From the Bullpen: Matt Squires' On-Line Journal

Reading Phillies reliever Matt Squires talks about how his shoulder is doing and how soon he might be back off the DL. Plus, Matt has some insights on the recent success of the Reading Phillies, a weird series in New Hampshire and a couple other players in the organization that are doing well for themselves.

Well, my time on the disabled list is going pretty fast. We've been playing really well lately and it's killing me to not be out there. My shoulder feels pretty good right now though and hopefully, it won't be long before I can get back into action. I'm going to be throwing my first bullpen session on Tuesday (May 25) and that will help to determine how things will go. I really hope to be activated for the homestand that opens up Friday night against Bowie. Right now, that's the plan, if all goes well.

We just came off a 5-2 road trip and took two out of three against Trenton at home and now, we're back out on the road. Any time you can win five of seven on the road, that's great. Right now, it's a lot of fun to just watch how we're playing. Robinson Tejeda pitched a great game Friday night against Trenton. He got hit around in the first inning and gave up three runs, but then settled in and didn't give up another hit. Then, Martire Franco and Yoel Hernandez came on and were perfect over the last two and one-third innings.

Offensively, John Castellano is on one of the hottest streaks I have ever seen a hitter go through. Every time he comes to the plate right now, you just kind of stop whatever you're doing and watch. If he doesn't get on base, it surprises you. He's in one of those grooves where you just figure he's going to get a hit every time he grabs a bat. Ryan Howard continues to just amaze everybody. He is one of those flat-out dangerous hitters. Scott Youngbauer is doing a really good job leading off for us, too. Like I said, it's just fun watching these guys.

We played a series in New Hampshire against the Fisher Cats, who are a Toronto Blue Jays affiliate. They've got the weirdest park I have ever seen. First of all, it's turf, and I've never even stepped foot on a turf field. A couple of their players were telling us that they had trouble getting the turf installed because the company that was putting it in went out of business before they finished the job. Somehow, they got it done. The place is a definite pitcher's park. The batting eye is really small and on either side is a lighted, white sign. Once it gets dark and the lights on that thing come on, it's almost impossible to see the ball coming.

You really had to feel bad for the New Hampshire hitters who went out there against Gavin Floyd. It's tough enough to hit him without having the ball come out of a bright white background. Of course, nobody could hit Floyd and he threw eight no-hit innings. That game was disappointing because we gave up a run in the bottom of the ninth and lost 1-0. We lost 10-4 the next night and a lot of the problem was that sign. I don't know how guys were hitting at all. Somehow, Ryan Howard and Castellano both hit homeruns in the final game of that series. Castellano homered in the series opener, too. I guess when you're hot, you don't even have to be able to see the ball to hit it.

There's a lot going on throughout the organization. I played with Elizardo Ramirez last season at Clearwater and now, he's in the majors. That's great for him. He's got great control and has the stuff that it takes to get guys out. I hope he gets a chance to pitch a few times, because he's a good guy with a lot of talent. I feel really good for Lizard. I got to pitch at Citizens Bank Park in the exhibition game and it was an amazing feeling. I can't imagine how great it must feel to be there during the season. Another really good pitcher, Cole Hamels, came off the DL last week. He did a nice job for Clearwater in his first game back. Wouldn't mind seeing him up here some time to have him and Gavin in the rotation together.

Jake Blalock is tearing it up at Lakewood. He almost took my head off in spring training. I threw him a 3-2 fastball and he lined it right back at me. That guy can really hit the ball. He is going to be a really good player. I know now from first hand experience that it's scary to face him. I also know not to throw him a fastball up in the zone.

Well, that's it for now. If you have any questions or comments, you can e-mail me and I'll answer the questions in an upcoming journal. Talk to you next week.

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