Get to know David Buchanan, impress friends and family at holiday parties

Get to know David Buchanan, impress friends and family at holiday parties

As if the Philadelphia Phillies needed any more obstacles in their path, they’re without Cliff Lee for a couple weeks. Hopefully that’s all, but for now, all that matters is who’s replacing him.

Jonathan Pettibone is on the mend, too, so that fallback option is out. Ethan Martin? Moved to the bullpen, actually, but points for you just for asking because it means you were still watching last August. Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez? Now there’s a knee-slapper.

So on Thursday the Phillies announced they were down to David Buchanan, a 25-year-old right-hander who will make his first Major League start on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Unless you keep regular tabs on the Phils’ farm system—and perhaps even if you do—there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Buchanan until now. That’s because he’s generally not hailed as one of the organization’s top prospects.

He’s not in Baseball America’s or Keith Law’s top 10 Phillies prospects. He’s not among the Phillies’ 20 prospects to watch according to MLB.com. Buchanan didn’t even crack the Inquirer’s top 25.

We’ll save you the trouble of Googling him on your smart phone during your family barbecue over the weekend (unless you need such distractions, then be sure to visit us later).

A seventh-round pick out of Georgia State in 2010, Buchanan has been steadily climbing the Phillies minor-league ranks, although not in terribly impressive fashion from what we can glean from the back of his baseball card. He has a 35-27 record with a 3.98 earned run average, 1.335 WHIP and 2.01 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 88 professional starts.

Judging from the stat sheet, 2014 has been a particularly strange season for Buchanan. He’s managed to compile a 5-1 record in nine starts at Lehigh Valley this year with a modest 3.98 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP that would qualify as one of the worst in the Majors, as would his 1.82 K/BB rate. He’s walked 3.8 batters per nine innings.

Not surprisingly with that line, he’s not going very deep into games. Buchanan hasn’t lasted past 6.0 innings yet this season.

Jim Salisbury for CSNPhilly.com wrote about Buchanan competing for a job in the rotation this spring, noting he has a nice array of pitches with a sinker/cutter/changeup combo.  Phuture Phillies mentions his fastball hits as high as 94 miles per hour. And he’s good at keeping the ball down, which has resulted in relatively few home runs as evidenced by a relatively low 0.7 home runs per nine over his career.

If he can keep the ball down, he'll give 'em a chance. Then again, he'll likely be turning the game over to the bullpen at some point, so maybe not.

Buchanan will battle, and if the Phillies are lucky, they’ll get a couple decent starts out of him before Lee returns on schedule. But best case scenario, we’re talking about an end-of-the-rotation starter, one who unfortunately is tasked with filling the void left by a Cy Young Award winner. At this point in the season, that’s not what the Fightins needed.

Conspiracy charge added for 3 former Penn State administrators

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Conspiracy charge added for 3 former Penn State administrators

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A Pennsylvania judge on Thursday allowed prosecutors to add a conspiracy charge against three former Penn State administrators, increasing their possible penalty if convicted of crimes for their handling of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

Judge John Boccabella granted a request by the attorney general's office to tack on a related conspiracy count to the charges of endangering the welfare of children.

Prosecutors said each felony count carries up to 7 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Jury selection is scheduled for March 20 in Harrisburg in the case of former university president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley.

The defendants sought permission last week from Boccabella for an appeal that could delay the trial. The judge has not ruled on that request.

They argue Boccabella erred when he declined to dismiss the child-welfare charges, arguing the statute of limitations expired, the defendants did not provide direct care for children and they are charged with actions that occurred before the law was revised.

Earlier this month, the judge dismissed charges of failing to properly report suspected abuse, and last year the Superior Court threw out perjury, obstruction and conspiracy charges.

The three administrators fielded a complaint in 2001 from a graduate assistant who said he saw Sandusky, then retired as an assistant football coach, sexually abusing a boy in a team shower.

They did not report the matter to police or child welfare authorities, but did tell Sandusky he could no longer bring children to the campus and they notified his charity for children, The Second Mile.

Sandusky currently is serving a lengthy state prison term after being convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of sexual abuse of 10 boys.

Last week, a new judge appointed to preside over his appeals under the state's Post-Conviction Relief Act scheduled a March 24 hearing at the courthouse near State College to "present and finalize the evidentiary portion" of the hearing.

Hits King Pete Rose on Phillies' Wall of Fame ballot

Hits King Pete Rose on Phillies' Wall of Fame ballot

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies have released their Wall of Fame ballot for 2017 and Pete Rose is on it for the first time.

Baseball’s all-time hits king joins Steve Bedrosian, Larry Christensen, Jim Fregosi, Gene Garber, Placido Polanco, Ron Reed, Scott Rolen, Manny Trillo and Rick Wise on the ballot.

The Phillies had to receive permission from commissioner Rob Manfred to include Rose on the ballot. Rose was placed on baseball’s permanently ineligible list in 1989 after he admitted to wagering on baseball during his time as manager of the Cincinnati Reds. The ban precludes him from appearing on the ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Rose is still on the ineligible list, but Manfred has shown some leniency in recent years and Rose has been able to participate in some ceremonies. He was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds' Hall of Fame last summer. 

Rose was one of the stars on the Reds’ Big Red Machine, a club that won back-to-back World Series in 1975 and 1976. He came to the Phillies as a free agent before the 1979 season. He spent five years with the Phils and his leadership was considered key in getting a talented team over the top on its way to winning the 1980 World Series. 

The Phillies’ Wall of Fame ceremony will take place Aug. 12 at Citizens Bank Park. 

Fans have a voice in the voting, which is has begun on the team’s website -- www.Phillies.com. Fans can select their top three choices and the five finalists will serve as the official ballot for a special Wall of Fame selection committee.