This week's games vs. the Astros and Marlins got us thinking about ex-Phillies that are still hanging on in the major leagues, many of whom - quite frankly - we never thought would be playing baseball in 2011.
Jason Michaels: A solid bench player and occasional starter for the Phillies from 2001-05, Michaels has hit .199/.256/.295 for Houston this season. Since leaving the Phillies, the 35-year-old outfielder has played for the Indians, Pirates and Astros. Probably a safe bet that 2011 will be the final season of his decade-long career.
Nelson Figueroa: Another Ed Wade special, Figueroa is hanging on with the Astros after not pitching in the majors from 2005-07. He has pitched for the Mets, Phillies and Astros since returning to the big leagues, after playing for the Diamondbacks, Phillies, Brewers and Pirates from 2000-04. Figueroa, one of four players the Phils got in the Curt Schilling deal, was 0-3 with an 8.69 ERA for the Astros this season. The 37-year-old has been in the minors since May and likely will never reach the majors again.
Greg Dobbs - It's hard to imagine that Dobbs actually hit cleanup for the Marlins earlier this week - and hit his eighth homer of the season in that game. Dobbs, 33, was obviously a quality reserve for the Phillies in 2007 and 2008, but after his struggles the last two seasons, it looked like his career was coming to an end. Now he's batting .282/.316/.403 with 49 RBIs in 390 at-bats for the Fish.
Nick Punto: A scrappy infielder for the Phils from 2001-03, Punto became a valuable piece for some good Twins teams in the middle of the last decade. Now he's hanging on with the Cardinals, batting .263/.372/.395 in 114 at-bats. Punto, 33, has seen time at second, third and short for St. Louis this year.
Bruce Chen: Sure, he's left-handed and those guys can pitch forever. But who thought Bruce Chen - who played for nine teams between 1998 and 2007 - would still be pitching in '11? Chen, still only 34 years old, is currently 11-7 with a 4.04 ERA for K.C. He was part of the Phillies' pitching staffs in 2000 and 2001.
Others: Four or five years ago, would you have guessed Brian Sanches, Freddy Garcia, or Miguel Cairo would play in the 2011 season? What about Arthur Rhodes, Russell Branyan and Ryan Franklin? Many of these guys won't be in major league uniforms next season - some are already looking for work - so if you were hoping to spend your Friday morning reminiscing about Jason Michaels' time in Philadelphia or debating Nick Punto's defensive value, it's pretty much now or never.