Extended Spring Training (XST ) is an annual period of time after spring training camps break that is held at each team’s complex consisting of players unassigned to full season rosters. Reasons vary as to why players aren’t assigned at the end of “regular” major and minor league spring camps. Players may have incurred recent injuries or are continuing efforts to return from prior injuries and surgeries, may be working on learning a new position or are younger players who just need more experience and coaching. There are also veteran players who are in extended spring training that are there to stay ready in case a full season roster spot opens due to injury, performance or other reasons.
XST has regularly scheduled games against other teams, similar to Spring Training. The Phillies usually play against the Yankees, Blue Jays, Tigers and occasionally the Pirates as they are the closest complexes to the Carpenter Complex. Games are usually at noon or one PM and are generally open to the public. They are sparsely attended - normally just scouts and locals like myself. This year’s XST games are slated to start around mid April - till then practices are held daily as are ongoing rehabilitation efforts for those who are recovering from injury. There are no restrictions on who can play in Extended Spring Training games therefore we will see a wide array of players in different levels of their development.
Today we watched a 10 AM intra squad scrimmage on Ashburn Field - here are a few highlights :
RHP James Norwood - the 28 year old was acquired from the San Diego Padres in exchange for Kervin Pichardo on March 30th. He was placed on the bereavement list on April 7th. Today he faced seven consecutive hitters and dominated them - getting each batter out. Norwood overpowered his young opponents and struck out four of the seven - the other three hit ground balls. We didn’t have a speed gun by fastball seemed to be mid to upper nineties and he also threw a nasty splitter. Looked every bit of a big leaguer. 💪
James Norwood delivers pitch in today’s scrimmage
OF Odubel Herrera didn’t play the field but made six plate appearances with two hits including a home run over the right field fence and a walk. He ran the bases but did so gingerly - doesn’t look like he can push full gear just yet. It’s a positive first step on his way back from an oblique type issue.
Odubel Herrera AB
LHP Jordi Martinez looked sharp. The 21 year old threw two innings this morning continuing his rehab assignment. He yielded a walk and single in two frames of work but showed good pop on his fastball and a sharp slider.
Jordi Martinez on the hill
RHP Jean Cabrera impressed - he showed both a big breaking slider and curve and strong movement and velocity on his fastball. Jean threw two frames - in one of the innings a runner was placed on second base to simulate the situation. Cabrera made a really good pickoff move and caught the runner in a rundown for an out.
Scrimmage Notes :
Other pitchers who threw today :
RH Elberson Castellano - 3 innings - ball comes out quick - jumps on hitters
RH Jonas De La Cruz - 1 inning - decent movement - have always liked his arm strength
LH Ethan Evanko - 2 innings - 3 K’s - building up for assignment
RH Jaydenn Estanista - 1 inning - 1 BB, 3 K’s - quick and heavy FB, slider with big bite
RH Jose Pena Jr - 2 IP, 4 K’s - power arm - just 18 years old - he’s got a chance to be really good
RH Cristian Betancourt - 2 IP, struck out the side in first inning - allowed no hits, one walk
RH Daniel Mejia - our first look at him - 1 IP, issued a couple walks and had 1 K - live arm - jitters maybe today
RH Wilson Valdez - 1 IP, converting from IF - 2 H, 1 K - decent pop - good movement on secondaries
Scott Kingery made four plate appearances and had two doubles and two walks. He can still flat out motor on the base paths. We didn’t see him in the field during the scrimmage but certainly was swinging the bat well.
Rickardo Perez had two hits in four ABs. Uziel Viloria and Leandro Pineda each doubled. Erick Brito, Yemal Flores, Oscar Gonzalez and Aldrem Corredor each singled.
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️