Posts Tagged ‘J.A Happ


PHILLIES: Concern for Ryan Howard

The injury bug has been present all-season long in the Phillies clubhouse.

Want proof?

Chase Utley, Placido Polanco, Brad Lidge, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez, Ryan Madson, Joe Blanton, Carlos Ruiz, Chad Durbin, J.C Romero, Brian Schneider, Antonio Bastardo and the recently departed J.A Happ have all already spent time on the disabled list.  That’s 14 disabled list casualties among the projected 25-man roster for this team at the beginning of the season. For some (Rollins, Victorino, Lidge), their individual stint has even turned into stint(s).

Pluralities are never good when talking about injuries.

However, with Utley and Victorino still on the DL, and Raul Ibanez dealing with a wrist injury, Philadelphia’s injury issues were put under an even greater microscope Sunday after slugger Ryan Howard sprained his ankle sliding into second base.

Ryan Howard's ankle injury is the most recent cause of concern regarding the Phillies.

For the Phillies, losing Howard for a long duration of time may affect the chemistry for this team more than any other injury this season. Bold statement aside, I am not questioning the value of Chase Utley or Jimmy Rollins to this team by ranking them under Howard in this comparison of order of importance. They are both all-star caliber players, and they obviously both have very important (and different) roles on this team. With that said, losing a guy who is involved in plating or scoring almost a quarter of the offense’s runs over the course of a season and is one of the biggest threats in baseball with what he can do with one swing of the bat would be absolutely detrimental to the Phillies playoff hopes is in 2010.

The good news?

Nothing’s broken. Howard’s MRI immediately following Sunday’s contest against the Nationals revealed no broken or fractured bones in his ankle, ruling out a possible surgical procedure that would lengthen a DL visit.

The bad news?

This injury, one that was earlier categorized as “a couple day thing” by manager Charlie Manuel on Sunday, may be more severe than we all, including the skipper, originally anticipated. After Howard left Nationals park on Sunday on crutches, it was announced late Monday night by MLB.COM’s Todd Zolecki that instead of traveling with the team to Florida for the Phillies series against the Marlins, Howard would be going to Philadelphia to meet with team doctors about the status of his ankle.

The scenario.

If the doctors conclude that he the condition of the ankle is improving, he’ll fly down to Florida himself, and rejoin the team (maybe not in a active role right away) on Wednesday. On the other side of the spectrum, if the pain and the swollen nature of the injury does not subside substantially (which it hasn’t as of late Monday night) in the next 12-24 hours, then it is very likely that Howard will end up on the 15-day DL, retroactive to Sunday, August 1st.

Sadly, my intuition tells me the ladder might for in store for the Phillies, which if you look at them right now, are a team that can ill-afford the reality of an injury like that to a player like Howard while being in the middle of a pennant race.



For the third separate time in 12 months, a different ace pitcher will be calling Philadelphia their new home.

First, it was Cliff Lee.

Then it was Roy Halladay.

Now, Roy Oswalt is coming to the City of Brotherly Love.

After a week of speculation, the final deal looks like this.

Roy Oswalt and Cash (11 million dollars) to the Philadelphia Phillies for P J.A Happ, OF Anthony Gose, and SS Jonathan Villar

Another part of the deal is that the Phillies DO NOT have to pick up Oswalt’s 16 million dollar option for the 2012 season, something that was rumored to be a condition of Oswalt waiving his “No Trade Clause” and going to another destination.

According to GM Ruben Amaro Jr., Oswalt will fly from Houston to Washington DC late Thursday Night. He will then travel to Nationals Park on Friday morning with the team. So, as it stands now, not only will he be in uniform for the Phillies for the start of their series with the Nationals on Friday, but he is also scheduled to make his debut on the mound tomorrow night for the Phillies.

With that said, I’m going to let this all sink in.

A reaction post to the trade will come later tonight after the Phillies game.

Until then, celebrate..


PHILLIES: Impact of Injuries Overshadow Wins

So much for struggling.

Winners of their last six straight, the Philadelphia Phillies have cut the Atlanta Braves seven-game lead in the division last week right in half.

That’s right, 3.5 Games.

That deficit can be erased in a series, let alone two months, so to say that the Phillies are back to being contenders is an understatement.

