PBN Notebook: Polanco Headed to Chi-Town?

The Cubs have been hit by injuries in the middle of their infield and that could turn their attention to Philadelphia. New faces are having mixed results in Clearwater and Lakewood. Plus, Marlon Byrd and Gavin Floyd make their Scranton season debuts. In Reading; pure domination on the mound and at the plate.

Philadelphia Phillies
Compiled by Jay Zenz

GM Ed Wade confirmed that he had long phone conversations with two other general managers the other day. While he wouldn't confirm or deny the teams or the players they talked about, it's widely thought that the Cubs were one of the discussions. Placido Polanco could be of interest to Chicago, since both Todd Walker and Nomar Garciaparra are out with injuries. Garciaparra is lost for at least a couple of months and the Cubs would have some interest in a shortstop. While Polanco isn't exactly gold glove caliber at short, he could play there if needed.

When Charlie Manuel sent Kenny Lofton up to pinch-hit for David Bell on Tuesday, he "knew I was opening a can of worms." Manuel was bombarded with questions about Bell's status as the starting third baseman and in fact, started Polanco at third on Wednesday. Manuel insists that David Bell is his starting third baseman and he doesn't see that changing. He silenced some of the questioning when he sent Bell in to pinch-hit for Chase Utley in Wednesday's win over Washington.

Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons
Compiled by Paul Warren

For 11 games in a row, the Red Barons were playing Syracuse and Ottawa, the two teams that they are battling with at the top of the Northern Division of the International League. Scranton came through the stretch 5-6, thanks in large part to a four-game sweep of a home series against Syracuse. Of course, then Ottawa came to town and swept two games from the Red Barons. The end result is that Scranton is 1/2 game behind Ottawa, while Syracuse slipped to fourth, 2 1/2 games behind Ottawa. Buffalo currently stands in third.

Marlon Byrd took the field for the first time this season on Wednesday and went 2-for-4 and scored a run. Byrd is rehabbing from a broken finger suffered late in spring training. Word is that he could be in Philly before the weekend is over. Gavin Floyd made his first appearance of the season with Scranton on Wednesday as well. He didn't struggle with his control, issuing just one walk, but he did give up six earned runs in 5 1/3 innings of work. He gave up nine hits and struck out four, suffering the loss.

Brian Sanches streak of scoreless innings has now reached 10 2/3 for Scranton. The power is back on in the Ryan Howard bat rack. Howard hit homerun number four of the season Wednesday and his second in as many days.

Tough luck for Clay Condrey Thursday night. He allowed just one run over seven innings to Pawtucket, but took the loss when Scranton lost 1-0. Kelly Shoppach provided the only blemish on Condrey's night with his seventh homerun of the season. Sean Fesh and Franklin Perez combined to pitch a perfect eighth inning. The Red Barons out hit Pawtucket 7-5, but couldn't generate much of a threat all night long facing Wade Miller, making a rehab start for Boston. Miller handled the first five innings and three Pawtucket relievers shut down Scranton for the rest of the night.

Reading Phillies
Compiled by Chuck Hixson

If you ever wanted to see a dominating pitching performance, you could have watched Carlos Chantres on Wednesday. Chantres worked through seven innings on just 62 pitches. From innings two through seven, he was under 10 pitches for each inning and threw just 43 pitches in the six innings of work. Chantres ran into trouble in the eighth and left with an apparent blister on his pitching hand. On the season, Chantres is now 2-1, 3.93 in four starts.

Ryan Cameron came on in relief of Chantres and ran into more trouble. Cameron had his streak of 10 2/3 consecutive shutout innings ruined, allowing a run in 1 2/3 innings of relief.

After a slump, the Reading offense has been simply awesome. If hitting is contagious, then Randy Ruiz was the one that infected the rest of the team. Ruiz had a monster day against New Britain, hitting two homeruns and driving in six runs. Of course, Ruiz had also hit two homeruns the previous day and drove in five runs on that occasion. It took Ruiz just five games to take over the team lead in homeruns (4) and RBI (12). Ruiz has more than a third of the homeruns hit by Reading this season (11), all of which have come at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading. Wednesday's win gave Reading their first back-to-back wins of the season and their first series win of the year. Reading enjoys their first scheduled off day of the season Thursday before a trip to Bowie and Altoona starting Friday.

Clearwater Threshers
Compiled by Holly Oswald

Doug Gredvig left the team for the birth of his first daughter. Gredvig's absence gave Greg Isaacson a chance to play at first base for a few games for Clearwater.

After several near misses over the past few games, Brad Correll finally launched his first homerun of the season Wednesday. It was a blast that left no doubt about the fact that this one was exiting the park.

Scott Mathieson was experiencing some pain and swelling in his right elbow and wound up on the DL. The Phillies ordered a precautionary MRI which didn't reveal any structural damage. The thought is that with some rest and physical therapy, Mathieson will return to the mound soon and not suffer any lingering effects of the injury. Of course, the Phillies will be careful with Mathieson, who was 0-1, 3.24 through his first three starts of the season.

Beau Richardson has extended his shutout innings streak to seven. Over the span, Richardson has allowed just two hits and one walk while striking out seven. He is the only member of the Clearwater staff from the opening day roster yet to give up a run.

From the "thanks for nothing" department... The new faces aren't helping much early on. Brian Sellier  has started his Clearwater stay by going 0-for his first 16. As for the pitchers, Alan Webb threw 1 2/3 innings in his first start, giving up four earned runs for an ERA of 21.60. Rik Currier threw one inning Wednesday night, giving up one walk and picking up one strikeout. If you combine Webb and Currier's numbers, you get a 13.33 ERA.

Lakewood BlueClaws
Compiled by Chuck Hixson

Jacob Barrack is on a strikeout binge. He has struck out five of the last seven hitters that he's faced, giving him 13 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings of work this season. Barrack also hasn't given up an earned run so far and opponents are hitting just .171 against him.

P.J. Forbes had moved Sean Gamble down in the order while he was struggling at the plate. With Gamble on a recent upswing with six hits in his last 12 at bats, Forbes moved him into the cleanup spot in the order Wednesday and Gamble responded with a 2-for-4 day with three runs scored. He kept up the pace Thursday night with another 2-for-4 performance out of the number four spot. Lakewood's 3-4-5 hitters - Jason Jaramillo, Sean Gamble and Chris Klemm - went 4-for-11 (.364) in Wednesday's game. Klemm, who was recently demoted from Clearwater, went 2-for-4 after going hitless in six at bats with Lakewood.

One of the new faces in Lakewood is J.A. Happ. Last year's third round pick made a good first impression throwing six shutout innings, giving up just two hits and one walk. Happ also struck out four in his 2005 debut. Jake Tompkins came on to throw two more shutout innings against Greensboro in the BlueClaws' 5-1 win Thursday night. Tompkins, another fairly new addition, has given Lakewood three shutout innings of relief this week, allowing no hits and just one walk while striking out three.

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