Minor League Report - April 20, 2004

Clearwater wound up to be the only Phillies minor league team in action Monday and they lost to Ft.Myers 2-1. Scranton's game in Buffalo was postponed, but the Red Barons did get some help for their starting rotation. Meanwhile, it's all about the first basemen at Reading and Lakewood.

AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons: With Bud Smith finding his way back onto the DL, the Phillies brought in some help for the starting rotation. Ed Yarnall comes over to Scranton from Pawtucket for the ever popular "future considerations."

Yarnall was originally drafted by the Mets in the third round of the 1996 Draft. He has been well traveled since then to say the least. In May of '98, the Mets sent Yarnall to Florida in the Mike Piazza deal. Less than a year later, Yarnall went to the Yankees in the deal that brought Mike Lowell to Florida. Soon after that, the Yankees traded him to Cincinnati in the Denny Neagle deal. Boston had signed him as a minor league free agent.

The word on Smith isn't good. Although he's just 24, there is serious doubt about him returning to pitch any time soon and there are whispers that his career could be in jeopardy.

On the field, the Red Barons game in Buffalo was postponed.

AA Reading Phillies: Monday was an off day for the R-Phils. They open up a home series against Erie Tuesday.

It looks like Ryan Howard is starting to settle in to AA pitching. On Sunday, the big first baseman hit one of the longest shots in the history of FirstEnergy Stadium. The blast to centerfield traveled an estimated 480 feet and is believed to be the first homerun hit over the scoreboard by a left handed hitter. Even for Howard, that was a long one.

If nothing else, Josue Perez has determination. When the Phillies originally signed Perez, there was talk that he could overcome Marlon Byrd as the Phillies center fielder of the future. None of that has even remotely panned out. The 26 year old has never really found his stroke at the plate. In 10 games this season, Perez is hitting just .108, but has played strong ball defensively, including making a nice running catch in Sunday's loss.

A Clearwater: Alfredo Simon rebounded in Monday's game against Ft.Myers. Simon had struggled earlier, but threw six shutout innings, allowing just two hits and a walk in Monday's loss. Simon also struck out six hitters. The outing lowered Simon's season ERA to 4.40.

Mike Schmidt is getting a little anxious about the defensive play by his Threshers team. Errors by Ryan Barthelemy and Trent Pratt led to an unearned run in Monday's 2-0 loss. For a gold glove Hall of Fame player, watching errors is not easy for Schmidt.

A Lakewood: Where do they all come from? Suddenly, there is another left hand hitting first baseman emerging in the Phillies minor league system. Byran Hansen leads Lakewood's offense with a .370 average. Hansen is almost 100 points higher than Michael Bourn, who is second on the team with a .273 average. Hansen follows Ryan Howard and Ryan Barthelemy in the procession of left hand hitting first basemen with 800 pound gorilla Jim Thome laying in the middle of their road to the majors. Granted, Hansen is still pretty far away from a ticket to Philadelphia, but Thome figures to have a strong grip on the job in Philly and shouldn't be leaving any time soon.

The BlueClaws had a day off Monday after splitting a four game series with Hickory. The ‘Claws open a four game series against the Rome Braves Tuesday.

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