From the Bullpen: Matt Squires' On-Line Journal

Reading Phillies reliever Matt Squires takes time out every week to let readers know what's going on with him, the Reading Phillies and life in general. This week, Matt talks about working on getting his velocity back, a visit from a couple major leaguers and what draft day was like for him. He also talks about his memories and the help that he received from former Phillie Ken Brett.

Well, I've been off the DL for a little while now and I'm finally starting to get my velocity back. As far as my arm and shoulder are concerned, there are no problems there. It's just a matter of getting the arm strength back and that will come with time. I'm doing my normal workouts plus a few that the trainers gave me during my rehab.

It's been kind of interesting in the clubhouse with Placido Polanco and Billy Wagner blowing through. Both were only here for one day, but it was great to have them around. I spent a little time talking to Wagner. We mainly just talked about baseball and he talked about going home for a day or two before he rejoined the team in Chicago. You could tell he was looking forward to getting back to action.

There's been a lot of talk about the draft and the players that are getting taken. I remember draft day for me. I thought all along that I would wind up with the Royals. They had scouted me pretty heavily and it seemed like I was on the phone with their scout almost every other day or so. The Rangers had been calling pretty much, too. Other teams like Seattle, Colorado and Oakland had been in touch with me, but one team that I really hadn't heard from was Philadelphia. One of their scouts, Tim Kistner, had talked to me on the phone once for just a few minutes. He may have been at a couple games, but I had never met him. Shortly before the draft, the Royals told me that they figured on drafting me somewhere after the 20th round. Probably between 20 and 25 is how they put it. That meant that I wouldn't get picked until the second day of the draft and that was how I figured it would play out.

On the first day of the draft, I wasn't really too nervous or anything because I thought I knew how it would go. Then, all of a sudden, the Phillies grabbed me in the nineteenth round. I was surprised to be drafted on the first day, but especially surprised that it was the Phillies. Now, I'm really glad how it played out because they've been really good to me.

The Phils certainly did put a crimp in my plans though. I was in Spokane, Washington, where the Royals short-season team plays. They told me that I would be assigned there after the draft. That was great, because I had the same apartment for two years already and I could just stay there. When the Phillies drafted me, they wanted me in Florida five days after the draft. I went from not having to move a thing to having to ship everything I owned to my parents in a matter of days. Plus, I had never been anywhere near the east coast and was headed there all alone. It was a little intimidating, but that's the way it goes.

I can't say for absolute sure, but I believe in my heart that the reason I got drafted by the Phillies was because of Ken Brett. He had pitched for the Phillies and was a volunteer with my college team. He would hang out and just help all of us anyway that he could. He became more than just a coach, he was a great friend of mine. I can't begin to tell you all the ways that he helped me both professionally and personally. Ken passed away this past offseason and I think about him a lot. I don't think it was pure coincidence that the Phillies grabbed me in the 19th round when the Royals were set to take me in the 20th. I have to believe that Ken made a couple phone calls on my behalf and filled in the Philadelphia scouts on when they could get me. Of course, Ken would never admit to doing something like that. He was just that way. He was always doing stuff for people and not looking to get any recognition or credit for it. I do believe that I owe the fact that I'm in the Phillies organization to Ken Brett and I never could have thanked him enough for that and all the other things that he did for me.

I got an e-mail from Jeff Rinck, one of my former coaches this week. It was great to hear from you Jeff and thanks for the encouragement.

Remember, if you want to send along an e-mail with some thoughts or questions, feel free to e-mail me and I'll try to address your e-mail in a future journal entry.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading and again, feel free to e-mail me with any questions.

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