With that said, recent injuries to SS Jimmy Rollins and OF Shane Victorino have overshadowed this recent win streak and enhanced the already strong rumors surrounding personnel changes in the home clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park.

First off, the Rollins injury.

With a negative MRI only showing a contusion after fouling a ball off his ankle, it doesn’t look like J-Roll will be out of the fold for long. A couple games, a week at most. But, with this being Jimmy’s 3rd relatively significant injury this season, along with 2B Chase Utley being out until September, the call for infield depth is growing by the day.

As much as people should appreciate what Wilson Valdez has done throughout the entire season, the honeymoon with him and the Phillies organization is over. At some point, you can’t deny the stats. Due to the fact that he’s hit .217 since June 28th (when he assumed a regular role as Utley’s replacement) and that he grounds into a double-play once 12.9 AB (a rate that is far and away tops in MLB), he really can’t fit into the Phillies equation as anything more than a above-average defensive or pinch-running substitution off the bench.

So who do the Phillies get?

Looking through the guys who have been subject to the majority of trade rumors, it seems like Baltimore SS Miguel Tejada may be the best fit. As former perennial all-star on the back end of his career who is tucked away on the roster of one of the worst teams in baseball, he might not sound all that intriguing. The truth of the matter is, his relatively cheap 2.5 million dollar salary for the remainder of the season along with his ability to play both positions on the left side of the infield are both extremely attractive. Plus, it doesn’t seem that it would take that much (maybe two MLB ready prospects) to pry him away from the Orioles organization, which is obviously in a rebuild mode and has two solid, young prospects in SS Robert Andino and 3B Josh Bell putting up great numbers in Triple-A Norfolk, waiting for an extended opportunity in the show.

If that doesn’t pan out, other guys who have been linked to the Phillies in recent weeks are Baltimore Orioles INF Ty Wigginton, Washington Nationals INF Christian Guzman, Arizona Diamondbacks 2B Kelly Johnson, Oakland Athletics SS Mark Ellis, and Seattle Mariners INF Felipe Lopez.

If Rollins does come back in a couple days though like he said he will, this is just a secondary issue.

Now onto something more pressing.

Shane’s injury.

Victorino’s injured oblique makes the OF situation for the Phillies very confusing. While an MRI will clear up some of those complications, the calls for bringing up uber-prospect Domonic Brown still have to be approaching a near endless volume.

Has his play deserved a promotion?

In one word, yes.

Is Werth here to stay?

But, for a young guy who figures to be a cornerstone in the Citizens Bank Park outfield grass for the next decade, I’m not sure that the Phillies front office will want to make his anticipated big league arrival a temporary one. If Brown is called up to fill up a roster-spot if Victorino takes an extended trip to bench and lands on the DL or assumes a partial starting role (See my A Sudden Surge post for a platoon proposition) if Jayson Werth is traded, then okay, that’s understandable.

However, if the injury to the Flyin’ Hawaiian is mild, and Jayson Werth remains in a Phillies uniform, then don’t be surprised if the Phillies make up for Victorino’s absence without calling up Brown. Right now, a Ben Francisco/Ross Gload Platoon in RF (Francisco against LHP, Gload against RHP) with Werth moving over to CF and calling up a guy with big league experience like John Mayberry Jr.  as an extra right-handed bat who can play both corner-outfield positions may be the proper move to keep atmosphere in the Phillies clubhouse a positive one.

Along those lines, even if it means holding back his rare talent, it may be the right decision to have Brown wait to make his first big league contribution until after September 1st when the rosters expand. That may seem crazy considering Brown’s hype, and all the speculation that has surrounded Werth’s alleged departure from Philadelphia over the last couple months, but at the end of the day, the goal for this team remains the same.

As Charlie Manuel mentioned Tuesday in an interview with the 610 WIP Midday Show crew of Glen Macnow and Anthony Gargano, that goal is to return to the World Series. Lofty, I know. The Phillies recent play of late though has indicated  that there is still somewhat of a possibility to return to that type of prominence, and losing a valuable offensive weapon like Werth to a trade combined with the losses to Rollins and Victorino could potentially cripple the momentum that has been built over the last week.

