Salisbury: Worley, Stutes and the intriguing '08 draft

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Salisbury: Worley, Stutes and the intriguing '08 draft

Monday, May 2, 2011
Posted: 2:35 p.m.

By Jim Salisbury
CSNPhilly.com

When the Phillies beat the Mets on Friday night, it was a victory that extended throughout the organization, beyond the walls of Citizens Bank Park, all the way down to the area scouts who wear out baseballs backstreets looking for talent.

Vance Worley, 23, was the winning pitcher in that game, tossing six shutout innings just hours after being called up from Triple A. Mike Stutes, 24, relieved Worley in the seventh and turned in a scoreless inning as the Phils went on to a 10-3 win.

Worley and Stutes.

Stutes and Worley.

It seems as if the two righthanders have been joined at the hip ever since they were drafted in June 2008. Both came out of West Coast college programs Worley pitched at Long Beach State and Stutes at Oregon State. They both entered pro ball with excellent pitchability as scouts like to call it you know, smarts, savvy, maturity. That pitchability was the reason club officials felt comfortable jumping the pair from the South Atlantic League, a low classification of Single A ball, to Double A Reading in 2009, less than a year after they had been drafted.

Now, both are rewarding the confidence that team officials, not to mention the scouts who had recommended them in the draft, had in them.

Drafts cant be judged overnight. Sometimes it takes several years. So far, the 2008 draft is shaping up to be one of the Phillies most intriguing ever. Certainly, at the time it was billed as one of the most important in franchise history. After losing Aaron Rowand to free agency and failing to sign third-round pick Brandon Workman the year before, the Phillies had seven of the top 136 picks in that draft. That type of haul can help a team for years, if ownership is willing to open the checkbook and sign premium talent. Phillies ownership did just that in spending a team record 6.7 million on signing bonuses.

Heres why the 2008 draft is so intriguing: some of the picks in that draft, such as Worley (third round) and Stutes (11th round) have already helped in Philadelphia. Some of them, such as contact-challenged first-rounder Anthony Hewitt may never get to Philadelphia. Others, such as pitchers Jonathan Pettibone (third round), Trevor May (fourth round), Julio Rodriguez (eighth round) and Jarred Cosart (38th round) may one day help make up the next great Phillies rotation. And others, such as 20-year-old pure hitter Zach Collier (first round) still have time to make it if they can put things together. In Colliers case, that means staying healthy. He missed all of the 2010 season with injuries.

There are other ways that a draft and a minor-league system can help a team. In recent years, the Phillies have become a win-now organization. Two members of their 2008 draft class helped fuel that mind-set. Pitcher Jason Knapp (second round) was sent to Cleveland for Cliff Lee in July 2009. Lee, of course, helped pitch the Phils to the World Series that year. Last summer, another second-rounder, Anthony Gose, was shipped to Houston as part of the package for Roy Oswalt. Oswalt helped the Phils win the NL East last year, and the team hopes hell do the same this year. Gose didnt stay long in Houston. He was shipped to Toronto in a separate deal as the Jays were finally able to get the guy that they had coveted in July 2009 talks involving Roy Halladay.

The trading of Lee to Seattle in Dec. 2009 did not close the door on Knapps connection to the Phillies. The Phils got pitchers Phillippe Aumont and J.C. Ramirez, as well as outfielder Tyson Gillies, in that deal. Aumont has dazzled in a relief role at Reading this spring and Ramirez has also pitched well. The tentacles of the Phillies 2008 draft are everywhere and we havent even mentioned first basemandesignated hitter Cody Overbeck, who has eight homers and 22 RBIs in 23 games at Reading, or relievers Michael Schwimer and B.J. Rosenberg, both of whom have a chance.

So, as one can see, the 2008 draft was one to keep an eye on three years ago and it remains so now.

Worley had actually been drafted by the Phillies out of McClatchy High School in Sacramento, Calif. (Larry Bowas alma mater) in the 20th round in 2005, but he chose to go to college. He had strained his elbow in his last high school game that year. The Phillies wanted to see his work over the summer before signing him. Worley decided not to push it that summer, to let his elbow heal, go to college and take his chances three years later in the draft.

