Results tagged ‘ Terry Francona ’

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.”

Hamels Pitching Like An Ace Again

hamels 0613 2010.jpgIf Roy Halladay is the Phillies’ ace, what is Cole Hamels?

Hamels earned the ace label during the 2008 postseason, but lost it during a disappointing 2009. I felt like I was in the minority (based on the ridiculous booing I heard during some of Hamels’ earlier starts this season), but I never worried about him. Hamels threw a ton of pitches and a ton of innings in 2008, and for a young pitcher it meant Hamels likely would struggle in 2009. He did. But after a rigorous off-season program, Hamels is looking once again like ace material.

He allowed five hits and one run and struck out eight in seven innings today in a badly needed 5-3 victory over the Red Sox.

His fastball often hit 96 mph, which was impressive. But the most impressive thing I saw? Hamels kept cool after Jayson Werth dropped a fly ball for a “double” and after Victor Martinez walked following a grueling 15-pitch at-bat to start the sixth inning. Hamels struck out Adrian Beltre, got David Ortiz to ground into a fielder’s choice and got Mike Lowell to fly out to end the inning.

“After Victor’s at-bat, there was a lot of, I don’t want to say excuses or reasons [Hamels could have slipped], but for him to do what he did after that, I think shows even more the type of pitcher he is,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “That was an unbelievable at-bat and in a lot of ways, maybe takes something out of a pitcher. We still couldn’t get it done. He’s a good pitcher that pitched a great game.”

Hamels has a 2.77 ERA in his last eight starts. If the offense ever gets on track and Halladay and Hamels keep doing what they’re doing, the Phillies will look especially dangerous in October.

Of course, October is a long way away, and if the last several weeks has showed us anything, nothing should be taken for granted. But Hamels is pitching well, which should give fans one less thing to worry about.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

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