03/17/07 9:09 PM ET
Notes: Moyer gives back
Veteran hurler offers advice to club's Minor Leaguers
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
So for the lessons taught to him by former big leaguers Rick Sutcliffe and Scott Sanderson -- when Moyer was a young Cubs pitcher in the mid-1980s -- Moyer gave back. At the request of Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee and general manager Pat Gillick, the 44-year-old sage dispensed two hours of wisdom to a large group of Phillies Minor Leaguers.
The meeting took place Friday in the lunch room at Bright House Networks Field.
"It was fun. I loved doing it. It's this part of the game," Moyer said while pointing to his head. "Things have been given to me as a player, and I like to give back. I enjoyed it."
Moyer challenged the Minor Leaguers to take his job by continuing to work hard and reach their ultimate goal.
"It wasn't to look down on them," he said. "They all want to be here. Obviously, the majority of them aren't. You can't expect that you're going to be here, but when you come here, be prepared. Everybody in that room is one phone call away from being in the big leagues."
As living proof that someone can relearn how to pitch and prey on opponents' weaknesses, Moyer commands respect. He relishes delivering soft and softer pitchers, and devouring overanxious hitters, much like he did on Saturday, when he allowed the Yankees one unearned run on six hits in 4 1/3 innings.
"I learn so much just watching him," Cole Hamels said. "And he's a baseball encyclopedia."
Moyer also enjoys sharing and telling stories. Interviews often consist of 20-second questions and five-minute answers. If it's about baseball, Moyer will talk forever, especially when he's with those willing to listen.
He sees himself in them.
"Yeah, [I was] that shy kid, not sure of himself," Moyer said. "I threw my last bullpen [session] and they brought some guys over and watched me throw. All of a sudden, [pitching coordinator] Gorman [Heimueller] chimed in. Before I knew it, I was standing there for 45 minutes. If people want to listen, I'll talk."
Sounds like a future pitching coach, assuming he retires.
"That's been posed to me many times by the media. It would have to be the right time and the right place," Moyer said, citing family concerns. "It would have to be the right situation."
Problems remain: The Phillies offered Rule 5 Draft pick Alfredo Simon back to Texas on Saturday, eliminating one of their ineffective pitchers from camp.
More remain, creating continued headaches for manager Charlie Manuel.
The five relievers expected to make the team, Geoff Geary (3.86 ERA), Ryan Madson (6.00 ERA), Matt Smith (16.62 ERA), Tom Gordon (0.00 ERA) and Antonio Alfonseca (6.00 ERA) have allowed a combined 15 runs in 19 2/3 innings, for a 6.86 ERA.
Nine other pitchers vying for what appear to be two available spots -- Brian Sanches (7.56 ERA), Justin Germano (4.50 ERA), Fabio Castro (11.05 ERA), Clay Condrey (8.44 ERA), Zack Segovia (3.60 ERA), Joe Bisenius (0.00 ERA), Jim Ed Warden (8.31 ERA), Ryan Cameron (2.25 ERA) and Kane Davis (7.36 ERA) -- have a combined 6.26 ERA.
Castro remains a strong candidate, because he's left-handed, though the team is still hopeful of getting one in a trade and making Castro a starter at Triple-A. Dark-horse candidate Bisenius continues to impress, but he hasn't pitched above Double-A.
Germano had an early lead, but he came to the pack with a poor outing Thursday night. He and Cameron are out of Minor League options, meaning they must clear waivers to stay with the Phillies, assuming they don't make the 25-man roster.
As for Simon, he's back with Texas. He spent last season with Double-A Fresno and Triple-A San Jose, in the Giants organization, before signing a Minor League contract with the Rangers in November. The Orioles drafted him in the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings and dealt him to Philadelphia.
That transaction cost Philadelphia $50,000, but it received half of that back from the Rangers.
"He wasn't going to make our big-league team," Manuel said. "He has a good arm and a good breaking ball, but he has control problems."
Mr. Smith and Mr. Lieber: Smith continued to improve from two horrendous outings, with his second straight effective performance on Saturday against the Yankees. A double-play grounder from Jason Giambi and a Hideki Matsui fly out were among the four outs Smith recorded.
"He threw a little better today," Manuel said. "He was still falling behind. We'll keep running him out there and see if we can get him right."
Lieber pitched in a Minor League game, allowing two earned runs -- both on solo homers -- and three hits in six innings. He walked none and struck out three.
Philling in: The Phillies wore green caps and jerseys for St. Patrick's Day, continuing a tradition started by Tug McGraw. ... Gordon is scheduled to pitch an inning against the Devil Rays on Sunday, his third appearance of the spring. ... Madson worked two innings in Saturday's game because the Phillies wanted to up his pitch count.
Up next: The Phillies are in split-squad action on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 ET. Brett Myers gets the ball when the Phillies host the Rays, while prospect J.A. Happ heads to Fort Myers to face the Twins.
Although Manuel hasn't officially named an Opening Day starter, Myers is lined up to start April 2 against the Braves. After Sunday, the right-hander is scheduled to throw March 23 and March 28. Manuel knows who will be his Opening Day starter, but he doesn't feel compelled to make it official.
"What did [Texas Tech basketball coach] Bobby Knight say the other day?" Manuel said. "I don't have to answer that question."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.