Pictures From The First Day Of Minor League Pitchers and Catchers Spring Training

Sorry for the absence over the last 10 days or so. I had to have a procedure done on my “Frankenfoot” that required rest. On the plus side, I’m able to walk now, the best since I sprained it and broke a bone just 10 days before spring training began. 

Yesterday was one of my favorite days of the year…the day that minor league pitchers and catchers report. Additionally, the majority of the position players are here already. I’ve known some of these guys for more than five years so it’s great to see some of my friends again.

Matt Hockenberry, now a pitching coach

Matt Hockenberry, who pitched for the Threshers last season, is now a pitching coach for one of the two Gulf Coast League teams the Phillies will be fielding this year. I love this picture as the pitchers are all former colleagues of Hockenberry’s and it’s good to see them all enjoying a laugh together before the work begins. Also in the picture from left to right: Tyler Viza, Alberto Tirado, Alexis Rivero, Garrett Clevenger, Luke Leftwich and Jacob Waguespack in the red shirt.

I took a lot of pictures all around camp yesterday as they are all during drills, there’s not much to say as the pictures speak for themselves:

Sixto Sanchez
Seth McGarry
Deivi Grullon
Alberto Tirado
Adam Haseley
Adonis Medina
Felix Paulino
Cornelius Randolph

 

Mickey Moniak and Jose Pujols
Garrett Clevenger
Edgar Garcia
Alexis Rivero
Adonis Medina
Sixto Sanchez
Adam Haseley
Malquin Canelo, Grenny Cumana, Daniel Brito and Arquemedes Gamboa
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Phillies Minor League Team 2016 Rosters Released!

2016 Minor League Roster
2016 Minor League Roster
The minor league roster was released today and I have a copy. The copy is at the top of the page. For ease of reading the tiny print, I have transcribed it here (Note Disabled List is at the end):

Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs

Catchers

  • JP Arencibia
  • Andrew Knapp#

Infielders

  • Carlos Alonso
  • Taylor Featherston
  • Ryan Jackson
  • Tommy Joseph
  • Angelys Nina
  • Brock Stassi

Outfielders

  • Cameron Perkins
  • David Lough
  • Darnell Sweeny #
  • Wil Venable
  • Nick Williams*

Starting Pitchers

  • Mark Appel
  • David Buchanan
  • Zach Eflin
  • Adam Morgan*
  • Jake Thompson

The Bullpen

  • Elvis Araujo
  • Andrew Bailey
  • Ernesto Frieri
  • Luis Garcia
  • Bobby Lafromboise*
  • Edward Mujica
  • Colton Murray

Reading Fightin’ Phils

Catchers

  • Jorge Alfaro
  • Logan Moore

Infielders

  • JP Crawford*
  • Jake Fox
  • Rhys Hoskins
  • Harold Martinez
  • Angelo Mora#
  • KC Serna
  • Jesmuel Valentin#

Outfielders

  • Aaron Brown
  • Dylan Cozens
  • Christian Marrero*
  • Roman Quinn#

Starting Pitchers

  • Alec Asher
  • Ben Lively
  • Ricardo Pinto
  • Nick Pivetta
  • Anthony Vasquez

The Bullpen

  • Severino Gonzalez
  • Ulises Joaquin
  • Edubray Ramos
  • Joeley Rodriguez*
  • Reinier Roibal
  • Tom Windle

Clearwater Threshers

Catchers

  • Gabriel Lino
  • Chace Numata#
  • Joel Fisher

Infielders

  • Maquin Canelo
  • Zach Green
  • Scott Kingery
  • Kyle Martin*
  • Drew Stankiewicz#
  • Mitch Walding*

Outfielders

  • Andrew Pullin*
  • Herlis Rodriguez
  • Cord Sandberg*
  • Carlos Tocci

Starting Pitchers

  • Tom Eshelman
  • Ranfi Casimiro
  • Elniery Garcia*
  • Matthew Imhof*
  • Will Morris
  • Tyler Visa

