Last week, the Philadelphia Phillies organization traded away left-handed reliever Sergio Escalona to the Houston Astros. And, while it may not mean much right now (Escalona struggled in 2010), the Venezuelan reliever will be missed my many in Baseballtown in another way.
The 2010 R-Phils were an interesting team. The team struggled to play over .500 baseball for most of the year, but the team did have one thing — great chemistry. There is no better way to describe the team chemistry in Reading, than to look at what the team would do after each victory.
One of my favorite things to do as part of my day-to-day duties, is interview players after each game for our website. My videos, which can be seen online here, became a place for R-Phils players to celebrate, and one player in particular to pie his fellow teammates. That one guy was Sergio!
Signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent in 2004, Escalona made his way through the Phillies organization. The young lefty made his Major League debut with the Phillies in 2009, and posted a 1-0 mark with a 4.61 ERA in 14 games. While 2009 was probably his most positive of his career, the 2010 season was certainly not.
After moving through three levels in 2009, Escalona spent the entire 2010 campaign in Baseballtown — posting a 4-8 record with 10 saves in 16 chances, and a 3.81 ERA over 50 games. While he did get off to a great start (April and May were solid months), the 26-year-old struggled through June and July. His worst month was June, where he went 0-1 with just one save and a 7.71 ERA over nine appearances.
But, while all of the inconsistencies in 2010, Escalona remained as the team’s “cheerleader”. When the club won, Sergio was there with a pie. When there was a big moment in a game, and a teammate was being interviewed after the game, Sergio was there — with a pie!
It became expected after each win. It became the norm. It became the highlight of my interviews. It will be missed.
Now, Escalona, who was on the Phillies 40-man roster a week ago, finds himself in Houston, with some familiar faces. And it’s Ed Wade, the former Phillies GM now turned Astros GM, who likes the potential of Escalona.
“Sergio adds depth to the competition for left-handers in our bullpen,” said Wade. “Our scouts have liked his stuff and believe he’s got a chance to be
very effective in left-on-left situations.”
There is a lot of potential in that arm, and if Escalona is able to turn it around, he may become a great lefty specialist at the Major League level. All Major League teams look above and beyond for that tough lefty out of the bullpen. Some stay around the game forever — just look at Arthur Rhodes, who I believe is 65 years old and still going strong!
So while the Phillies added a solid young 2B in the trade (they acquired Alex Cartwright from Houston) now, the search for the next “pie guy” in Reading begins. Who will have a pie ready to go when I interview the player of the game? Who will be there to liven things up in 2011? We’ll see in April — stay tuned!
In case you missed this — check out a compilation of pies from 2010 — “Pies Like Us”.
That’s All Folks!
It may be winter, and Opening
Day in Baseballtown may not be until April 14, but there is a lot of buzz surrounding the
right now. The talk of the town, and the talk
League Baseball has been the upcoming $10
Million Renovations to
America’s Classic Ballpark. What is going to happen to this classic ballpark?
So why all the talk? The reason, is simply this, fans love this ballpark, and they want to know what it will look like when it is all said and done. There is so much history here. Mike Schmidt, Larry Bowa, Roger Maris, Rocky Colavito, & Ryan Howard all played here!
Will it still have the classic feel to it?
Will my experiences over the years be better now? What’s with the team store? Will there
be the same food? Will you add more food?
Those are just some of the questions I have heard over the off-season, and believe me, there are tons more!
Over the last few weeks, the R-Phils have done their best to make fans aware of all the changes — but don’t worry, more updates are on the way!
Back on December 18, the R-Phils invited fans to come out and tour the ballpark. Over 200 excited fans made their way to FirstEnergy Stadium to see the progress. Some were so eager after seeing the ballpark, they bought season tickets right on the spot!
Thanks to the success of the first stadium tour, the R-Phils are working on plans for another tour — and this time it will be bigger! More details on that date will be coming in the near future, so stay tuned!
More announcements are on their way too! What will the team store be named? Just what food will be on the menu each game? Those questions will be answered in the coming days and weeks, so stay tuned!
