would not be surprised to see Betancourt and Frandsen start the season with the team. Galvis can be optioned to Triple-A, where he could get more seasoning with the IronPigs. Meanwhile, Betancourt and Frandsen can show what they’ve got with the Phillies. If either struggles, the Phillies could recall Galvis at that point.

Interestingly, Ruben Amaro Jr. said Betancourt’s ability to play defense is key. That’s interesting because Galvis unquestionably is the best defensive player of the three, but the fact he has options and the others don’t could tilt the jobs in their favor.

“You could probably say right now, even though he’s a young player, he’d probably be the most reliable guy [defensively],” Amaro said of Galvis. “But again, Yuniesky has got a lot of experience. It depends on how [Betancourt] performs. We’re not making any decisions today. We don’t have to make any decision for several weeks, so we’re OK.”

Will your head explode if Betancourt makes the team? If you said yes, take a deep breath and relax. Like I said, we’re talking about the last bench player here. The Phillies won the World Series with So Taguchi‘s .580 OPS on the bench in 2008. They won a National League pennant with Eric Bruntlett‘s .462 OPS on the bench in 2009. And they won a franchise-record 102 games with Michael Martinez‘s .540 OPS on the bench in 2011.

I’m not really sure which way the Phillies will go, but Betancourt is playing well enough early to make the front office think long and hard about it.

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MLB.com’s Richard Justice takes a look at the Phillies’ revamped bullpen.

Schwimer Traded to Toronto

Michael SchwimerThere is more to the Michael Schwimer trade than just a glut of relief pitchers in Phillies camp.

The Phillies announced today they traded Schwimer to the Blue Jays for Minor League first baseman Art Charles. Ruben Amaro Jr. said they shipped Schwimer to Toronto because they had depth in the bullpen, they needed to anticipate future roster moves and they needed power at the Minor League level. But Schwimer had fallen out of favor with the organization after he disputed the Phillies’ decision to send him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley in August, claiming he was injured, although there also had been other issues.

It might be more accurate to call this trade addition by subtraction.

“He’s a great kid,” said Amaro, when asked if last season’s dispute sparked the trade. “There’s nothing wrong with Schwim.”

Schwimer said he agreed, but added one caveat.

“The Phillies want to win period so they’re not going to let any petty differences affect them wanting to win,” he said. “So in my opinion I think that had absolutely zero effect.”

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