After 169 at bats for Hermosillo, 27-year-old outfielder Chris Roberson is hitting just .249 with a .622 OPS.
It’s starting to look like Chris Roberson’s Philadelphia career will be best known for pinching Ryan Howard’s nipples in a Phillies commercial. The slender rookie, who got into 57 games last season primarily as a defensive sub and pinch runner, isn’t doing much to help his case south of the border. At best, he figures to be in a dead heat with touted rookie Michael Bourn for the final spot on the Phillies bench.
The switch-hitting Roberson, a former 9th round pick in the 2001 draft, won Eastern League Rookie of the Year in 2005 after recording a Reading franchise record 172 hits. After the season, he earned the Paul Owens Award as best position player in the Phillies system.
Last fall, Roberson did quite well in the MPL and probably helped his case for earning a major league job. He went into spring training stroking the ball well and was considered among the final three candidates (Roberson, Chris Coste, Tomas Perez) to earn the final bench job, which eventually went to none of them. Pitcher Robinson Tejeda was traded to Texas for outfielder David Dellucci, and the job was his.
Roberson’s teammate in Hermosillo, Erubiel Durazo, is doing quite well and ranks third in home runs behind Ruben Rivera and Kit Pellow. We’ll see whether Durazo is given one last go as a spring invitee, hoping to catch on as a left-handed bat off the bench somewhere. [Updated MPL stats]
Lieberthal to Dodgers?
This next nut was really predictable: Catcher Mike Lieberthal is close to signing a one-year contract to join best bud Randy Wolf in Los Angeles and back up Russell Martin. In 145 lifetime at bats, Lieberthal is a .345 hitter with 8 homers at Chavez Ravine.
The Phillies finalized a three-year, $24.5 million deal with Adam Eaton Thursday. Eaton was given a clean bill of health following Wednesday's physical.
The Phils have finalized their minor league coaching staffs. The biggest news is John Russell will return to manage the Phillies Triple-A club in Ottawa. Russell was a finalist for the vacant Nationals job, which was eventually filled by Manny Acta. He also interviewed with Texas. Russell has a career 611-579 record (.513 winning percentage) and three division titles in nine seasons as a minor league manager. He has also spent three seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates coaching staff.
Other notable additions include Greg Gross, who was named hitting instructor in Reading, and former Phillies utility player Kevin Jordon, who joins the Lakewood staff. And earlier this week, Steve Smith signed on to take over third base for the big club.
Benito wants to come back
Finally, former Phillies catcher Benito Santiago, 41, is making a comeback in Puerto Rico and would desire a return to Philadelphia. Don’t laugh, but a situation like this would seem possible given the need for a third catcher to back up Carlos Ruiz and Chris Coste in case they bomb. What kind of player would be willing to spend a season catching in Ottawa? Probably someone like 41-year-old Benito Santiago.
Another name floating on the PhilliesPhans message board is 43-year-old Pat Borders, who spent 2001-2005 toiling in the Seattle organization. Originally drafted by the Blue Jays, he spent his first seven years in Canada. Last season, he saw time in the Dodgers organization before announcing his retirement.
Though there's no story to support it (It's actually posted incorrectly as "Phillies showing interest in Pat Tabler"), it makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Seattle? Gillick? Canada? Ancient? Brutal career line of .253/.288/.375? Could there be a better fit? And could he grow a fu-manchu mustache?