This morning, R-Phils front office members made their usual trek to work — but today, it was a bit different. The stadium, which has been filled with construction workers, cranes, trucks, and much more since September, was now filled with snow. But, for whatever reason, it had me more excited than ever for baseball this year.
So while I hope I helped you get a bit more excited about the renovations, remember to check out all the great videos and all the latest news! Stay tuned for more updates and make sure to keep an eye on http://www.readingphillies.com all off-season long!
Happy New Year!
I’m back with a new blog — the first of 2011. Here we are, already in January, and things are starting to get busy. Preparations have begun for the season, and of course, one of the most exciting things on the agenda is the Phillies Winter Banquet. This year’s banquet is shaping up to be one of the best yet!
The banquet, which features Major League Baseball and Reading Baseball Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, 2010 Eastern League
All-Star Matt Rizzotti, television play-by-play voice Tom McCarthy, and Philadelphia Phillies assistant general
manager Scott Proefrock, will take place on Tuesday, January 25, 2011
at The Crowne Plaza Reading Hotel.
The event will begin at 5:30 PM, and will feature prizes, autographs,
highlight videos, dinner and more. Also, as in past years, it will
serve as the annual King of Baseballtown fundraiser, with Dick Ludy,
who guided Boyertown Legion baseball to the 1982 American Legion
Baseball World Series championship, being crowned the ninth King of
For more info, including tickets, please check out http://www.readingphillies.com.
Now, let’s take a look at a former R-Phils pitcher, who is in the news this week.
Taylor Buchholz – (2002-2003)
Signed by the New York Mets to a one-year contract earlier this week.
A native of Lower Merion, PA, Buchholz posted a 1-0 mark with a 3.75 ERA in nine Major League games last season (split between Colorado and Toronto).
The 29-year-old right-hander owns a career Major League mark of 19-21 with a 4.39 ERA in 135 games pitched. Once a starter, Buchholz should now be able to provide the Mets with a solid arm out of the bullpen. While he has spent most of the past few years in the Minors, Buchholz could be a good option for the Mets — who need arms badly.
Back in 2002, as a member of the R-Phils, the righty appeared in four games — posting an 0-2 mark. A year later, the PA native notched nine wins, while posting a 3.55 ERA in 25 games — 24 starts.
The Reading Phillies held an exciting event at the ballpark on Saturday, December 18, for fans interested in purchasing season tickets and mini-plans for the 2011 season.
The event, which featured holiday music, hot dogs, hot chocolate, and more, helped spark interest in the upcoming 2011 season — a season which will be like no other in Baseballtown history! Over 300 fans flocked to the ballpark to see the $10 Million Renovations to their beloved stadium — and all 300 left with smiles on their faces.
For over three hours, R-Phils front office members walked fans around the ballpark for a tour of the renovations. All fans who came out that day, got an up-close look at FirstEnergy Stadium. Saturday’s special event was something, the R-Phils say, will probably happen again in the near future!
As everyone knows, America’s Classic Ballpark will look better than ever before, thanks to the $10 Million Renovations this offseason. Set to be done in time for the 2011 home opener (April 14), the R-Phils staff members were pleased to be able to show fans what they can expect on that exciting Thursday night in April.
Check out this video, which was put together by R-Phils video director Andy Kauffman, from Saturday’s event.
Stay tuned for more exciting news out of Baseballtown! News on the R-Phils Team Store coming soon!
Welcome back to “Philling You In”, the only blog dedicated to everything Reading Phillies! The Winter Meetings are over, even though it’s not technically winter yet, and hot stove baseball is heating up by the day!
Last week, the Phillies made a huge splash by signing Cliff Lee — giving them perhaps the greatest rotation in the history of the sport. It will definitely be interesting to see the Big Phour take the hill.
As I was looking for a blog topic, I noticed late last night that the Braves and Yohan Flande agreed on a minor league contract. Flande, 25, was also invited to spring training. Two weeks ago, I wrote about Flande in-depth, after his release from the Phillies organization. You can view that blog entry here.
