Urick Hopes To Find A Home With Phils

John Urick came to the Yankees as a 22nd round draft pick out of Oklahoma State. He put up decent, but not dominating, numbers in his first three seasons in the Yankees' organization, but found himself unemployed when the Yankees released him.

Through his many years in baseball, Whitey Herzog made the decision to release a lot of players. There were many different reasons for those moves; some just didn't have the talent, some were attitude issues and others just fell through the cracks. The moves were always tough and he made a point of wishing the players the best in their future endeavors.

Recently, he was somewhat on the other side when the Yankees released John Urick. After all, it was Herzog who got a call from Urick, who happens to be his Grandson. "He's seen it as a player and a manager and as a player personnel guy, so he knows the situation," said Urick about his famous Grandfather. "He just told me to keep working and told me that he believes in me."

Apparently, the Yankees didn't believe in Urick and cut him loose. "I was a little surprised, but after a while, I understood that it was just something that they had to do," said the 24 year old left-handed hitter. Urick believes that even though he had a good spring, the Yankees just put more stock in other players and that he was a victim of a bit of a numbers game.

The Phillies apparently do have some faith in Urick and signed him on Wednesday. They've told Urick to report to their camp in Clearwater where he'll work in extended spring training for five or six days and then likely head to Lakewood. Perhaps down the road, he'll cross paths with an old buddy of his. "I know Jason pretty well," said the first base prospect. The Jason that he's talking about is Reading Phillies' catcher Jason Jaramillo, who was Urick's teammate at Oklahoma State. "We're good buddies. I saw him in the spring and we got to talk a little, but didn't really have time to hang out. I'd love to get to play with him again," said Urick.

The last conversation that Urick had with his Grandfather was about his new organization. "He told me it's a good organization and just to go over there and keep swingin'" reported Urick. Once Urick is assigned somewhere, Herzog told him to let him know where he is, hoping that he could come to town for a visit and catch a few games. "He usually gets out to a couple series a season," said Urick.

Scouting John Urick: "The closest thing to John Olerud and Don Mattingly in the Yankee farm system," said PinstripesPlus.com in an article by Patrick Teale on Yankees' power hitting prospects. Urick believes that he can grow into a 20-30 homerun per season type of hitter. It's somewhat ironic that the Phillies, who not long ago were stocked with power-hitting first basemen, would look to sign one. Urick has decent numbers and 52 doubles over the past two seasons. So far, Urick hasn't shown the kind of power that he believes he can show, but there's still some time. The Phillies would like to see that power start to erupt once Urick arrives in Lakewood.


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