As spring training wore down, Chris Roberson was finding himself sticking with the Phillies. He was one of the last two cuts made by the club when camp broke and took the news in stride. "I knew that since I didn't have any AAA experience, I was a long shot," said Roberson of his chances to make the club out of spring training. "Still, I allowed myself to dream a little," admitted Roberson. Now, he doesn't have to dream - he can stop pinching himself, because this is for real.
Roberson's chance comes on the heels of a play that will be talked about in Philadelphia for a long, long time. Aaron Rowand simply sacrificed his face to make a huge play when his team needed him the most. With the Mets loading the bases in the first inning, Rowand went back on a fly ball that looked to have every opportunity to be a grand slam homerun. Instead, Rowand glanced at the wall that he knew he was going to wind up crashing into, but made the play to get young Gavin Floyd out of a first inning jam. If there was ever a first inning play that won a game, it was Rowand's heroic catch. That play though sent Rowand to the hospital with a broken nose that required surgery to repair. It forced him onto the disabled list, opening an opportunity for Roberson.
As luck would have it, Chris Roberson was on a hot streak at Scranton, hitting .359 (14-for-39) with a nine-game hitting streak that raised his average to .287 on the season. With that hot streak, there was no doubt as to who the Phillies would look to as they picked someone to fill Rowand's roster spot. Even with Roberson's hot bat, it's likely that Shane Victorino - who had a double and a triple after Rowand left the rain-shortened Thursday night game - will get the majority of the playing time for the Phillies.
"I'll do whatever they want me to do," said Roberson of his assignment to the Phillies. "Naturally, I want to play and I want to get that first major league at bat out of the way and everything, but I just want to help."
For a Phillies team that was pounded for years for not promoting young players into situations where they could help the club, these are different days in the City of Brotherly Love. With Carlos Ruiz seeing quality time behind the plate during Mike Lieberthal's absence and Cole Hamels set for his major league debut Friday night, Roberson knows that he could get some chances in key spots. "I'm glad to see Carlos and Cole getting their opportunities and it makes me think that the Phillies value me and what I may be able to bring to the club with Rowand out," said Roberson.