With that, it’s time for your weekly update on former R-Phils who are in the news. Also, if you would like a list of all the former R-Phils, please take a look at the R-Phils All-Time Roster.
Steve Roadcap ’09-’10 — Signed by the Cincinnati Reds as a professional scout.
Former R-Phils manager Steve Roadcap, who guided the R-Phils to a playoff appearance in 2009, was signed by the Cincinnati Reds as a scout. Roadcap posted a 144-139 mark over his two years in Baseballtown.
A former Major League catcher, “Roadie” spent five years as a manager in the Phillies organization. He had a record of .500 or better in three of his five years. Mark Parent was named as the next R-Phils manager back in November. Parent led Lakewood to the SAL championship in 2010.
Marlon Anderson ‘(96-’97) — Named hitting coach of the Hagerston Suns (Class-A affliate of the Washington Nationals.
Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2nd round of the 1995 draft, Anderson spent 12 seasons in the ‘Bigs, and compiled a .265 batting average with six teams. The former infielder/outfielder made his Major League debut on September 8, 1998 with the Philadelphia Phillies — launching a pinch-hit home run off Mets reliever Mel Rojas during his first-ever Major League at-bat. He had 43 at-bats that year in the Majors, and hit .326 with one home run and four RBIs.
A native of Montgomery, AL, Anderson spent 1996 and 1997 in Baseballtown, and was a solid contributor for the R-Phils. In 1997, he hit .266 with 10 home runs, 62 RBIs, and 27 stolen bases. A year later, as a member of the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, Anderson was named the International League Rookie of the Year.
Throughout his career, Anderson was one of the best clutch hitters in the game. While he never really had a position, he proved to be a valuable player on many different teams over the years. His new position as hitting coach should be perfect for him. He will probably get to work with future superstar Bryce Harper — which should be great for the Nats top prospect. Maybe someday we’ll see Marlon back in the Phillies organization – stay tuned!
Brandon Duckworth — ’00 & ’03 (R) — Signed to a Minor League contract by the Boston Red Sox
Duckworth spent the 2000 season in Baseballtown, and a year later, made his Major League debut with the Phillies. After being part of the Billy Wagner trade in 2003, Duckworth was out of the organization. He would, however return in 2010, spending the entire campaign in Lehigh Valley.
Now, the former Major Leaguer has signed on with the Boston Red Sox, and should help — if healthy, at the Minor League level.
Back to blogging, but first off, how about this cold weather? This is only the beginning to the winter season, and man is it COLD!
Anyways, things are moving along in the baseball world — especially this week with the Winter Meetings. It’s a great time of year for rumors, trades, free agent signings, and everything else associated with getting ready for the 2011 season. I wish I was in Orlando so that I could be a part of the excitement — but for now, I’ll follow all the news from Reading.
Let’s take a look at some news and notes around the Phillies organization — enjoy!
Yohan Flande – Flande, who spent the entire 2010 season with the R-Phils and posted a 10-8 mark with a 4.38 ERA in 27 starts, was released by Philadelphia on Tuesday. The 24-year-old, who was a member of the Phillies 40-man roster, allowed 178 hits over 158.1 IP.
Here are some more notes on Flande from the 2010 season:
Made 27 starts and went six or more innings 19
times… Led the club with 4.38 ERA… Posted a 7-3 mark with a 2.93 ERA in away games (13 games)… Had a
season-high seven strikeouts in his final start of the season (9/2 vs. NBR)…
Won back-to-back starts (8/10 @ AKR) and (8/17 vs. AKR)… Posted a 1.52 ERA in
April (4 starts)…
It will be interesting to see where Flande ends up. Before the 2010 season, the Dominican native posted a 27-15 mark with a 2.78 ERA in 76 games in the minors. Originally signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent in 2004, Flande pposted a 7-1 record with a 2.52 ERA with Clearwter in 2009 — before his promotion to Reading.
