July 5, 2009 2:29 PM

Bunts and Balks (Taschner Independence Weekend Edition)

MLB: JUN 19 Orioles at Phillies

Jack Taschner was finally removed from the Phillies' roster, as he was DFA'd on Friday. Taschner was jettisoned to open a roster spot for starter Rodrigo Lopez. Taschner departs with a 5.20 ERA, 5.61 WHIP, and a .85 K/BB. It was likely Taschner's 835K guaranteed contract that kept him at the MLB level, as Manager Charlie Manuel had almost no confidence in the southpaw. Taschner was acquired in exchange for catcher Ronny Paulino, who had been acquired for catcher Jason Jaramillo. Either of those two backstops would have, likely, contributed more to the organization.
Taschner thanked the Phillies for doing him a solid, and designating him for assignment, rather than simply optioning him to Lehigh Valley (AAA). But the Phillies may be hopeful of at least getting off the hook for a portion of his salary, if another team picks him up for the MLB minimum. (It doesn't seem likely that another team will pick him up within ten days, and pay him his full MLB salary. It wouldn't be surprising if no team picks him up, and he joins the IronPigs.)

Paul Bako started behind the plate Saturday, for the third time in four games. This is rather puzzling. Is the slumping Carlos Ruiz injured? Chris Coste, also? Are they showcasing Bako for a trade, hoping that the increased time at the MLB level will help them acquire a mediocre A-ball reliever, rather than a terrible A-ball reliever, for the offensively-challenged receiver? Bako has done about as well as expected at the plate, with a .214 BA/.278 wOBA.

Scott Eyre returns to the Phillies on Sunday. Sergio Escalona was optioned to the IronPigs (again) to open a roster spot. Eyre's presence should push reliever Tyler Walker into Jack Taschner's ultra-low leverage role.
At least Escalona is making MLB money, and accumulating MLB service time, during his abbreviated appearances on the Phils' roster.

Raul Ibanez has returned to Philadelphia, as his minor league rehab has been postponed. The Phils hope Ibanez will be able to return to his rehab assignment this week. It's a bit disconcerting that he was sent to Reading for rehab, and then returned to Philly without any game action.

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs lost their third game in a row on Saturday, blowing a 2-1 ninth-inning lead, in a 3-2 twelve-inning loss. On Friday, the FeHogs lost both games of their First Ever Day-Night Doubleheader. Starter Brian Mazone, on a low pitch count, pitched two innings in Friday's 12:35pm loss, 4-0, to the Syracuse SkyChiefs. In the second game, a 7-1 loss, Andrew Carpenter permitted seven runs (five earned), on ten hits (three walks/six strikeouts), in five and two-thirds innings.
In Saturday night's come-from-ahead loss, Gary Majewski blew a two-inning save opportunity, wasting Gustavo Chacin's strong start (seven and one-third innings, seven hits, one run, one walk/five strikeouts).
The FeHogs fell to four games under .500, after their historic ascent to the .500 mark, for the first time ever, ended last week.

The Reading Phillies (AA) won in eleven innings on Friday, 4-3 over the Altoona Curve. The R-Phils only needed nine inning on Saturday, defeating the Connecticut Defenders, 7-5. On Friday, Mike Stutes permitted three runs (seven hits, zero walks/five strikeouts) over six innings, and the bullpen (rehabbing Scott Eyre, Mike Zagurski, Alex Concepcion, and Jason Mackintosh) followed with five scoreless frames. In Saturday's win, Joe Savery was touched for five runs over seven innings (ten hits, two walks/four strikeouts), but still recorded his eleventh win.

The Clearwater Threshers (A) lost to the Dunedin Blue Jays, 10-5 on Friday, and 8-1 on Saturday. Friday night's starter, Julian Sampson, was bombed for seven earned runs, in only three and two-thirds innings (seven hits, four walks/four strikeouts). Saturday's starter, Tyler Cloyd surrendered five runs (two earned) over five and two-thirds innings (eight hits, three walks/one strikeout). Cloyd obtained two outs on the ground, and fourteen through the air, not a very CBP-viable ratio.

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