That looks like sound thinking now.

Worley was born in Sacramento. His parents names are Scott and Shirley. Shirley is Chinese. She was born in Hong Kong and moved to the United States as a child. All of this made Worleys victory in his season debut Friday night that much more special. It was AsianPacific tribute night at Citizens Bank Park.

E-mail Jim Salisbury at jsalisbury@comcastsportsnet.com

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Tonight's Lineup: Ryan Howard (surprisingly) starts at 1B

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Tonight's Lineup: Ryan Howard (surprisingly) starts at 1B

So much for trimming Ryan Howard's playing time.

One day after Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said he plans on giving 24-year-old Tommy Joseph more starts against right-handed pitchers, Mackanin flipped the switch Monday.

Howard is penciled in as the starting first baseman for the Phils' series-opener against the Nationals on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park against Tanner Roark (3-4, 2.71).

After the Phillies were clobbered by the MLB-best Chicago Cubs on Sunday — and the weekend, really — Mackanin said the Phils have to get a longer look at Joseph.

"We brought up Joseph up here for a reason, to get a look at him," the manager said after the Phillies' 7-2 on Sunday afternoon (see story). "I can't let him stagnate on the bench like (Darin) Ruf ended up doing, so he's going to face some right-handed pitchers to keep his timing."

Joseph will have to wait another day to get in the lineup. To be fair, Joseph did face five righties last week, but three of those came with the designated hitter in play.

For Howard, however, the club icon is in a major rut that has had many outsiders calling for him to retire or for the team to release him. He's hitting .154 with eight home runs and 18 RBIs in 136 at-bats and is 6 for 62 (.097) with 25 strikeouts in May.

Here's the silver lining, however. Howard is a career .333 hitter in 12 at-bats against Roark, who he's taken deep once and has six RBIs against.

The Phillies turn to Jeremy Hellickson (4-3, 3.97) to snap their three-game skid. He's faced the Nationals twice this season, allowing six — five earned — runs over 10⅓ innings.

Here is the Phillies' full lineup:

Phillies
1. Odubel Herrera, CF
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Carlos Ruiz, C
6. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
7. Tyler Goeddel, LF
8. Jeremy Hellickson, P
9. Peter Bourjos, RF

For more on tonight's game, check out Steven Tyding's game notes.

MLB Notes: Mets' manager Terry Collins worried David Wright might be headed for DL

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MLB Notes: Mets' manager Terry Collins worried David Wright might be headed for DL

NEW YORK -- Mets manager Terry Collins is worried David Wright may wind up on the disabled list because of a neck injury.

New York's captain and third baseman was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day Monday because of his neck. He was given anti-inflammatory medicine over the weekend.

Now 33, Wright was on the disabled list from April 15 to Aug. 24 last year when he strained his right hamstring and then developed spinal stenosis. He has a lengthy physical therapy routine he must go through before each game.

Wright homered in three straight games last week before getting hurt. He is batting .226 with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats.

White Sox: Shuck called up with Jackson injured
NEW YORK -- With Austin Jackson bothered by turf toe, the Chicago White Sox recalled outfielder J.B. Shuck from Charlotte and optioned right-hander Tommy Kahnle to the Triple-A farm team.

Jackson left Sunday's game in the eighth inning because of his left foot.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura said before Monday's series opener against the New York Mets that he doesn't think Jackson's injury at this point merits a move to the disabled list. He adds that the team does not "necessarily want to lose him for two weeks right away."

Shuck was batting fifth and playing center field Monday. He was 0 for 9 with the White Sox before he was sent down April 18 when Chicago needed to add a pitcher. He is hitting .299 at Charlotte with two homers and 17 RBIs.

Kahnle is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in four games over three stints with Chicago this season.

