Phillies

Source: Phillies sign Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez

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Source: Phillies sign Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez

A league source confirmed to CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury that the Phillies and Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez have agreed to a deal.

Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan, who first reported the news, says that it's a six-year deal worth $48 million guaranteed with a vesting option for a seventh year at $11 million.

Per a Phillies spokesman, the team has nothing to announce at this time.

Gonzalez, 26, is a 6-foot-2, 185-pound right-hander.

Passan writes that "with a fastball that sits around 93 mph and recently topped out at 96, a split-fingered fastball and changeup that serve as his off-speed pitches, a cut fastball and a slow curveball, Gonzalez's varying array impressed scouts and executives who flocked to Tijuana to watch him pitch in workout showcases and games.

"The Phillies are expected to send Gonzalez to the minor leagues for some seasoning before summoning him to the major leagues by mid-August."

According to Passan, the Phillies are believed to have outbid the Boston Red Sox in the end to land the pitching sensation.

"More than a dozen teams showed significant interest in Gonzalez, though as his price skyrocketed the market thinned," writes Passan.

On Friday, the Phillies lost their season-worst sixth straight game with a 2-1 loss to the Tigers (see story). To make matters worse, Cliff Lee was scratched from his Saturday start with a stiff neck. Raul Valdes will start in his place (see story).

Phillies infielder injured in on-field collision

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AP Images

Phillies infielder injured in on-field collision

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered what appeared to be a significant injury to his left ankle when he was involved in a collision in left field during Saturday afternoon’s Phillies-Baltimore Orioles game.

Middlebrooks, 29, in camp with the Phillies on a minor-league contract, collided with left fielder Andrew Pullin as the two converged on a soft fly ball by Baltimore’s DJ Stewart.

Middlebrooks’ left leg bent awkwardly as he and Pullin went to the ground trying to make a catch. Middlebrooks was tended to on the field by the Phillies’ athletic training staff. Emergency technicians on site were quickly summoned. A splint was placed on Middlebrooks’ lower left leg and he was taken off the field on a Clearwater Fire and Rescue motorized cart.

Middlebrooks is a former top prospect of the Boston Red Sox. He played from 2012 to 2014 in the majors with that club and has appeared in the majors with San Diego, Milwaukee and Texas the last three seasons.

The Phillies signed Middlebrooks in the offseason to provide some corner infield depth. He was considered a long shot to make the big-league club and figured to play at Triple A Lehigh Valley.

There was no immediate word on Middlebrooks’ condition.

Phillies pitcher Nick Pivetta goes to school on Justin Verlander

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AP Images/USA Today Images

Phillies pitcher Nick Pivetta goes to school on Justin Verlander

BOX SCORE

DUNEDIN, Fla. — For a gazillion years, pitchers have been told to keep the ball down. That is still valuable advice, but with more and more hitters looking to launch the ball with an upward swing path these days, power pitchers are striking back with a high fastball above the bat head.

Nick Pivetta has a power fastball and he’s working on this technique. He consciously threw some fastballs above the belt in his two-inning spring debut Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

“We're telling all of our pitchers, we're asking them to do some new things,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “And there's going to be some times in spring training games when you get hit a little bit.”

That’s OK. The new-school Phillies want their players to be open to new ideas. Pivetta, who struck out 9.5 batters per nine innings in 26 starts last season, is open learning to ride a high fastball by a hitter looking to launch. He watched on television as Justin Verlander did that for Houston in the postseason last year and he’s watched more video of Verlander and interacted with Phillies coaches about the strategy this spring.

“A key point that they brought to me was how Verlander pitched in the playoffs,” Pivetta said. “I think that’s something I can learn from a lot of the time, how he did it when he came over to Houston.

“It’s part of pitching. You’ve got to be able to command the zone, both the top and bottom. It’s not to say we’re going to only throw up. It’s just something else to work on.”

Pivetta pitched two innings and struck out three in the 2-1 loss to the Blue Jays. He allowed three hits, a walk and two runs in the first inning. One of the hits was a solo homer by Curtis Granderson on a hanging breaking ball.

Kapler was pleased with Pivetta’s performace and his reponse to trying new things.

“He executed his game plan today,” Kapler said. “He executed some pretty nasty sliders at the bottom of the zone. He executed some fastballs at the top of the zone. He missed some bats, which is really encouraging.

“One of the things we’re working on with him is elevating a little bit. He has velocity and strong pitch characteristics to pitch up in the zone. But he also has the ability to pitch down in the zone with his slider and his curveball.

“He kicked ass today. He did everything we asked him to do.”

The Phillies host the Orioles on Saturday. Zach Eflin will be the starting pitcher.