The trickle down effect of this.

Keeping Werth will mean a trade for Roy Oswalt is unlikely.

Yes, the Phillies could still obtain Oswalt in a package that includes something resembling J.A Happ, Vance Worley, and two top 10 prospects (Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bob Brookover repports that Anthony Gose and Jonathan Singleton may be on the Astros wish list), but something tells me Ruben Amaro won’t be too keen on giving up that much.

Especially for a pitcher with chronic back issues who wants a 16 million dollar option picked up in 2012 while sporting a 6-12 record this season.

While there is little doubt that Oswalt is better than his record indicates, there is also little doubt that if he’s not healthy now, odds are that he won’t be healthy when it is time to pay him that chunk of change either.

So, even if you are still calling for pitching help (as you should), just don’t forget that.


PHILLIES: A Sudden Surge

Don’t look now, but the Phillies have shown that they can at least be a shell of the team that they were projected to be at the beginning of the season.

In the last three games that is.

In those games (two of them in particular), the Phillies finally got the superior pitching from the top half of their starting rotation with Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels that they have been lacking the first 3 1/2 months. Don’t get me wrong, they haven’t pitched bad, and they also haven’t gotten much help in the form of run support, but as their records have indicated (10-8 for Halladay, 7-7 for Hamels), the season so far has not gone as anticipated for two pitchers who are as highly regarded around baseball circles as they both are.

Especially for Doc.

However, for argubly the first time all season, Philadelphia fans saw Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay literally carry the Phillies to two consecutive wins when they needed it the most.

Cole Hamels may be the x-factor for the Phillies down the stretch.

Mired in three-game losing streak and in a 2-6 stretch of poor baseball, 17 combined scoreless innings from Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay brought back this Phillies team from the verge of baseball death. Although Hamels got a no-decision in his outing as the Phillies had to go to extra innings against the Cardinals to pull out the victory, to see the southpaw show signs of his 2008 form was a unbelievable sign. All things considered, with the back end of the rotation being so in-flux due an injury to Jamie Moyer, the inconsistent production from Kyle Kendrick, and the questionable status of J.A Happ, a surging Hamels along with getting the per-usual production from Halladay may deter the Phillies front office from the desperation move of depleting an already depleted farm system by dumping off more young prospects for pitching help (Dan Haren or Roy Oswalt) at the trade deadline that is just a week away.

In addition to the performances of Hamels and Halladay, the Phillies bats may have gotten the reality check they needed in the past couple of days after long-time hitting coach Milt Thompson was fired after Thursday’s game against the Cardinals. In the two games since the departure of Thompson and the return of hitting coach Greg Gross, by scoring six and ten runs respectively, the offense has finally reverted back to their 2008 and 2009 form!

Well, not quite.

However, they are starting to do things offensively that draw similarities to their prolific offensive displays of the past. Especially in the two years the Philles have gone to the World Series, the factor that has separated them from the other teams in the NL is their ability to break out at any time and take control of the game. In other words, their ability to put up a crooked number (5, 6, 7 runs in an inning) in the box score has allowed them to come back into games and put away others in a way that few other team have the ability and talent on the roster to do.

In the last two games, the Phillies ability to accomplish just that (especially sending Colorado Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez to his second loss of the season by scoring seven runs in the third inning) is just one example of how you cannot count this team out, no matter how bad they look during some stretches, whether they make a deal to get a pitcher or to trade Jayson Werth or not, until the final game of the regular season.

By my count, that is still 65 games away.

If I remember correctly, the Phillies only needed 17 games in 2007.

Other News, Notes, and Thoughts..

: Phillies have to make a move for J.A Happ to start on Sunday. The guy sent down is likely going to be Vance Worley, who pitched a scoreless inning in his big league debut on Saturday. Unfortunate.

: Even with the Cardinals the favorites to get Roy Oswalt and the Yankees the leaders to obtain Dan Haren, the Phillies are still  in the running for the services of either pitcher. In fact, the Phillies have sent out scouts to their recent starts, and the Astros have even sent scouts to recent Phillies games. However, one pitcher you can count out for the Phillies is Oakland’s Ben Sheets, who will reportedly go on the DL with a strained elbow.

