Scouting Report: Kris Benson

As Kris Benson works his way back to the majors, the journey brought him to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs for his first Triple-A start since 2002. While the results weren't spectacular, there were at least some good signs to take out of the start.

Velocity: Kris Benson was basically in the upper-80s to around 90 miles per hour. There was a definite "warming up" period for him at the start of the game that saw him go from around 88 mph on most of his early pitches to 90 mph on most after about 10 or 12 pitches. He held his velocity generally in that area, but was able to crank it as high as 93 on occasion. He changed speeds well and moved his pitches around in the strike zone.

Control: Benson moved the ball around the strike zone and did leave a couple of balls out over the plate that were very hittable. Overall though, his control was good and he was generally working from the middle of the zone down.

Mechanics: It looked like Benson was relaxed and his mechanics were pretty smooth. He really didn't appear to labor much and while he was on an 80-pitch pitch count, he looked strong when he exited the game after four innings and 73 pitches (he threw the rest in the bullpen).

The good points: Right now, it's just a matter of Benson staying healthy and building arm strength. Everything looked pretty good and his line is deceiving, because the Syracuse Chiefs picked up a couple of hits on balls that weren't exactly scalded all over the field. Perhaps the hardest ball hit was chased down by T.J. Bohn, who made a running, leaping catch on the track in center field to get Benson out of what would have been a tough spot.

After the game, Benson pointed out that he felt good about the outing primarily because he was able to get to 80 pitches without any problems and because he was generally able to get hitters out. The thing to keep in mind is that Benson has looked better in each rehab start and for now, that's all that anybody can ask of him.

The bad points: His outing showed that there is still more work to do for Benson, which everybody knew, but you can always hope for more. Basically, it may take Benson a little while to get to where he can truly be ready for a return to the majors, but he's at least started down that road and as long as no other injuries come along (like the groin injury that he suffered earlier this season) he should be able to force the Phillies hand before too long.

The bottom line: If you're hoping that Kris Benson could step into the rotation for Brett Myers, you're mistaken. Maybe eventually, but for now, Benson needs more work and the Phillies will likely have to limp along with Myers as part of their rotation until much closer to the All-Star Break or possibly, the trade deadline. For now though, he's healthy and there is legitimate hope for the future.

Kris Benson's rehab stats

Clearwater 0 2 8.10 2 2 6.2 10 6 6 3 3 6 1.95
Lehigh Valley 0 1 9.00 1 1 4.0 5 4 4 0 0 1 1.25
TOTALS 0 3 8.43 3 3 10.2 15 10 10 3 3 7 1.69

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