Among his accomplishments in 2009, the lefty was named as the Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Week twice, Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Month for Apriil, and was a Florida State midseason All-Star. Also in ’09, Flande pitched for the World Team at the MLB Futures Game in St. Louis.
The Phillies also released RHP Jesus Sanchez, who was also a member of the Phillies 40-man roster. Obtained by the Phillies in the Bobby Abreu deal in 2006, Sanchez, 23, posted a 9-7 record with a 2.99 ERA for Clearwater in 2010. The release of both young pitchers opens up two spots on the Phillies 40-man roster.
The Rule 5 Draft is Thursday, let’s see what happens next!
Back in the swing of things, and one day away from December 1, I’m back with the latest updates from around Baseballtown.
Last week was a busy week around the organization. The most important news coming out of the week, however, was the fact the R-Phils now have a manager to lead them into 2011 — former Major League catcher Mark Parent.
Here’s his bio:
Mark Parent, 49, begins his second season in the Philadelphia
Phillies organization, and will become the 24th manager in Reading
Phillies history when he takes the field in 2011. In 2010, as the
first-year manager of Single-A Lakewood, the Ashland, Oregon native led
the BlueClaws to an 84-55 record and a South Atlantic League
championship – the club’s second in as many seasons.
Originally drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 4th round of the 1979
MLB Draft, Parent played 13 Major League seasons before retiring after
the 1998 campaign. Over his 13-year career, he spent time with the San
Diego Padres, Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs,
Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Tigers, and Philadelphia Phillies. His best
offensive season came in 1995, when he mashed 18 home runs and 38 RBIs
as a member of both the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs (sent to
the Pirates as part of a conditional deal on August 31).
As we inch closer to the season, I’ll have more with our manager. Expect an interview in the near future, and much more. I look forward to working him and the rest of our staff (Bob Milacki – pitching coach, Frank Cacciatore – hitting coach, and Chris Mudd — athletic trainer) in 2011.
Friday was a busy day around the Phillies organization. While we haven’t even made it to Thanksgiving yet, it seems the Phils are making headlines everyday with some sort of news. Let’s take a look back at just what is going on around the organization.
First, the Phillies announced on Friday that they invited 12 players to spring training. Tagg Bozied, who spent the 2010 season in Baseballtown, and finished with a league-best .315 batting average, was among the 12 invitees. Bozied was a staple in the R-Phils lineup, and hit 27 home runs and drove-in 92 RBIs. Among the notable names receiving an invite include, Josh Barfield, Brandon Moss, Eddie Bonine, and Dan Meyer.
Second, the Phillies added five players to their 40-man roster, which put the roster at the limit. Four of the five players spent 2010 in Baseballtown. Here’s a look at the four who played for the R-Phils in 2010, along with my end of the season notes on each…
Justin De Fratus — Promoted to Reading
(A+) on 7/7… Appeared in 20 games… Saved six games in seven chances… Posted a
1-0 mark, 2.05 ERA with five saves on the road (18 games)… Lefties hit just
.140 against him, while righties hit .250… With RISP, batters hit just .125 (16
AB)… With RISP w/2 outs, batters hit .000 (0-9, 1 BB)… Posted a 1-0 mark with
one save and a 1.64 ERA in July (8 games)… Posted a 1-0 mark with six saves and
a 1.59 ERA after the All-Star break (18 games)…
Freddy Galvis – Led the Eastern League with a .982 fielding %…
Had the most putouts (220), most assists (393), and total chances (624) for all
E.L. shortstops… Hit .280 with two home runs and 42 RBIs with RISP… Hit .295
with RISP/ 2outs (61 at-bats)… Had at least three hits in eight games,
including a season high four-hit game on 4/27 vs. Harrisburg… Had 24 multi-hit games…
Harold Garcia – Promoted to Reading
on 7/7 from Clearwater
(A+)… Had four RBIs on 7/28 @ RIC… Had
20 multi-hit games… Had a 13-game hit
streak from 7/28-8/10… Had 11 at-bats as a third baseman and hit .364 (4-11)…