The Bullpen

  • Victor Arano
  • Joey DeNato
  • Matt Hockenberry
  • Jario Munoz
  • Miguel Nunez
  • Alexis Rivero
  • Jesen Therrien

Lakewood BlueClaws

Catchers

  • Austin Bossart
  • Deivi Grullon
  • Wilson Garcia

Infielders

  • Grenny Cumana
  • Brendon Hayden
  • Jan Hernandez
  • Emmanuel Marrero#
  • Josh Tobias#

Outfielders

  • Zach Coppola
  • Jose Pujols
  • Cornelius Randolph*
  • Damek Tomscha
  • Jiandido Tromp

Starting Pitchers

  • Harold Arauz
  • Tyler Gilbert*
  • Franklyn Kilome
  • Luke Leftwich
  • Mitch Gueller
  • Shane Watson

The Bullpen

  • Alejandro Arteaga
  • Kenny Koplove
  • Zach Morris*
  • Robert Tasin
  • Jose Taveras
  • Alberto Tirado
  • Jacob Waguespack

Extended Spring Training

Catchers

  • Edgar Cabral
  • Roldolfo Duran
  • Greg Brodzinski
  • Nerlius Martinez
  • Gregori Rivero*
  • Lenin Rodriguez
  • Rafeal Marchan

Infielders

  • Jose Antequera
  • Daniel Brito*
  • William Cuicas#
  • Luis Encarnacion
  • Luis Espiritu
  • Arquismedez Gamboa#
  • Edwin Rodriguez
  • Lucas Williams

Outfielders

  • Jesus Alastre
  • Venn Biter*
  • Carlos Duran
  • Enmanuel Garcia
  • Samuel Hiciano
  • Mark Laird*
  • Juan Luis*
  • Jhailyn Ortiz
  • Greg Pickett*
  • Jake Sweaney

Starting Pitchers

  • Ismael Cabrera
  • Seranthony Dominguez
  • Bailey Falter
  • Nick Fanti
  • Edgar Garcia
  • Adonis Medina
  • Felix Paulino
  • William Stewart*
  • Ranger Suarez*

The Bullpen

  • Steiner Carmona
  • Skylar Hunter
  • Carlos Indriago
  • Sutter McLoughlin
  • Luis Morales
  • Geudy Ortiz
  • Oskerlly Sanchez*
  • Anthony Sequiera
  • Jeff Singer*
  • Horace Stubblefield
  • Gregory Infante
  • Chris Leroux
  • Jeremy Bleich
  • Hoby Milner

Extended Spring Training Rehab

  • Jimmy Cordero
  • Frank Herrmann
  • Yoervis Medina
  • Brandon Leibrandt*
  • Mark Leiter
  • John Richy
  • Andrew Anderson
  • Scott Harris
  • Austin Davis
  • Derek Campbell

 

Ruth Hartman, A Reading Icon Passes Away

 

Ruth Hartman's Queen of Baseballtown Trophy
Ruth Hartman’s Queen of Baseballtown Trophy

Ruth Hartman, Queen of Baseballtown, a fixture at the Reading Fightins games and a personal hero of mine, passed away yesterday. She was 89.

You can read about the details of the accident HERE.

I had the pleasure of meeting Ruth years ago,  She was a lively lady walking through the sheep barn at the Pennsylvania Farm Show. Ross’ cousin also shows sheep so they were friends and he introduced us. I went home and started reading about her. She became a hero of mine.

As a young girl in the 70s, there really wasn’t a lot of female sports heroes, other than figure skaters. When I saw A League of Their Own, I was impressed. It wasn’t something I had heard of before and immediately those women became heroes. When I met Ruth, who was so unassuming, it made me admire what she had achieved.

