Minor League News, Notes and Numbers

Kyle Drabek is shut down. Michael Taylor is still out. And there's plenty of other news, notes and numbers to take a look at in the Phillies minor league system.

Don't worry. Kyle Drabek really is okay.

The news that Drabek was shut down by the Phillies seemed to catch some fans off guard. After all, the Reading Phillies are in the hunt for an Eastern League playoff spot and Drabek is a key part of their attack, not to mention the Phillies top pitching prospect.

Drabek has thrown 158 innings this season, far more than he has ever thrown in the past. Plus, just a year ago, he was returning from Tommy John surgery. Even though the Reading Phillies are battling for a playoff spot in the final week of the season, Drabek is more important than a minor league playoff spot.

In his last start, Drabek was hitting the low-90s on the radar gun, but his movement wasn't what it normally is. The result was the Erie Sea Wolves hitting him for five earned runs on ten hits over five innings in one of his worst outings of his minor league career.

The Phillies are being smart in shutting down Drabek, since there is nothing more for him to prove this season. After all, the Phillies were merely looking for Drabek to prove he was healthy, had the skill set that he displayed prior to the surgery and pitch effectively at Double-A Reading. He did all that and more.

To help soften the blow of losing Drabek, Reading receives Michael Schwimer from Clearwater. Schwimer, a reliever, pitched in 48 games with the Threshers this season, saving 20 games in 25 opportunities and posting a 2.85 ERA.

Welcome Back...

Meanwhile, John Ennis rejoins the Phillies 40 man roster. Why, especially since he had Tommy John surgery this past April and won't be of any use to the Phillies in the post-season?

Actually, he will be of use to the Phillies. Upon adding him to the 40 man roster, the Phillies immediately placed him on the 15 day DL. By doing so, the Phillies can replace him with any pitcher who is in the organization as of 11:59 p.m. tonight.

Since Ennis is eligible for the playoffs, but unable to pitch, the Phillies have the right to replace him on the roster. It's a bit of a sneaky - some would say under-handed - move, but it's perfectly legal. And yes, he would also be eligible for a ring should the Phillies win the World Series. But no, they can't replace him with any other player than a pitcher, which brings up an interesting question.

What is a pitcher? Could say, Domonic Brown throw part of an inning for Reading and be considered a pitcher? Interesting.

The Phillies had to clear a spot on the 40 man for Ennis and did so by designating infielder Brad Harman for assignment. The light-hitting Harman has seen his star fade significantly over the past couple of seasons and isn't likely to be with the organization next spring.

Will Taylor return to the 'Pigs?

Michael Taylor has been struggling with a strained oblique that finally landed him on the DL. He's in Clearwater and has been swinging, running and throwing the past few days and will take live batting practice. If that goes well, he could fly back to Lehigh Valley for some of the final games with the IronPigs. The Phillies could also pull a shrewd one and assign him to Reading, where he would be teamed with Brown as Reading fights for a playoff spot.

The alternative is that the Phillies simply decide to shut down Taylor and call it a season. After all, he's had a great year and is in a great position to fight for a spot with the club next season. Of course, it's also possible that he returns to Lehigh Valley and would be teamed with John Mayberry Jr. and Domonic Brown to form one of the biggest and most powerful outfields ever put together in the minors.

Nomar?

Will Nomar Garciaparra ever be a Phillie?

Throughout his career, the Phillies have made a couple of attempts to either trade for or sign Nomar Garciaparra. The latest was last spring when he signed with Oakland rather than coming to Philly because of the chance of increased playing time.

Now, with just hours to go until the Phillies would have to acquire Garciaparra to make him eligible to them for the post-season, there is still some talk that he could wind up in Philadelphia. Oakland wouldn't want much in exchange and Nomar has said he would come to the Phillies.

The arrival of Garciaparra would give the Phillies an alternative to Eric Bruntlett and Miguel Cairo as utility infielders, with little risk in terms of players they would have to give up or in financial investment.

And finally...

Our guesses for who gets a call to the Phillies once the rosters expand.

An immediate call goes out to John Mayberry Jr. and Jack Taschner. After Lehigh Valley's season ends, Kyle Kendrick and possibly, Rodrigo Lopez and/or Andrew Carpenter would rejoin the club. And when Reading's season ends, look for Sergio Escalona and possibly, Mike Zagurski.

Also, don't be surprised if the Phillies make a move or two to adjust the 40 man roster so they can add Scott Mathieson to the club. And teams usually like to add a third catcher, which would mean either Clearwater's Joel Naughton, who is already on the 40 man roster, or they'll open a spot for veteran Paul Hoover, who has done a nice job for Lehigh Valley this season.

It's also likely that they won't activate Antonio Bastardo from the DL, since they would have to clear a spot on the 40 man roster for him as well, since he doesn't count on the roster because he was moved to the 60 day DL.



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