Minor League Moves Highlight Recent Days

Things can change quickly in the minors. Very often, the domino effect hits and players are up and down from different levels for various reasons. Some dominoes fell recently in the Phillies system and players found themselves in new places or new roles. For one player, Tuesday night even brough his professional debut.

Franklin Perez has been with the Phillies organization for a while now and has been through a lot. After signing with the Phillies as an amateur free agent in December of 1997, Perez started his professional career in the Dominican Summer League before coming state-side in 1999. Through six seasons, Perez has toiled for the Phillies, with generally good results. After missing all of last season because of Tommy John Surgery, Perez was back at AA Reading for his second season in the Eastern League to start 2004.

Perez' comeback has been nothing short of astonishing. The 26 year old right-hander has been very strong this season at Reading, going 6-4, 4.15 in 15 AA starts. While the stats don't quite knock you off your feet, keep in mind that Perez was supposed to just be getting back to the mound this season after the surgery. Many times, the return from TJS takes a while and teams figure on the first season back being shaky at times after a year of rehab work.

The Phillies were impressed enough with Perez that they promoted him to AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre over the weekend to give him his first shot at AAA hitters. After a couple days to adjust, Perez made his first AAA start in Charlotte and it was a success. Perez threw seven strong innings, giving up six hits and two earned runs while striking out four. Perez also refused to issue a walk. Perez left the game with a 3-2 lead, but the Knights tied the game in the bottom of the eighth off Jim Crowell, so Perez wound up with a no-decision.

Another move involved Russ Jacobson moving up to AAA Scranton as well. Jacobson, who was drafted by the Phillies in the third round of the '99 Draft, is also getting his first shot at AAA. An opening for Jacobson came up when Michel Hernandez wound up on the DL. Jacobson's numbers aren't exacly stellar - he was hitting just .140 in 32 games for Reading - but the Phillies didn't feel that Reading's other catcher, Carlos Ruiz, was ready for a AAA tryout, so Jacobson got the call. Manager Marc Bombard has yet to fit Jacobson into the Red Barons lineup.

With Perez being shipped north to Scranton, the Reading Phillies reached into the bullpen to find Tuesday night's starter. Eude Brito made his second start of the season, but didn't have the success that Perez did. Brito gave up five hits and three earned runs in 3 1/3 innings of work for the R-Phils. On the year, Brito is 3-2, 4.86 with three saves for Reading. Brito, a left-hander, is primarily a reliever. His two starts this season have been his first since 2000 when he started a combined 10 games in the Gulf Coast League and with Batavia. The 25 year old Brito signed with the Phillies as an amateur free agent in July of 1998 and started his professional career in the GCL in 1999.

Monday night, Cary Hiles rejoined Reading after a stint on the DL. Hiles had season ending shoulder surgery just about one year ago after missing a lot of time during the 2003 season with injuries. Hiles again developed some shoulder stiffness this season and the Phillies didn't take any chances with him and immediately put him on the DL. Hiles, who was once regarded as an above average prospect, threw two innings of relief for Reading Monday night and didn't allow any hits or runs. Hiles control was a little shaky as he walked two, but he also struck out two and overall had a successful outing. At 28, Hiles is a little old, but he could still salvage his career and find himself in the majors at some point.

Hiles' return meant that Layne Dawson, who went 3-2, 6.85 at Reading, was returned to Class A Clearwater. Dawson hasn't pitched yet since his return, but was 1-2, 2.50 in six starts for the Threshers earlier this season.

Meanwhile, Tuesday night started the Greg Golson era in the Phillies organization. The Phillies first round pick in this year's draft, made his debut in the Gulf Coast League and finished the night 0-3. Coming out of high school, Golson will have a lot of adjusting to do, but figures to be a quick learner. The Phillies have planted him at the top of the GCL Phillies lineup and figure to let him progress at his own pace.

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