Phillies

Phillies call up Taylor Featherston to replace injured Andres Blanco

Phillies call up Taylor Featherston to replace injured Andres Blanco

After quietly producing at the plate and in the field for four months at Triple A, infielder Taylor Featherston was called up to the majors by the Phillies on Monday. He'll replace Andres Blanco, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a fractured left index finger suffered Sunday.

Featherson, 26, is not a prospect. He's a slick-fielding utility infielder the Phillies acquired from the Angels in exchange for cash on Feb. 10. After hitting .162 in 101 games with the Halos last season, Featherston hit .264/.320/.446 with 20 doubles, four triples, 12 homers and 32 RBIs in 385 plate appearances for the IronPigs this season. 

Featherston, a right-handed hitter, can play every infield position except catcher, though the bulk of his professional time has come up at second base. 

Blanco was injured when he was spiked on the hand by Pirates rightfielder Gregory Polanco on a play at third base Sunday. It's a tough loss for the Phils — Blanco is a key figure on the Phillies' bench and in the clubhouse. A journeyman before he arrived in Philadelphia in 2014, Blanco has hit .283 with an .817 OPS in 206 games with the Phils. He has 40 doubles and 12 home runs in those 482 plate appearances.

Altherr moves up
Outfielder Aaron Altherr, out since spring training with a wrist fracture, moved from Double A Reading to Triple A Lehigh Valley on his rehab assignment. The Phillies have until Wednesday to decide whether to call up Altherr or option him to Triple A. It's likely they'll bring him up and play him regularly in right field, which was the plan for this season before he was injured on a diving catch attempt early in camp.

Stumpf returns to Royals
Left-handed reliever Daniel Stumpf cleared waivers and was returned to the Kansas City Royals on Monday. Stumpf was selected by the Phillies in the second round of the Rule 5 draft this past winter. He was designated for assignment on July 22 and the Phils offered him back to the Royals at half-price. They accepted and sent him to Triple A Omaha.

Stumpf didn't have much of a Phillies career. He was busted for PEDs in early April and ended up allowing six runs in five innings for a 10.80 ERA.

10 years ago today: Unheralded Ryan Madson key to Phillies' World Series run

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10 years ago today: Unheralded Ryan Madson key to Phillies' World Series run

Ten years ago this month, the Phillies won their second World Series title in franchise history. Over the next few weeks, Jim Salisbury will look back at the team's run through the NLCS and World Series.

Baseball is an everyday game of rhythm and momentum and when a team is riding a good wave the last thing it wants is a day off. The Phillies got six of them between their NLCS clincher in Los Angeles and Game 1 of the World Series in St. Petersburg.

The Tampa Bay Rays had advanced to the World Series by beating the favored Boston Red Sox in the ALCS and they were a majors-best 57-24 at home.

So heading into Tropicana Field, the Phillies needed a quick start for a lot of reasons, mostly to knock off any rust that had accumulated after a weeklong layoff. They got it from two of the offensive forces of their team. Jayson Werth drew a one-out walk against Scott Kazmir in the first inning and Chase Utley followed with a two-run homer to give the Phillies the quick lead they needed. The Phils manufactured a run in the fourth to go up, 3-0, and pitching and defense made it all stand up for a 3-2 win. (The pitching and defense had to be good because Phillies' hitters were 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 men.)

The starting pitching matchup featured two exciting, young lefties. Kazmir had been the 15th overall pick in the 2002 draft. Cole Hamels was the 17th overall pick. Hamels continued his breakout month with seven innings of two-run ball to improve to 4-0 in that postseason. In 29 innings, he'd struck out 27 and allowed just five runs to that point.

Hamels got some assists in this one. Manager Charlie Manuel liked to use slick-fielding Pedro Feliz at third base behind lefties Hamels and Jamie Moyer. The move paid off when Feliz made a big play to start a clutch 5-4-3 double play to get Hamels out of a bases-loaded jam in the third.

Brad Lidge wrapped it up with his sixth save of the postseason but before that Ryan Madson logged a scoreless eighth inning. To that point in the postseason, he'd pitched 10 innings and given up just one run.

Late in the season, Madson became a demon out of the bullpen for 2008 Phillies. Something clicked for him. His shoulder, which had bothered him a year earlier, got healthy and he became more serious about his craft. He gained confidence and attacked hitters with a high-90s fastball and a knee-buckling changeup. So many things came together for that championship team. Madson's emergence might have been overshadowed at times, but it was huge.

"Ryan's confidence is like a closer's right now," Lidge said after the Game 1 win. "He's learned how to dominate guys."

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Previously in this series

Reds name former Phillies third baseman David Bell manager

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Reds name former Phillies third baseman David Bell manager

A former Phillies third baseman has landed his first MLB managing job in Cincinnati, and no, it's not Scott Rolen.

The Reds on Sunday morning named David Bell their next manager and will introduce the former Phillie on Monday afternoon. It's a three-year contract with a club option for a fourth.

Bell was the Giants' vice president of player development in 2018 and previously managed the Reds' minor-league system. He managed Cincinnati's Double A affiliate, the Carolina Mudcats, from 2009-11 and then its Triple Affiliate, the Louisville Bats, in 2011. Bell, a Cincinnati native, was reportedly up for the  Blue Jays and Rangers manager jobs.

Phillies fans will remember Bell from his four-year, $17 million contract he signed with the team in the winter of 2002. Bell never duplicated the success he had with San Francisco here. He had an abysmal first season here, hitting just .195 in 85 games. He bounced back the next year for a respectable .291/.363/.458 slash line with 18 homers and 77 RBIs, but that was as good as it got.

The Phillies were able to move on from Bell in 2006, trading the third baseman to the Brewers.

But now the 46-year-old has worked his way up the coaching ranks and has a chance to manage the team he grew up rooting for. That doesn't happen too often.

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