Atlanta Braves Sign Big Piece Ryan Howard to Minor League Deal! 

MLB reports that the Atlanta Braves have signed former Phillies’ 1B Ryan Howard to a contract!


The report states that Howard will report to Braves’ extended spring training in Kissamee then to AAA Gwinnett in Georgia.

Guess those $80k in doorknobs won’t pay for themselves! If you want to see the nicest house of any minor league player, you can see my article HERE! (Complete with video!)

Ladies and Gentlemen Your 2017 Clearwater Threshers 

It is a warm night here in Clearwater with a strong breeze coming in off the Gulf of Mexico, a perfect night for the season ticket holder annual introduction to the team party. 


You can watch the video HERE.

The staff as announced is:

  • Shawn Williams, Manager
  • Aaron Fultz, Pitching Coach
  • Rob Deucy, Hitting Coach
  • Mike Hedta, Trainer
  • Mike Lynch, Strength and Conditioning 

Pitchers:

  • Tommy Berjans 
  • Ranfi Casimiro 
  • Austin Davis
  • Seranthony Dominguez 
  • Edgar Garcia
  • Tyler Gilbert
  • Cole Irvin
  • Franklyn Kilome 
  • Luke Leftwich
  • Blake Quinn
  • Jeff Singer
  • Jose Taveras
  • Alberto Tirado
  • Jacob Waguespack

Catchers:

  • Austin Bossart
  • Deivi Grullon
  • Gregory Rivero

Infielders:

  • Grenny Cumana
  • Wilson Garcia
  • Jan Hernandez 
  • Emmanuel Marrero
  • Drew Stankiewicz 
  • Damek Tomcha

Outfielders:

  • Zach Coppola
  • Mark Laird
  • Jose Pujols
  • Cornelius Randolph
  • Herlis Rodriguez 

List of “Unaccounted For” Phillies Minor League Players

As a blogger and Phillies fan, this has been one of the most difficult years. There has been very little information released by the team as to whom they have released. They have not been forthcoming with any of this information. 

In fact, the final rosters were not even made available to the general public. I luckily have a number of eyes on the inside who provided a copy of the roster I posted earlier. 

Baseball Ross and I have spent the last hour or so pouring over all the rosters that have been released this year and compared it to the final assignments to come up with a list of players that are “Missing in Action”. I hesitate to say released as there is no official word and for all we know the player could have been sent back to the Dominican academy or retired and it’s not fair to say “released”. So here is the list of players that are no longer on any of the rosters.

Pitchers:

  • Jesse Beal RHP
  • Kale Fultz RHP
  • Scott Harris LHP
  • Scott Hoffman RHP
  • Carlos Indriago RHP
  • Ulises Joaquin RHP
  • Jordan Kurakawa RHP
  • Will Morris RHP
  • Jose Nin RHP
  • Geury Ortiz RHP 
  • Oskerelly Sanchez LHP
  • David Whitehead RHP

Position Players:

  • Luis Espiritu INF
  • Daniel Garner C
  • Christian Marrero OF
  • Luke Maglich OF
  • Evan Rogers INF

THE PHILLIES MINOR LEAGUE ROSTERS HAVE BEEN POSTED!

Thanks to a dear friend, I have a copy of the newly posted final rosters! I have not had time to go over them and see who was released.

So here you go:

Note:

* denotes a left-handed player

# denotes a switch hitter/pitcher

Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson Makes a Rehab Appearance

While I was raised in Pennsylvania, since moving to Dunedin, the spring training home of the Toronto Blue Jays, I’ve grown to have a soft spot for “Canada’s Team”. They are my favorite American League team.

A dear friend who blogs about the Jays messaged me last night saying he had heard that Josh Donaldson was going to play in a minor league game. My interest was piqued.

Here’s the thing, while the Jays were playing the Phillies, there was no way to know what team Donaldson would play for. There were 4 teams to choose from, the low A teams at the Jays’ complex and the AA and AAA teams at the Phillies. While the logical choice would think AAA, since they were playing at the Carpenter Complex, would they have Donaldson play with the A kids so that he would stay at their training facility? I took a chance and went to the AAA game at the Carpenter Complex. The Jays’ bus arrived. No Donaldson. Shucks. I debated driving the 5 miles (back) to Dunedin but since we had come in Baseball Ross’ car, I stayed. I was rewarded when they posted the line up and Donaldson was scheduled to take 3 at-bats.