: Even with a 7 IP, 1 ER start by Kyle Kendrick for his sixth win of the season, I still feel that the Phillies need to go out there and explore pitching help. Ruben Amaro can state all he wants that the Phillies are still “buyers”, but if he stands pat with a back-end of the rotation of Kendrick and a questionable J.A Happ, people may take issue with that. In the case of Kendrick, the organization has shown that they do not have confidence in him to get out big-league hitters, proved by the fact that they optioned him for Triple-A. Amaro keeping him in he rotation will only prove that he has conceded to the fact that they have no better option, a decision that will certainly allow the skeptics to question his credibility. With that said, I’m not as critical on Kendrick as most are. He’s never going to be a dominant MLB pitcher, and he has the tendency to fall victim of the big inning or even the big game, but he’s the fifth starter for crying out loud. To expect much better than a 6-4 record out of a guy in his position is unrealistic.

: SHOULD THE PHILLIES TRADE JAYSON WERTH BEFORE THE TRADE DEADLINE? I have gone back and forth on this million dollar question hundreds of times throughout the season, but the final conclusion is YES. Werth is in the prime of his career, and his a borderline all-star when he is right physically and mentally, but with the stagnant trade market for Raul Ibanez and the anticipation for the debut of Domonic Brown, this may be the only time where you can get appropriate value (and not dealing him, letting him walk in the off-season, and get two draft picks from the team that signs him is NOT enough) for Werth. Yes, dealing Werth and supplanting Brown in his place may cause the Phillies to be too left-handed dominant at the plate, but there are options to limit that, an example being a regular platoon.

EX: Trade Werth, Brown starts in RF vs. RHP, Francisco in RF against LHP, Brown spares Ibanez against LHP in LF at times in an effort to get regular at-bats.

Done, done, and done.


PHILLIES: Breakdown of Trade Rumors

Been a pretty crazy last 48 hours if I do say so myself.

Kyle Kendrick gets optioned to Triple-A, Jamie Moyer gets hurt and placed on the disabled list, Phillies fall to seven games back in the NL East, and last but not least, ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE.

Well, everything except the last one.

Sort of.

Only three games over .500 at the end of July, the hands of the Phillies organization are reaching towards the panic button, and slowly but surely, reaching to push it (and for good reason). With Kendrick and Moyer out of the fold for presumably the rest of the season, that leaves THREE pitchers (Halladay, Hamels, Blanton) who can be deemed as starters based on their big league careers. As most of you know, a normal major league pitching rotation is usually satisfied with FIVE pitchers.

By means of basic subtraction, that means the Phillies have TWO spots they have to fill.

Unless he is dealt, for the time being it looks like one of those spots belongs to J.A Happ. After pitching three scoreless innings with Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday, Happ was abruptly pulled from his start vs. Indianapolis. In his postgame press conference, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said that Happ “will be helping us”. Can’t be too sure what is meant by that, especially when it is said by the Good Ole’ Southern Boy himself, but  for the sake of the post, the likelihood of Happ being on a plane to St. Louis as the Phillies potential starter on Saturday night against Colorado is high.

The second spot, well, that’s not so clear. By process of elimination (No Moyer, No Kendrick, No Carpenter), that spot belongs to..VANCE WORLEY. Not really a household name, so if you don’t know him, that’s okay, you can keep your fan card. With a 9-3 record at Reading this year, Worley being added to the big league roster instead of one of the stockpile of pitchers at Lehigh Valley completes the unusual move of promoting a Double-A pitcher straight to the majors for his big league debut.

Unusual, yes it was, but it does happen. Unfortunately for Worley,  it may not get that far.

When Moyer went down with a “strained” left elbow around 8:45 P.M ET Tuesday, that was most likely the cue for GM Ruben Amaro to get on the phone and begin to take the steps on pulling the trigger on a deal to obtain a top-notch starting pitcher that has been speculated about for the past two months. And low and behold, by the end of the night, talks with the Houston Astros to obtain ace SP Roy Oswalt were considered “hot and heavy” by multiple sources, including ESPN Baseball Insider Jayson Stark and FOX Sports Baseball Columnist Ken Rosenthal.

So is Oswalt to the Phillies a done deal?