Ruth Hartman sits at the Head of the table in Red.
Ruth Hartman sits at the Head of the table in Red.
Ruth Hartman's Autograph
Ruth Hartman’s Autograph

I met her again, albeit briefly when the then Reading Phillies, had a “All American Girls Professional Baseball League” night. They had quite a few of the former players there. I wrote an article about it back in 2011. You can read it HERE.

The summer of 2014 when Ross and I were in Reading, I really wanted to ask her if I could interview her for my blog. A friend of mine who works for the Fightins thought she might do it, but I was so shy to ask someone I admired so much for an interview, that I didn’t. It will be something I will always regret.

So as I sit here writing about one my personal heroes, I’m weeping. The baseball world seems a little dimmer with out one of it’s stars, the Queen of Baseballtown, Ruth Hartman. Rest in Peace, Ruth, rest in peace.

Ruth’s obituary can be read HERE and the Reading Fightins just added THIS VIDEO TRIBUTE.

7 Teams, 8 Games, 3,200 Miles-A Trip of a Lifetime

It was during the long, cold winter that Baseball Ross and I were sitting and dreaming of warmer days. Somehow we got on the topic of “epic trips” and started brainstorming…what if…

At some point one of us said, “what if we saw every single team in the Phillies farm system in a week?” Sure, it sounded so easy when we were sitting there in the living room all wrapped in blankets (It was during the polar vortex and even here in Florida, we had wind chills in the teens) but putting it into action was a whole other story.

We scoured the schedules of all the teams looking for a time when all of them would either be at home or at an away game that would not only be an easy drive from Harrisburg (we have family there to see) but also coordinated with the pitching schedules of our favorite pitchers. What made it even more difficult is that the rotation for the Williamsport Crosscutters would be the last released, the day before their season began.

We found one week, actually 9 days, where we could see the last game of Extended Spring Training, get on a plane and fly to Harrisburg, the next night we drove to Williamsport saw the Crosscutters, then back to Harrisburg, then drove to Lakewood to see the BlueClaws, then back to Harrisburg, then to State College to see the Cutters again so we could see Feliberto Sanchez pitch, then back to Harrisburg, then we drove to Lehigh Valley to see the IronPigs, then back to Harrisburg, then we drove to Reading to see the Fightin’ Phils, then back to Harrisburg, then we hopped on a plane flew back to Clearwater and the next day see the first game of the Gulf Coast League Phillies and a Threshers game. We flew a total of 2,000 miles and drove an amazing 1,200 more. It really was a trip of a lifetime, because I really don’t want to do that all again in a week!

Williamsport

It was opening night. It had rained and was threatening to rain again (this would become an ongoing theme of the trip).  I did a blog on that night and you can read it HERE. The downside of all the driving (4 hours in the car for Williamsport) was that it did take a lot out of me so I only did this one blog while on the trip.

Lakewood

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We were here to see our friend, Ranfy Casimiro pitch. He’s a great kid and people never stop staring when they see us together. I’m barely 5 feet tall, he’s 6′ 8″! We are totally “the long and the short of it”.

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We were lucky enough to also catch Cody Asche make a rehab appearance here in Lakewood. (This would also be a reoccurring theme as we saw him in Clearwater before we left, then Lakewood…)

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The best was seeing Casimiro pitch one of the best games of his career.

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I also was lucky enough to meet Jay Floyd of Phoul Ballz. He had interviewed me last year on his podcast along with Mr. Tug. (You can listen to the podcast HERE)

While it didn’t rain, it was cold, 64 degrees!

State College to see Williamsport again

Our friend Feliberto Sanchez pitched in State College against the Spikes.

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For me this was sort of a homecoming. I went to Penn State, albeit the Harrisburg campus, but I have many fond memories of going to State College.

What trip to Happy Valley would be complete without a trip to the CREAMERY? If you ever go to Penn State a trip to the Creamery is a must.

