A Home For Henry

C.J. Henry was a first round pick of the New York Yankees in 2005. Before long though he found himself coming to the Phillies in the Bobby Abreu deal. Now, the only problem is that the Phillies have to get Henry settled into a position.

It all seemed so easy; C.J. Henry figured he would work his way through the Yankees system and eventually take over at shortstop for Derek Jeter on the New York Yankees. That may or may not have played out, but nobody will ever know for sure since Henry wound up leaving the Yankees when they acquired Bobby Abreu from the Phillies last July. That put Henry in an organization with a good, young shortstop in Jimmy Rollins, who just happens to be signed long-term.

So, what about Henry?

The Phillies sent C.J. Henry to the Florida Instructional League last fall. The FIL was great for Henry, who hadn't completely fit in with a lot of players in his new organization yet. It was an opportunity for him to get to know some of the players in the organization and feel more at home. It was also a chance for him to start working on a plan that might work well for both him and the Phillies.

While shortstop may not be a position of need for the Phillies, third base is - or at least could be. So, the Phillies moved Henry a few steps to his right and are looking to make a third baseman out of him. Defensively, the move may be much better for Henry's development since he wasn't exactly setting the world on fire with his defensive prowess at shortstop. Range wasn't one of Henry's strongest points, so at third base, he may be able to feel a little more comfortable defensively.

At the Major League level, the Phillies aren't nearly as set at third base as they are at shortstop, so Henry's path may seem a little easier to navigate. Look closer though and you realize that he may have moved into another position where he's again blocked. Mike Costanzo will start the season at Double-A Reading and is the heir apparent to the Phillies' third base spot. Costanzo has shown more offensive potential early on in his career and doesn't have the defensive shortcomings that Henry has. Henry will likely start the season at Clearwater, with Costanzo a level ahead of him, standing as a huge obstacle for Henry to face.

For Costanzo's part, he's not worrying about any competition. "That's one of those things that I can't control, so I don't worry about it," said Costanzo in his on-line journal with Philly Baseball News. Phillies' minor league director Steve Noworyta said in a radio interview that he believes competition is good and that you can't have too much competition. Noworyta also believes that both Henry and Costanzo will step up to the competition and respond with big seasons.

you truly can never tell how things will play out when it comes to young players. There are always issues like injuries or a player that doesn't match up to his potential or any other number of things that can happen to change the course of any path to the majors. Henry found that out when he was part of the Abreu deal and who knows, he could find it out again if Costanzo keeps him blocked, but Henry remains a viable prospect.


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