Probably not, there are multiple obstacles.

The biggest one: Oswalt demanding that his potential new home pick up his $16 million option for 2012 is probably the biggest one.  When all is said and done, that could be too steep of a price for the Phillies who will also have Joe Blanton ($8.5 Mil in 2012) under contract and will most likely try to resign Cole Hamels after a 2011 season where he will be making $9.5 million.

That’s a lot of money to be invested in three arms that are not relatively fresh by MLB standards.

Plus, it’s not like money grows on trees. Well, unless you are the New York Yankees..

Also, Ruben Amaro and company seem to have a contingency plan if the Oswalt deal falls by the wayside.  The Phillies are reportedly in talks with multiple teams about acquiring Arizona’s Dan Haren, Oakland’s Ben Sheets, or Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie. Truth be told, a deal for any of these pitchers might be more attractive than Oswalt at the end of the day because of a lower asking price and cap-friendly contracts.

With all that has been speculated recently (players at the four main levels of organization have been mentioned) on what the Phillies would have to give up, it’s almost impossible to predict who could be in the deal when a deal is done (and it will be done). However, what we do know is that it is going to take a collection of players, most likely three or four in total, and lastly, another team (Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox have been said to be interested) to help facilitate a trade that would bring Roy Oswalt (or Dan Haren) and prospects to Philadelphia. All things considered, I still think they are leaning towards that kind of blockbuster deal rather than a one-year rental on Sheets, Guthrie, or Jake Westbrook.

With that said, here’s the breakdown of who has been mentioned and how they factor into a possible trade for a top-notch starter.


Possibly 1 Everyday Big Leaguer: Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez

1 or 2 Guys who are MLB Ready (or close): J.A Happ, Kyle Kendrick, Scott Mathieson, Antonio Bastardo, Mike Zagurski, Drew Carpenter, John Mayberry Jr., Joe Savery, Vance Worley

1 Top Prospect: Jared Cosart, Jonathan Singleton, Brody Colvin, Anthony Gose, Phillipe Aumont, Matthew Way

One of the players who is noticeably absent from that breakdown is Domonic Brown. The rationale there is if the Phillies didn’t include him for deals to obtain Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay, then they won’t include him on a deal for any of these available pitchers, especially since his stock has only grown since Philadelphia pulled off a their last blockbuster this offseason.

Now, it’s quite possible that Brown will be moved. Not denying that. However, I’m going to go out there on a limb and say that it will be restricted to just the Phillies clubhouse, where he will prepare to make his big league debut for the organization that has brought him up through the ranks over the last three years.

Even with this estimate though, and the Brown prediction, so many others are fair game. There are 100+ players within the Phillies organization, and maybe 10 have the “untouchable” label that is so difficult to attain.

Then again, Phillies prospect Kyle Drabek was considered “untouchable” this time last year.

And look what happened to him.

Updates will be given throughout the night..


6:30 PM WED: As reported by Phillies MLB.COM Beat Writer Todd Zolecki, Vance Worley was added as an extra long-reliever, much like Drew Carpenter’s recent 24-hour role with the Phillies. Philadelphia now has FOUR starters (Halladay, Hamels, Blanton, and Happ when he’s added) on their roster. No starter announced for Saturday yet, which was Kendrick’s spot.

11:45 PM WED: Phillies scouts are apparently present for Dan Haren’s start tonight. Not surprising, since CSN’s Jim Salisbury believes the Phillies may stick with what they have in terms if pitching if they can’t get Haren or Roy Oswalt. I still think they get one of the two mentioned, but if that is impossible, there is NO WAY they stand pat. In fact, I’m going to go further. Here are two other names who have popped up in trade rumors because of their alleged availability. Cleveland’s Fausto Carmona and Arizona’s Edwin Jackson.


PHILLIES: Injury Updates and more..

Besides arguably the Boston Red Sox, the Philadelphia Phillies are likely the most injury-plagued team in all of baseball. The number is up to seven on the disabled list, with one other (Brian Schnieder) missing time without being on the DL due to an injury. Instead of hearing names such as Utley, Polanco, and Ruiz in the regular lineup, the scoreboard announcers are now resigned to read names such as Dobbs, Valdez, and Sardinha on a daily basis.