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State College’s stadium is right next to Beaver Stadium. It also lies in the shadow of Mount Nittany. As this was the first game, it seemed that the grounds crew groomed the mound to be a miniature Mount Nittany. It was high and seemed to have steep drop offs instead of gradual sloping sides like a “normal” mound.

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We also got to see Ricky Bielski pitch

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The thing that sticks out in my mind is the lightning. It only rained for about five minutes that night but the lightning was all around the stadium. Long, bright bolts of lightning were striking all around the stadium. I was amazed that there wasn’t a delay. Ironically, the next night the new Lion LED sign that was added to Beaver Stadium just across the street was struck by lightning!

 

Lehigh Valley

There were many things on this leg of the trip that were memorable.

Three words: Aw Shucks Corn

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Seriously, it’s my favorite ballpark food of all time. I am ashamed to admit I ate two ears of it.

Four words: Bacon-scented Tee-shirts

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Seriously! I love bacon, but this is taking it just a little far don’t you think?

 

I finally got to meet @cherylpursell and @Kram209! Cheryl takes amazing pictures and Kram well he’s the biggest Pigs fan there is. He was also gracious enough to present me with a CODY ASCHE BOBBLEHEAD! (*FAINTS*)

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He was also kind enough to show me around Coca Cola Park.

 

The funny thing was, Cody Asche was making a rehab appearance there in Lehigh Valley so we got not only to see him play again, but got to see him next to his bobble head.

 

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I also was witness to long time Pharm-hand Tyson Gillies second to last appearance as a Pig before his release.

Reading

I got to see Jesse Biddle pitch.

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I also saw my friend Carlos Alonso

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I also met @Mr.Tug who was with PhoulBallz and is now the photographer of the Reading Fightin Phils! Meeting people is fun so before the night was done, @mikeyesh dropped by to say, “Hi” to Ross and I.

The next day, we flew back to Clearwater. By Friday we were up at ant Englebert field to see the GCL Phillies.

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Trey Williams

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All the draft picks were there including Aaron Nola, who could be called the 3.3 Million Dollar Arm.

All the Phillies Brass were there

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Nola didn’t pitch that day…

And finally to complete the trip, the Threshers game at night to catch a rehabbing Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez.

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The highlight was seeing JP Crawford in his first at bat with the Threshers.

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In all that traveling we managed to see my brother, his girlfriend and my niece as well as the two girls who grew up next door next to me as a girl who are like sisters to me. We even stopped at Hershey’s Chocolate World on the way to the airport.

20140705-222241-80561610.jpg It was a really good trip. We never really got rained on, saw next to no traffic and had no car mishaps. We didn’t even have any flight delays, in fact our planes arrived early!

I don’t think our crazy trip could have worked out any better! That being said, I sure am glad to be home.

Every New Beginning Comes from Some Other Beginning’s End

Extended Spring Training has ended and now it’s time for short-season New York-Penn League to start.

It’s been the best of times and the worst of times. We watched some good friends get promoted to Williamsport and others were either left for the Gulf Coast League, sent to the Dominican Summer League (DSL) or given their outright release.

Last summer was the first summer that Baseball Ross and I spent nearly every day sitting in the stifling noon-day heat watching these young guys play in the rookie league of GCL.

GCL is special for the simple fact that the fans that go are either related to the players or die-hards. What other kind of crazy people would sit out in the heat at noon? There usually are only 5 or 6 “non family” members there so the players get to know you and you really feel invested in their progress.

The short-season New York-Penn League starts on Friday and Ross and I will be on our way to Pennsylvania. We are hoping to see Williamsport, then AA Reading, AAA Lehigh Valley and A- Lakewood, though not necessarily in that order. Couple that with seeing the GCL Phillies and the A+ Threshers the day we return and we will have seen EVERY team in the Phillies’ minor League system! By the end of the week, I will wager that we will travel close to THREE THOUSAND MILES!

I think we are going to be tired!

I plan to blog as we go so be sure to check back!