The Phillies should clinch their fifth straight NL East divisional title very soon. Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel will also find ample opportunity to begin affording the regulars some extra rest in coming days. Most teams expanded their major league rosters to 40 adding a collection of players from their minor league systems as the AAA and AA seasons came to an end September 1. The Phillies have essentially been playing 12 men down, adding only Pete Orr, Joe Blanton and Michael Schwimmer to their ranks two weeks ago.
Now that Phillies AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs have ended their postseason run those players on the 40-man roster will now be available for major league service. Among those recalled are OF Domonic Brown and RHP Justin De Fratus. According to Phillies GM Ruben Amaro the Phillies have also selected the contracts of C Erik Kratz, LHP Joe Savery and OF Brandon Moss from Lehigh Valley. Additional players may be recalled in the coming week but have not been announced as yet.
Brown, 24, hit .261 with six doubles, 3 HR and 15 RBI in 41 games for Lehigh Valley this season. In 89 career games with the Phillies, Brown has a .237 average with 7 HR and 32 RBI – including a .246 average in 54 games earlier this season. He was sent back to AAA after the Phillies acquired Hunter Pence from Houston at the July 31 Trading Deadline (actually July 29).
De Fratus went 6-3 with a 2.99 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 75.1 IP between Reading (AA) and Lehigh Valley (AAA) this season. The 23-year-old went 2-3 with a 3.73 ERA in 28 games for the IronPigs following his promotion and is considered one of the brightest pitching prospects in the organization.
Kratz, 31, hit .288 with 19 doubles, 15 HR and 53 RBI in 103 games with Lehigh Valley this season. He was selected to the International League’s All-Star team in July and has spent time in the major leagues including 9 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates last season. In 34 AB Kratz has 4 major league hits (all singles) for a .118 BA after nearly ten years in the minors. Kratz was taken in the 29th round of the 2002 Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. His true value will be to spell Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider behind the plate.
Moss shone in the AAA postseason, socking 4 HR with a .385 BA over 7 games.
Savery finished the regular season 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA for Lehigh Valley. He struck out 26 batters in 25 innings and held lefthanded hitters to a .192 average (5-26). Drafted as a starting pitcher, Savery spent four years on the mound before being converted to a first baseman last fall. He opened the 2011 season at first base for Class A Clearwater and earned Player of the Month honors for April after hitting .450 in 21 games for the Threshers.
The Columbus Clippers have won the Governor’s Cup and repeated as IL Champions, taking the series in four games. Columbus (Cleveland Indians AAA club) will represent the International League facing off against the Pacific Coast League champions. Many IronPigs players chose to stick with manager Ryne Sandberg as they attempted to take the trophy in Sandberg’s first season at Lehigh Valley.
Sandberg himself has been called up the majors, where he will serve as an additional coach with various duties. The 51-year-old Sandberg, a baseball Hall of Famer, led the IronPigs to the International League final in his first season back in the Philadelphia organization since he was traded to the Cubs in 1982. Sandberg is rumored to be the target for vacant major league managerial positions but the Phillies ardently hope that he will continue to be groomed for the job in Philadelphia.
In order to make room on the 40-man roster, pitchers Mike Zagurski, Juan Perez and Drew Naylor were all designated for assignment. None were actively serving in the majors but had brief stints with the Phillies and had been listed on the 40-man roster.
About the Author
Written by Christopher Rowe
Contributing writer Comcast Sports, NY Times contributing stringer 1996-2000, Contributing writer Yahoo Sports (2001 World Series). Contributing writer Newsday Long Island (1992-1994, Jets Training Camp) and Newak Star Ledger. Freelance Copywriter, Editor/Founder Atlantic Times Weekly (1993-2003) fantasy football magazine, produced screenwriter and general humorist. Hofstra University grad, Marist College honorary alum, Salesian; Purveyor of the Value and Valor of Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL Championship; Adrent believer that Eagles could have won Super Bowl XV...and Super Bowl XXXIX...plus modern decade of Eagles 5 NFC Championships... Believer in the Broad Street Bullies and the 1983 Sixers... Witness to Philadelphia Phillies World Series championships 1980 & 2008, Suffered Phillies first pro sports team to reach 10,000 losses,witnessed "1980 Cardiac Kids," 1983 "Wheeze Kids," 1993 "Macho Row" and many, many, many not-so-memorable seasons in-between... until the Philadelphia Baseball Renaissance of 21st Century, Five NL East division titles 2007-2011, 3 NLCS appearances 2008-2010, 2 consecutive World Series berths 2008 & 2009. 2008 World Champions of baseball [miss ya Harry and Richie]; "collector" of MLB ballparks (42 stadiums including 15 which are gone); Fantasy Football & Baseball player since 1992. Always a sports fan... Tenui Nec Dimittam Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org