Scary thought.

But when will this nightmare end?


Chase Utley: Besides a win against the Braves on Monday night, there was other good news to come out of Citizens Bank Park. Heard from for the first time since he underwent surgery on his thumb five days ago, Utley said he hopes to be back in 6 weeks. 6 WEEKS! That’s a breath of fresh air considering doctors, baseball insiders, and even the team trainer were saying that Utley wouldn’t see the diamond until at least the beginning of September. I’m not sure if Utley is accurate, but if you average the two, meaning you get Utley back HEALTHY between the middle of August and the 1st of September, consider it a success.

Placido Polanco: Not much to report on the Polanco front. On Thursday, team trainer Scott Sheridan reported that Polanco would miss 3-4 weeks due to his inflamed elbow, and that seems to be the accurate time table. Polanco will rest for at least another couple days, and will start a rehabilitation program into the AS break. If all goes well, Polanco should be back within a couple days after the All-Star Game on July 13th.

Ryan Madson: After being sidelined the last two months for breaking a toe while kicking a chair in frustration, Ryan Madson might actually be ready to come back and contribute at the big league level. He is clearly on the last legs of his rehab, in which he is slated to throw two straight nights at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. One night of that rehab is over and done with, and even though the results weren’t great to say the least (2/3 IP, 1 ER, 2 BB), if all goes according to plan (meaning his surgically repaired toe does not fall off) Tuesday night, he should be activated to the Phillies roster by this weekend.

J.A Happ: After six rehab appearances in three minor league levels, Happ finally appears to be finally getting back to full strength. In his last rehabilitation appearance at Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Sunday, Happ’s velocity sat in the low 90’s, and his first three innings pitched were perfect. The problem is that his last two innings (4 ER), most certainly were not. With Happ, the question is not whether he is healthy again, the question is whether his stuff is good enough right now to get out big league hitters. While Happ is confident in his stuff, Charlie Manuel and the rest of the Phillies front office brass think otherwise. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Happ was activated from the DL on Tuesday, and then optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Carlos Ruiz: Ruiz looked like he was a couple days from returning, and then it was reported that he was still feeling symptoms from the concussion he endured after getting hit in the back of the head by a bat swung by Jason Kubel of the Twins. Head injuries are tricky, especially when it involves catchers, who have call all nine innings during these dog days of summer with 10 pounds of extra equipment on. Don’t count on seeing Chooch until AT LEAST the end of the All-Star break.

Chad Durbin & Antonio Bastardo: There is a lot of the unknown surrounding these two members of the bullpen that are out of action. Durbin (hamstring) and Bastardo (left elbow) are both on the 15-day DL with injuries that will take much longer than 15 days to cure. Getting Ryan Madson back will help people forget about Durbin, but Mike Zagurski’s inconsistent performance as a member of the Phillies bullpen is making Bastardo’s presence at a situational lefty missed.


: The question still lingers. Will the Phillies make a trade for an infielder to account for injures to Utley and Polanco? Time is winding down a little bit, but I still think they make a deal. The two most likely candidates still have to be Baltimore’s Ty Wigginton and Seattle’s Jose Lopez because of their ability to play both INF positions, but Arizona’s Kelly Johnson may be the surprise choice because Arizona has trade needs at positions that the Phillies have alot of depth in (Remember, the Diamondbacks were interested in Kyle Kendrick at one point last year).

: In the past, I know I’ve said that people should be patient with Phillies #1 overall prospect Domonic Brown. My original philosophy is becoming quite difficult. In 12 games since being called up to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Brown is absolutely obliterating the competition. As the proud owner of a stat-line that reads “.405 BA, 4 HR, 11 RBI’s”, he is surely creating a buzz that Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth can’t be too comfortable about.  It’s not just the stats. After watching him live the past six games and seeing his 400+ ft. bombs in person, the kid is THAT good. It should be interesting to see if the Phillies listen to offers for Jayson Werth at the deadline (Raul Ibanez won’t have much of a trade value due to his age, contractual issues, and most importantly, his recent lack of prouduction) .

Would I?

In one word, yes. As much as the Phillies and their fans love Werth, you have to at least take the time to listen to offers with Domonic Brown assauting minor league pitching  just an hour away and one level below.


