Tyson Gillies continues to frustrate Phils

To a professional baseball team, there can't be anything more frustrating than having a prospect with tons of talent who, frankly, just doesn't get it. For the Phillies frustration is the word when it comes to Tyson Gillies.

Tyson Gillies hasn't had what you would call a flawless minor league career. He's been off the field numerous times because of injuries and missed more time last season with a concussion and then an altercation with the Reading Phillies bus driver that led to him being suspended by the Phillies. This season, the Phillies promoted him to Lehigh Valley for his first taste of Triple-A baseball, but things didn't go well offensively and after just a month with the IronPigs.

Gillies believes that a change that the Phillies insisted he make in his swing during spring training contributed to his early season problems.

"I feel like I lost my aggressiveness in attacking the ball," Gillies told The Republican Herald. "It didn't feel natural, but the organization is trying to make you better and they know what it takes. It's a frustrating thing and it's tough mentally when you get in that slump."

At Reading, Gillies also didn't start well at the plate, but a five-game hitting streak in late May bumped his average up to a season-high of .276 and it looked like he might be straightening things out. Just as quickly as his average moved up, it's fallen back after a recent 2-for-23 slump, dropping his average at Reading to just .240 after 36 games with the Fightin Phils. To make matters worse, Reading manager Dusty Wathan pulled Gillies from a game this past Monday for his lack of hustle.

Both Gillies and Wathan declined to talk about the incident publicly and Gillies was back in the lineup the next day.

While the Phillies certainly weren't happy with Gillies' lack of hustle, they haven't yet lost their patience with Gillies according to Joe Jordan, their director of minor league operations.

"I think frustration is more the word. I get frustrated that things like that happen, but they do happen all over and our managers know what we expect them to do when it happens," explained Jordan, who is focused on getting Gillies on track both with his offense and with his attitude. "I just want to get the guy going. I want to get him going so we can get him back here [at Lehigh Valley]."

Jordan actually remains optimistic that Gillies will be able to turn things around and that he will become the player that the Phillies thought he would be when they acquired him from Seattle in the Cliff Lee deal back in December of 2009. Through all of his injuries and discipline issues, the Phillies have shown a lot of patience with Gillies and they keep hoping that better days are ahead for Gillies even though he's provided a lot of frustrating moments for Phillies coaches and front office staff.

"I do get frustrated when it happens, just like anybody in my position would, just like the staff does," said Jordan. "It happened, he dealt with it and hopefully, it won't happen again for a while."

For his part, Gillies is focusing on getting back to his old swing with some minor changes both physically and mentally.

"This is by far the longest slump I've ever been in. I've been slumping since spring training and that's a long time," said Gillies. "Baseball is such a funny sport. It takes a while to get a feeling and it takes a while to get that feeling back. I've got to find that right feeling where hopefully, something clicks."



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