Are Savery and the Phils Close To A Deal?

The Phillies would like nothing more than to get Joe Savery, their first round pick in last month's draft, signed to a professional deal. Almost a month after the draft, Savery still isn't signed, but is there any hope that it will happen soon? And when he does sign, where will he be playing?

Left-hander Joe Savery, the Phillies' first-round draft pick last month, dropped by the clubhouse before batting practice Tuesday in Houston with the team's Texas-based scout, Steve Cohen.

After mingling with several players, Savery said he's close to agreement on contract terms and expects to be pitching for Class-A Lakewood by the end of the month. He also hopes to make his major league debut before the end of next season.

Confidence? Yeah, Savery has plenty.

"I don't expect it to take much longer," Savery, the 19th overall pick out of Rice University, said of signing a contract. "There are some small things that need to play out. The basis is there. There are just a few kinks here and there."

Indications from the Phillies are that negotiations may persist a little longer while the sides haggle over bonuses and incentives.

Last season, the Phillies gave right-hander Kyle Drabek a $1.55 million signing bonus after selecting him with the 16th overall pick. This year, the Toronto Blue Jays signed 16th pick Kevin Ahrens for $1.44 million, and the Los Angeles Dodgers signed 20th pick Chris Withrow for $1.35 million. Savery will slot somewhere in between.

"I'm ready to go play," Savery said. "As soon as we get that stuff settled, I'm going to go start throwing."

PHILLIES NOTEBOOK

  • Jon Lieber's season is over. As expected, Lieber has opted for surgery to fix the ruptured tendon in his right foot. The procedure will be performed Friday in Baltimore by Dr. Mark Myerson. The news hardly came as a surprise to Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who wasn't counting on Lieber returning after he was diagnosed with the ruptured tendon June 23. Lieber was injured three nights earlier when he tried to back up home plate. Lieber, who will be a free agent after the season, was 3-6 with a 4.73 ERA in 14 appearances (12 starts). After signing a three-year, $21 million contract before the 2005 season, he went 29-30 with a 4.55 ERA in 76 games (74 starts) for the Phillies. "I felt some things would have been a little different if he would have pitched better," Manuel said, alluding to weight problems that plagued Lieber over the past two seasons.
  • CF Aaron Rowand, nursing a bruise near the base of his right thumb, wasn't in the starting lineup Tuesday or Wednesday. Rowand was injured Sunday when he got jammed by two pitches from Mets RHP Mike Pelfrey. "The first one didn't hurt as much, but the 95 mph sinker got me," Rowand said. "Getting a base hit later off (reliever Aaron) Heilman didn't help either."
  • Antonio Alfonseca jumped off the mound and pumped his fist, thinking he'd just recorded his seventh save in eight opportunities with a game-ending double play Tuesday night. But first base umpire Lance Barksdale called Carlos Lee safe at first, allowing the tying run to score in the ninth inning Tuesday. Replays showed Lee was out by at least a step. Alfonseca, 1B Ryan Howard and manager Charlie Manuel disputed the call to no avail. Alfonseca is filling in as the closer because Tom Gordon and Brett Myers have shoulder injuries. Gordon is scheduled to pitch for Clearwater Wednesday, but won't return to the Phillies until after the All-Star Break.

  • Shane Victorino nearly made a sensational play Monday night by lunging into the seats along the right field line in the seventh inning in pursuit of a foul ball. But, if he'd have caught the ball, it may not have counted. According to Rule 6.05, an out cannot be recorded in an out-of-play-area. Ultimately, though, first-base umpire Tim Welke could have ruled that Victorino's feet hadn't left the field of play when he vaulted himself into the stands.
  • Michael Bourn got a couple of starts in his native Houston because of Rowand's injury. Before his hometown crowd, Bourn recorded three hits and drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning Tuesday night, but finished Wednesday with an 0-for-5 collar. Bourn graduated from Nimitz High in 2000 and played at the University of Houston.

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