I was happy, at least I was in the right place. 15 minutes before game time…no Donaldson. 5 minutes before game time…no Donaldson. Gametime? Nope. He got there (as it would seem planned) soon after the game started. He got the trainer and they took off for the Phillies indoor batting cages. He soon returned and was inserted into the line up.

Josh Donaldson times the ball before his first at bat.

Donaldson was up against the Phillies Alec Asher. He fouled a ball or two and then…I think at this point I need to say that this was one on the absolutely windiest days I’ve ever seen for a baseball game. We had some gusts of wind that made it hard for me to stand and take photos. This would come into play for the next pitch to Donaldson.

  

Donaldson squared up Asher’s pitch, it got caught up in the gusts to left-center, it just kept going. The Phillies outfielder stopped running and watched…it was going, going…..Then the breeze hit the side wall of Spectrum Field and it became a stiff “air-curtain”.  Donaldson, who had taken one look at the ball and assumed it was gone…looked on in horror. He had already started for the dug out. He was almost through the door when he realized it hit the air-curtain and it was slowing down..this was the same time the outfielder realized it and he started running at a full speed. The ball dropped as if it hit a physical wall and dropped right along the fence! The stunned outfielder missed it and it hit the ground.

It was then that Donaldson laughed and went, “Uh-oh!” and started for first (while still holding his bat) in what could only be called a “penguin-style” waddle. Everyone one laughed.

Josh Donaldson’s “penguin” walk to first with the bat.

In the article that includes an interview with Donaldson that I’ll post at the end of the blog, they incorrectly state that the ball was caught.

Donaldson went on to bat three more times but didn’t have a hit. His timing seemed good but many of the balls went foul and the wind was the cause of many of the balls going foul instead of down the line.

After he was done, he packed up immediately to leave but he took time to sign autographs…

Josh Donaldson Autograph

And I got one! (I have really slowed down on collecting autographs the last year or two, in fact my goal was 2 this year, Donaldson and Bautista. I’m 50% done!)

He was even so kind to allow people to walk with him to his car and he continued to sign and take pictures with fans before he left.

Josh Donaldson

When Donaldson left, the Jays were up 2-0. They were not running the scoreboards so I do not know what the final was…once Donaldson was gone, I started going back and forth between the three games that were going on at the time and lost track.

Donaldson was interviewed by the plethora of media that was in attendance and he seemed pleased with his performance. You can see coverage of the interview HERE.

I think my favorite moment and the moment that showed what a class act Donaldson is, was when Donaldson was done, he went to the player whose place in the line up he took with his at-bats and thanked him for allowing him to do so. I’ve seen a lot of major leaguers step into a minor league game to get a few plate appearances in but I’ve never seen anyone thank the player he displaced. It was a first class move.

So that was the highlight of my day…and may be of my spring training. *Sigh* I love baseball.

Phillies Acquire Ambidextrous Pat Venditte!

Today the Phillies acquired AMBIDEXTROUS reliever Pat Venditte from the Mariners for Joey Curletta. We were there when Joey Curletta was told he had been traded. At the time, that was all we knew. Curletta was sitting on the bench during the minor league intrasquad game. He didn’t even know where he was going, he was only told he had been traded and that he needed to go pack.

I hadn’t gotten to know Curletta who was acquired in the Carlos Ruiz trade. I’d seen him around this year but never got the chance to talk.

I was, however, very excited that the Phillies have acquired Venditte! I, like Venditte, am one of those rare people who are ambidextrous. I first became aware of Venditte when an associated press article ran the headline, “Amphibious Pitcher Makes Debut”.

Pat Venditte, Amphibious Pitcher (photo courtesy of the SportingNews.com)

Being ambidextrous isn’t common. According to the American Psychological Association, 90% of the population is right-handed with the remaining 10% being left handed, or a mild combination of left and right handedness. They estimate that only 1% of the population is actually, truly ambidextrous. I was raised “right” and only discovered that I was ambidextrous when I hurt my right hand in an accident. It took less than a week to be able to sign my name with my left similarly to my right handed signature. Full-blown legible writing didn’t take much longer. I’ve gotten to the point that I can sign either way and it usually is dependent on what hand is free to grab the pen. It really comes in handy when painting. I’m an amateur painter and there are times where being able to paint with the “other” hand is just easier so that you don’t drag your hand through paint or you can get a better angle with the brush.

Right hand


Left hand

 

Venditte is currently playing in the World Baseball Classic for Team Italy and will join the Phillies here in Clearwater as soon as they are eliminated or the tournament is over. I’m excited to see him and hope I can get his autograph. Us 1%-ers need to stick together, or is that walk hand in hand in hand in hand?