The Phillies sent their first round of players to minor league camp yesterday. RHP Yorman Bazardo, INF Ozzie Chavez, INF Anthony Hewitt, INF Terry Tiffee, OF Jeremy Slayden, OF Chris Walker, and RHP Justin Lehr were reassigned to minor league camp. The first full-squad minor league workouts will be held tomorrow. Hewitt, the first rounder who I profiled last week, looked overmatched during his brief time at camp. He struggled to make contact and did not look comfortable at third base. A quiet kid who kept mostly to himself in the big league clubhouse, Hewitt sat in a chair in front of his corner locker most of the time, while many of the other players gathered around a table in the middle of the room and chatted or watched T.V. At 19, he is clearly far from being ready, but the organization remains excited about his raw skills.
No surprises there, unless you count Manuel's evident lack of interest in seeing more of Jeremy Slayden. The guy has no clear shot at a big-league job anytime soon, but he's hit some in the exhibition games and seems like he could grow up to be Greg Dobbs without the infield playability (which I guess is really the point of Dobbs). As for Hewitt, it could be read as mildly disappointing that he wasn't sponging up knowledge from the very talented hitters in the room, but as an overawed teenager perhaps that's par for the course. It will be interesting to see whether he stays in Extended or starts the year at Lakewood; my guess is the former. Hard to believe that Bazardo was considered a viable prospect just a year ago. Gotta figure that Antonio Bastardo (who wasn't shipped out, and could be in the running for the LOOGY job) is glad to see his near-namesake gone.
The new Inquirer beat guy also recounts Keith Olbermann's non-prediction about the NL East: "it's fifty-fifty." As is often the case with his political pronouncements, I find myself basically agreeing with Keith's point yet irritated and turned off by how he makes it... at least the guy's consistent, I guess.