Hit .312 batting second, while just .233 batting first… Hit .368 with one home
run and 28 RBIs with RISP (57 ABs)… Four of his five home runs were solo home
runs… Had a four-hit game on 7/28… Scored at least two runs in a game five
times… Stole two bases in a game twice… Had an RBI in five-straight games
(8/28-31)… Hit .313 with two home runs and 17 RBIs over 23 games in July…
Matt Rizzotti — Named to the Eastern League Season Ending All-Star team… Won an Eastern
League Player of the Month award for the month of June… Eastern League Player
of the Week for the week-ending June 27… Was an Eastern League All-Star, and participated
in the E.L. Home Run Derby…
Named as a Philadelphia
Phillies Minor League Player of the Month for May… Hit .377 in May (17 games)
with four home runs and 14 RBIs… Hit two home runs and drove-in five RBIs on
5/26… Hit .369 in June with seven home runs and 24
RBIs (27 games)… Had a season-high two home runs and five RBIs on 5/26… Had a
five-hit game on 7/26 @ RIC… Had 28-multi-hit games… Had at least two RBIs in a
game 14 times… Hit .364 with 11 home runs and 57 RBIs with runners on base… Hit
.368 with six home runs and 46 RBIs with RISP…
Congrats to Tagg Bozied, who was among 12 players invited to Spring Training by the Phillies earlier today, as announced by Phillies Assistant GM Scott Proefrock.
I am going to work on a piece about Bozied, who was very impressive in his first campaign in Baseballtown. He led the Eastern League with a .315 batting average, and was named as Double-A Hitter of the Year by MiLB. More to come on Tagg a bit later.
For now, below is the press release straight from Philadelphia.
The Phillies have invited 12 players to Spring Training as
Here are their names and bios from the Phillies
- Josh Barfield, INF … Barfield, 27, spent last
season with triple-A Portland in the San Diego Padres organization
where he batted .294 with five home runs and 36 RBI in 78 games. For
his major league career, he has hit .264 with 16 home runs and 112 RBI
in 309 games between the Padres (2006) and Cleveland Indians (2007-09).
Barfield’s father, Jesse, spent 12 seasons in the majors between the
Blue Jays and Yankees from 1981-92.
- Eddie Bonine, RHP … The 29-year-old Bonine spent
his first full season in the major leagues with Detroit where he went
4-1 with a 4.63 ERA in 47 appearances (one start). A Rule 5 draft
selection of the Tigers in 2005, Bonine set career highs in wins,
appearances and innings (68.0) in 2010. In 62 career appearances in the
majors, he has posted a 7-3 record with a 4.74 ERA.
- Tagg Bozied, INF/OF … In 104 games for double-A
Reading last season, Bozied, 31, batted .315 and led all Phillies minor
leaguers with 27 home runs and 92 RBI. The Eastern League All-Star also
led the league in batting average, on-base percentage (.402) and
slugging percentage (.631). Bozied appeared at both first and third
base as well as left and right field for Reading.
- Ryan Feierabend, LHP … Feierabend, 25, spent
last season between three levels of the Seattle Mariners organization
after missing the entire 2009 season due to “Tommy John” surgery. In
2010, he appeared in 25 games (24 starts) and went 5-8 with a 5.14 ERA
between triple-A Tacoma, double-A West Tennessee and single-A High
Desert. Feierabend has appeared in 25 major league games (19 starts),
all for Seattle (2006-08).
- Erik Kratz, C … In 70 games last season for
triple-A Indianapolis in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, Kratz,
30, hit .274 with nine home runs and 41 RBI. The native of Telford, PA,
batted .336 over a 36-game span in May and June to earn a promotion to
Pittsburgh in July. Kratz collected two hits in his big league debut,
July 17 against Houston.
- Jeff Larish, INF … Larish, 28, split last season
between four teams in the Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics
organizations. He began the year with triple-A Toledo and appeared in
three games with the Tigers in late July before being claimed off
waivers by the A’s on August 3. After playing in eight games with
triple-A Sacramento, he finished the season with the A’s where he
appeared in 24 contests. Following the season, Larish, a .224 hitter
with eight home runs and 32 RBI in 101 major league games, played for
Leones del Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League.
