End Is Near
Frank Coppenbarger sent an e-mail yesterday letting everyone know the equipment truck will be leaving for Philadelphia next Friday (30th). Two days later, the team heads north for the regular season.
For some minor leaguers, the end is sooner. Normally, minor league games are played at 1 p.m. at Carpenter Complex but on Saturday, the games will begin at 10 in the morning.
Then, Joe Jordan (Director, Player Development) and the development staff will gather in the second-level conference room. With a week to go, rosters need to be set for the Phillies top four clubs, Lehigh Valley, Reading, Clearwater and Lakewood. 100 players will be needed for those rosters. Another 50 will remain at Carpenter Complex for extended spring training. Others will be placed on the disabled list and remain in Florida for rehab.
Somewhere between 15 and 20 minor league players will be let go. That’ll take place early Sunday morning. More cuts could come a week from today.
Most of the bad news will be delivered by Jordan, with Mike Compton (position players), Gorman Heimueller (pitchers) and Carlos Arroyo or Roly deArmas (Hispanic players), joining the one-on-one meetings.
Benny Looper, Assistant GM, Player Development, has been there, done that when he was Director of Player Development for the Mariners. “It is the worst part of the job. It was tough sleeping the night before. All the kids have dreams of playing in the majors and you are telling them those dreams won’t happen.”
From his experience, some break down and cry, some get angry and others are speechless. Some will catch on with independent league teams. Perhaps a few will sign with another organization although the other 29 clubs are facing the same situation. Most will return home and face a career change. The Phillies provide transportation to the Tampa airport and air fare for the long trip home. Lee McDaniel, Director Minor League Operations, handles those duties.
**Home today, 7:45 a.m. bus Saturday for Ft. Myers (Red Sox), split squad on Sunday (at Lakeland, Tigers) and home (Orioles).
**Domonic Brown was optioned to Lehigh Valley this morning. Phillies minor league INF Tim Kennelly has been added to the major league camp as a non-roster player, wearing #68. Phillies have 40 players in camp.
**Shortstops Miguel Abreu and Troy Hanzawa are in uniform for today’s game.
**Monday, another Bright House Field sellout (Red Sox). ESPN will televise.
Opening Day Memories
Larry Bowa (SS, 1970-81; CH, 1988-96; MGR, 2001-04)
“Getting my first hit off Ken Holtzman, something I will never forget.”
More Alumni memories can be found at www.phillies.com/alumni.