The Phillies are in need of some offense and have looked within to find some. With that in mind, Tommy Joseph has had his contract purchased from the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and will reportedly join the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park for the opening of their three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds.
Joseph was hitting .347 in 27 games with Lehigh Valley this season, leading the International League in hitting, ahead of former Phillie Reid Brignac. The 24-year old Joseph has been solid all season with the IronPigs and was long rumored to be a potential addition to the Phillies lineup, which is lacking offensively. Last October, the Phillies placed Joseph on waivers after he hit just 3-18-.193/.220/.301 with Lehigh Valley in 45 games last season. Joseph went unclaimed and was assigned to Lehigh Valley.
The former catching prospect was acquired from the San Francisco Giants in the Hunter Pence trade in July of 2012, but quickly ran into health problems with the Phillies. Joseph suffered multiple concussions as a catcher and also suffered a wrist injury last season. Because of the concussions, Joseph was advised by doctors to not catch any longer and worked on converting to playing first base late last season and during the offseason. Joseph has made four errors at first base this season and has a .969 fielding percentage.
Before the IronPigs left on their recent road trip, manager Dave Brundage had nothing but good things to say about Joseph's progress this season.
"You really have to like what he's done," said Brundage. "Here's a kid who had every reason to hang his head and instead, he basically reinvented himself. He's worked hard to learn first base - and he's still learning, but he's been pretty good - and he's worked hard on his offense and trimmed down over the winter. He's doing everything right."
The Phillies are scheduled to face two left-handed pitchers in their weekend series with the Reds, including Brandon Finnegan, who starts Friday night's game. Joseph is in the Phillies starting lineup and batting sixth in Friday's game.
To make room for Joseph, the Phillies optioned first baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf to Lehigh Valley. Ruf, who came into the season as the right-handed hitting platoon partner with Ryan Howard, hit just .158 in 31 games with the Phillies this season, with three RBI. Against lefties, he was batting just .238 on the year.
Joseph hit 3-7-.367/.355/.767 against lefties in 30 at-bats with the IronPigs.