- Dan Meyer, LHP … A native of Woodbury, N.J.,
Meyer, 29, spent last year in the Florida Marlins organization. He
spent the majority of the season with triple-A New Orleans where he
went 1-2 with two saves and a 3.38 ERA in 32 games. In 2009, Meyer
appeared in a career-best 71 games for the Marlins, posting a 3.09 ERA
and holding opponents to a .219 batting average. For his major league
career, he has gone 3-9 with two saves and a 5.46 ERA in 103 games
(seven starts) for Atlanta (2004), Oakland (2007-08) and Florida
- Matt Miller, OF … A Pacific Coast League
All-Star in 2010, Miller, 27, hit .325 with 10 home runs and 81 RBI in
136 games for triple-A Colorado Springs. He led the team in hits (165)
and runs scored (90) and finished second in RBI. Miller finished the
season with a .345 batting average with runners in scoring position.
- Brandon Moss, OF … Moss, 27, spent the majority
of the 2010 season with triple-A Indianapolis where he batted .266 with
22 home runs and 96 RBI in 136 games. He led the team in several
offensive categories including hits (133), home runs, RBI and runs
scored (73). In 2008, Moss was a part of the three-team trade between
the Red Sox, Dodgers and Pirates that included Manny Ramirez and Jason
Bay. For his major league career, Moss has hit .238 with 15 home runs
and 78 RBI in 244 games between the Red Sox (2007-08) and Pirates
- Pete Orr, INF … Orr, 31, hit .264 with 12 home
runs and 45 RBI in 137 games for triple-A Syracuse in the Washington
Nationals organization. He led the team in hits (129), doubles (32) and
runs scored (63). For his major league career, Orr has hit .260 with
three home runs and 35 RBI in 347 games for the Braves (2005-07) and
- Juan Perez, LHP … The 32-year-old Perez spent
last season with triple-A Albuquerque in the Los Angeles Dodgers
organization where he was 4-3 with one save and a 2.96 ERA in 45
appearances. For his major league career, he is 0-1 with a 5.17 ERA in
24 games for Pittsburgh (2006-07). Perez is currently pitching for
Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican Winter League.
- Dane Sardinha, C … Sardinha, 31, was also a
non-roster invitee to Phillies spring training in 2010. He spent the
majority of his season with triple-A Lehigh Valley where he hit .207
with five home runs and 24 RBI in 67 games. Sardinha also appeared in
13 games for the Phillies and belted his first major league home run in
his debut with the team on June 24 against Cleveland.
So far, it has been another exciting week here in Baseballtown. The $10 Million Renovations are well underway, and progress is really being made quickly here at America’s Classic Ballpark. I am really getting excited for 2011. I can’t wait for April 14, 2011 — the home opener!! Let the countdown to Opening Day begin…
This week, the R-Phils gave fans another great reason to come out to Reading in 2011 with the announcement of the brand-new Weston Center Perfect Smiles Stage. Entertainment will be taken to a new level and I’m really looking forward to all the new possibilities right here at FirstEnergy Stadium.
There are so many other great additions coming to America’s Classic Ballpark, and a great way to keep up with the $10 Million Renovations during the off-season, is to check out the latest videos from R-Phils Video Director Andy Kauffman — great stuff! Make sure you check out his latest masterpiece — a video thanking the construction workers. Even the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor makes an appearance in this one!
Also, another great way to stay up-to-date with the Renovations is to take a tour of the ballpark. That’s right, you can even come out and see things first-hand! As a fan, there are so many ways to stay up-to-date this off-season! We look forward to keeping you in-the-loop. Thanks for your support!
On a personal note, yesterday (November 16), was my one-year anniversary with the R-Phils, and I couldn’t be happier to begin my second year here. Year one was everything I could have hoped for, and I am looking forward to embarking on an exciting year two! Thanks to everyone who has made that possible.