03/13/07 7:50 PM ET
Notes: Eaton would prefer to start
Right-hander realizes Phils may opt to move him to 'pen
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
He was in the on-deck circle when Chris Coste flew to center for the final out of the ninth, so his first at-bat will have to wait.In less than a year, Cardenas went from being the second-best player on his high school team -- behind top-tier talent and eventual Nationals first-rounder Chris Marrero -- to the No. 3 prospect in the Phillies' organization, according to Baseball America. After leading Monsignor Pace to a state title with a .647 average, he was named BA's High School Player of the Year. Marrero's presence helped motivate him. "I used that as incentive to work harder," he said. "If it wasn't for him, we probably wouldn't have had so many [scouts] at the games, and I wouldn't have gotten drafted where I got drafted. Everything has a funny way of working out."
His motivation now?"When you walk into Spring Training, there's 155 players," Cardenas said. "It doesn't matter if you were a first-round [pick] or last-round [pick], there's competition. Day in and day out, you have to bust your [rear end]. I don't think you ever forget that. The best thing you can do is work your hardest." After signing for $925,000, his compact swing produced a .318 average in 154 Gulf Coast League at-bats, with two homers, 21 RBIs and 13 stolen bases, numbers which earned him a spot on the Gulf Coast League All-Star team. A shortstop last year, he'll likely play second base at Class A Lakewood this spring. Still years away from the big leagues, Cardenas doesn't need to worry about the fact that Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins might be Phillies for their entire careers. His No. 1 focus is gaining as much knowledge as possible. "[People in the organization have] told me to loosen up and act like a sponge and soak up anything," Cardenas said. "I can learn a lot from [Rollins and Utley]. Hopefully, I can play with them soon. A few years down the road, we'll see what happens." That was nothing: Hearing Cardenas discuss his error on the first ball he saw, outfielder Michael Bourn laughed. "That's nothing," he said. "I've had some screw ups." Bourn can't possibly forget his Grapefruit League debut. Specifically, Bourn remembers March 12, 2005, when he was called up for his first game against the Yankees. He singled in his first at-bat, but he had a much more memorable occurrence later in the game. He lost a routine fly ball in the sun. It smacked off his mouth and wound up being an inside-the-park homer for Bubba Crosby. Bourn feels stronger now because of it. "I felt good at first, because I got a hit," Bourn said. "The next thing I know, the ball is coming out to me. I lost it in the sun, but didn't want to run away and act like I couldn't see it, but I knew I couldn't see it. I was just lucky it didn't do a lot of damage to my face. "You're going to make mistakes, but you can't be scared to make them. If you are scared, you're always going to be tentative." Quotable: "I think it was triple digits." -- Dubee, joking about the highest number he wore in Spring Training Philling in: Outfielder Ron Calloway launched a grand slam off Dan Miceli on Tuesday, and is hitting .333 this spring. ... Dubee won't have much of a day off on Wednesday. First, he'll monitor Moyer's side session, then drive to Dunedin to watch his son pitch against the Blue Jays. Up next: After a day off Wednesday, Hamels is scheduled to start Thursday's 7:05 p.m. ET game against the Blue Jays. In his first spring with a guaranteed rotation spot, the lefty was brilliant is his first outing, but he struggled the second time out.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.