PHILLIES: Happ “anxious” in Triple-A Rehab Start

Multiple times, J.A Happ categorized his latest rehab appearance with Triple-A Lehigh Valley as “anxious”.

In context, I’m not sure if that is grammatically the right type of adjective, but with 100 pitches in 4+ innings, giving up 2 runs, 6 hits, against the Rochester Red Wings, it safe to say he was a bit baffled on all fronts on Tuesday night.

From the first batter, Happ looked a bit lost. Even though his velocity (87-90 mph) was the best it has been since the start of his rehab, he fell behind eight of his first ten hitters, something that has to be concerning for pitcher that prides himself in his control. In addition to basic control issues, it appears that he doesn’t quite have the “out” pitch yet that most big league pitchers need to be successful. Especially for a player with average big-league stuff at best, this needs to change before Happ makes his jump back to the bigs.

When he is ready, of course.

All in all, as you can tell by the mood of this post, Happ’s outing showed minimal evidence that he should be back in a Phillies uniform, but could have certainly been worse. Happ gave up three extra base hits (including one HR), walked as many batters as he struck out (4), and if not for Domonic Brown stealing the show (outfield assist ended an inning that had 2 runners on base, both inherited by Happ), would have had a final pitching line that could be considered sub-par by most rehab start standards.

All in all, Happ’s four innings at Coca-Cola park Tuesday night most likely bought him one more rehab appearance at either Reading or Lehigh Valley before his DL stint is set to be finished next week.

According to his post-game press conference though, that may not be what J.A Happ is imagining.


HAPP PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT (Partial because there were plenty of repetitive questions)

How did the forearm feel out there?

Happ:  “Today was the best I felt. I actually felt normal today healthwise. I got ahead in the counts, and threw a lot of pitches, but besides that I felt real good.”

As you take us through the outing, do you think you showed any signs of rust?

Happ: “I guess. I’ve had enough outings where the rust should be off, but tonight I think it was more of me being anxious. Trying to throw strike one and not being able to do it, it’s a strange feeling. I felt good out there, but I just threw too many pitches and they (Rochester) did a good job of battling and fighting pitches off.”

Do you think some of that is just trying too hard to make it back to the big leagues?

Happ: ” Could be something like that. It is what it is. Hopefully this is my last one, and that’s the way I viewed it. I threw one of my best bullpen sessions in the last couple years here, and believe it or not, sometimes that is a bad sign when you throw a good bullpen like that. I mean, I just went out there, and wasn’t as sharp as I’d like, but I feel like I can correct it because I finally feel good again. Physically, right now, I feel ready.”

Do you have any indication on what your role is going to be when you get back with Philadelphia?

Happ: “We never talked about anything besides coming back as a starter. I feel like that’s why they brought me back, but in the end it’s going to be their decision.”

How sick are you of this rehab?

Happ: “I’m ready man. I’m ready, you guys have no idea. There are not words to explain how frustrating this whole thing has been. From initially thinking it was going to be 10-15 days to here we are however many weeks later and I’m here. So, I’m just really anxious and obviously disappointed I couldn’t go a couple more (innings), but overall I’m happy with the way I feel. I feel real good.”

With your pitch count around 100, the most you have thrown during your rehab, are there any ill-effects or extra soreness from that?

Happ: ” No. I had an extra day because of their (Iron Pigs) road trip, so I feel good. I actually tried to convince Rod (Nichols) to let me in a face a couple more hitters just to try to get my pitch count up there like it would be normally. Hopefully I rebound good, I don’t see why I wouldn’t.”

If they give you one more start here (Lehigh Valley), would you take that is a negative?

Happ: “It’s not up to me. But, with what we just talked about, I’m anxious to get back. It’s not really going to be my choice though.”

With the year you had last year, and now spending all this time rehabbing, do you feel that you are back at “square one” in this whole process of proving yourself again a big league pitcher?

Happ: ” The way it kind of worked out is that this is sort of Spring Training for me. I only had a couple outing before this happened, and I’ve been trying to get back. It’s been a grind, but I feel like I am on the verge. Any day now, it’ll be there.”

The Philly Phour

August 2017
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