Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Roster Battles - Present and Future - Continue

* Jen Langosch of has a piece on Andy Phillips and his achy, breaky back. It seems like the utility man had a setback in his rehab, and the clock is working to loosen his once fairly firm grasp on a roster spot. It's an adage as old as the game: you can't make the club in a tub.

Luis Cruz and Brian Bixler are auditioning for his bench role. Cruz is more versatile in the field, but his bat has been AWOL all spring. Bix has had his strongest camp, and more telling, the suits are working him out at first base a little bit, too. That bodes poorly for both Cruz and Garrett Jones.

John Perrotto of Pirates Report has the dope on Bix.

* Chuck Finder of the Post Gazette has an article on Neil Walker and his place in the Pirate sun. The suits have plans for him; what they are is still up in the air. Neal Huntington said of the third base logjam:
"We're still developing Neil Walker to be an everyday player at the major-league level. When we have two guys who are well established, quality, everyday third basemen, then we have a decision to make: Do we trade one, or do we move positions with one? It might be Andy, it might be Neil or it might be Pedro who will go somewhere else or go to another position. Right now, we're excited about all three."
For example, it's rumored that the Brave's 30-year old RHP Jorge Campillo is on the market. He was 8-7 with a 3.91 ERA in 25 starts and 39 appearances for Atlanta. And guess what? They're looking for a third baseman. Hmmm...

GW isn't necessarily advocating that match - we don't know much about Campillo other than he's a screwball artist, ala countryman Fernando Valenzuela - but there are deals to be made, and we expect a couple before camp breaks.

*Finder also provided a look at Garrett Jones, who fills an aching void at first base in the upper levels of the Pirate system and is the ace-up-the-sleeve when Adam LaRoche moves on.

* Langosch added a story on the forgotten man in the Jay Bay trade, Bryan Morris. He's 100% healthy and rarin' to go. The suits will start him at Lynchburg, and the righty power arm will be Altoona-bound in a heartbeat if he continues to show progress against the High-A sticks.

1 comment:

WilliamJPellas said...

A healthy Andy Phillips would certainly have it all over Brian Bixler. It's a shame our bench is losing such a good player. I know Bixler has done everything right this spring---which is to his credit, especially given his pathetic, deer-in-the-headlights "performance" last season---and Bixler WAS a second round draft pick once upon a time, etc and so forth. But Phillips still beats him six ways to Sunday. I just hope Andy isn't permanently hurt and can work his way back sooner rather than later.