Phillies-Nationals 5 things: All eyes on Jeremy Hellickson

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Phillies-Nationals 5 things: All eyes on Jeremy Hellickson

Phillies (26-24) vs. Nationals (30-21)
7:05 p.m. on CSN

After a 1-5 road trip that concluded with a sweep at the hands of the MLB-best Chicago Cubs, the Phillies return home to face another strong opponent in the NL East-leading Washington Nationals. Can a return to Citizens Bank Park be an answer to the Phillies' woes?

Here's that and everything else you need to know for the Phils' Memorial Day showdown with the Nationals:

1. Power outage
The Phillies started last week 25-19 but ended it just two games over .500 after getting outslugged by the Tigers and Cubs. In the Cubs' series, the Phils mustered just five runs.

Through 50 games, the Phillies are averaging just 3.2 runs, narrowly ahead of the MLB-worst Atlanta Braves. Manager Pete Mackanin is taking some steps to rectify that, namely reducing Ryan Howard's playing time so the team can get a good look at rookie first baseman Tommy Joseph (see story).

Joseph alone won't be able to get the Phillies on the right track. The Phillies need to start getting more contributions throughout the lineup. Leadoff man Odubel Herrera is batting .320 and Tyler Goedell is hitting .313 in May, but those two have been the only other bright spots in the Phils' lineup recently.

While the Phillies sport a 4-2 record against the Nationals this season, they have just 15 runs in those six games. Luckily for the Phils, the Nationals haven't exactly been playing top notch baseball of late.

2. What have the Nats been up to?
When the Nationals began a three-game set in Washington against the Phillies in late April, they were 14-5 and sat three games up in the NL East. However, since the Phillies swept them, the Nationals have gone just 15-14.

The Nats just finished an up -and-down week by splitting a four-game set with the St. Louis Cardinals and losing two of three to the Mets. Washington tends to rely on Bryce Harper, who is currently mired in a slump.

Harper had just four hits in his 24 at-bats against the Mets and Cardinals. He failed to draw a walk in either series and struck out four times. The 2015 NL MVP is 1 for 3 with two walks this season against Monday's starter, Jeremy Hellickson. 

Former Phillies Jayson Werth and Ben Revere have helped pick up the slack, however. Werth's pinch-hit grand slam Sunday sealed the Nationals' win over the Cards. Revere has five multi-hit games in his last nine starts.  

3. All eyes on Hellickson
Hellickson is the man tasked with taming Nationals' bats that produced 10 runs Sunday. Hellickson's first matchup against the Nats was his worst start of the season, while his second start was his best. 

On April 15 at Citzens Bank Park, Hellickson gave up six runs — five earned — in just three innings, his shortest start of the year. He gave up a home run to the first batter he saw (Michael Taylor) and allowed a three-run double to Werth.

So expectations weren't high on April 27 when the veteran righty faced the Nationals in Washington. However, Hellickson came through for the Phillies on that day. He allowed just two hits in seven scoreless innings and struck out eight. 

Which Hellickson will we see this time? It's tough to tell, but he has produced quality starts in his last three outings, a good sign of things to come.

4. Ready for Roark?
The Nationals have some true aces in their rotation with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. But Tanner Roark has emerged as another go-to guy in the rotation in the first two months of 2016. 

The 29-year-old pitcher shuffled between the rotation and bullpen last season, finishing with a 4.38 ERA in 40 appearances. However, the righty has returned to form with 10 strong starts, including seven shutout innings against the Phillies on April 28.

After giving up seven runs to the Marlins on May 14, Roark rebounded with quality starts against the Marlins and Mets, giving up just three runs in his last 13⅔ innings in those contests.

Historically, the Phillies have gotten the best of Roark. He has a 2-5 record with a 5.55 ERA in 35⅔ innings, including an 8.27 ERA at Citizens Bank Park.

5. This and that
• Howard is 4 for 12 with one home run and six RBIs in his career against Roark. Herrera has three hits and a walk in seven plate appearances.

• Harper is 3 for 6 with five walks against Hellickson. Werth is 3 for 11 with two doubles and a homer against Hellickson.  

• The Phillies are 2-5 in the first game of a home series this season. The Nationals are 5-3 in the first game of road series.