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Kris Benson is throwing off of a mound again after suffering a set
back in his return to the major leagues. He has not faced batters yet
but Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee hopes he can pitch in a minor
league game within the next two weeks. Get that arm strength back Kris,
we need you!
Travis Blackley returned to the Phillies today as the Giants refused him after he was returned as a rule 5 draft. Blackley chose to return to the Phillies in a minor league deal instead of reporting to the Giants triple A team. Blackley will report to the Iron Pigs and begin the season there.
This is a great pick up for the Phillies not only for the depth he brings to the teams pitching but the upside with Blackley is big. If he lives up to his potential, he could really contribute.
With the question marks in the rotation, Travis brings another option should a pitcher get injured or is ineffective.
Tuesday’s deadline came and went and the Phillies did not add Kris Benson to their 40 man roster while Benson did not void his contract and become a free agent. According to sources, the Phillies and Benson’s agent Gregg Clifton restructured the deal to move the deadline to either May 1 or 15.
"I’m happy here," Benson said. "I’m feeling good with the clubhouse, the pitching coach and the manager. The winning attitude here, the excitement going into the season, it’s a win-win situation from my standpoint. From their standpoint, they have another starting pitcher they can count on down the road. I just want to be a part of their plans and get back healthy."
Phillies assistant manager Ruben Amaro believes Benson will be ready for major league action in late May or early June. Whenever it is, with Adam Eaton and the new concern with Kyle Kendrick, the Phillies need to keep Benson as a back up plan.
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Kyle Kendrick gave up 5 runs on 10 hits while walking 3 in 5 innings of work in what will be his last Spring training start. This is a huge concern for the Phillies who need Kendrick to be effective if they expect to contend in the N.L. East. According to Daily News Live on Comcast Sportsnet, even Rich Dubee has expressed concern. If Kendrick can not pitch at the major league level, the team has back ups in Kris Benson, should Adam Eaton be effective, and J.D. Durbin. Having to count on Eaton and Durbin is like counting on a Mets and Phillies fan to get along. Slim but little chance. Durbin, even after last nights beating, is still with the team while Travis Blackley was cut.
As always, the key to the Phillies will be pitching. And like all other years in recent memory, there are question marks going into the season. Keep your fingers crossed and hope the bats are smoking!
Jamie Moyer gave a pedestrian performance giving up 8 hits and 3 runs in 4 innings. J.D. Durbin pitched his way out of the major leagues (at least Phillies fans hope) after giving up 6 hits and 6 runs including 2 homers in 1 inning of work. He is now 0-4 and his ERA is 12.33. As this site has said before, Durbin does not belong on the big league team and the Phillies need to make a decision and move on. He is either a career minor league pitcher or needs to be let go.
Vic Darensbourgh also was hit hard giving up 5 hits and 4 runs in an inning. The two pitchers show the need the Phillies still have for depth in the bullpen. Beyond Brad Lidge, Tom Gordon, J.C. Romero, and Ryan Madson, the bullpen is a pile of question marks. Add to that the fact that Lidge may or may not be healthy, Gordon has had health concerns, and Madson missed a good part of last year leaves the bullpen a giant question mark. A deal needs to be made and the Phillies need to bolster the pen if they want to be assured of competing this year.
The silver linings tonight against the Yankees were Tom Gordon pitching a perfect frame stiking out 2 and Pedro Feliz continues to look good as he had 2 hits including a homerun to go with his 3 RBI’s.
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Adam Eaton, yes Adam Eaton pitched his second consecutive strong start today as the Phillie pitching has turned into the pillar of consistency lately and the team has shown signs of looking like a defending division champion.
Brett Myers pitched in a minor league game and gave up 4 runs in 6 plus innings. He threw 100 pitches while not having his best Spring performance. No need to worry about Myers though, he will be ready.
The offense is still moving a little slow but with 10 days to go, the hope is the bats will heat up for opening day. It is much better to slump now than during the first two weeks of the season.