Could Savery be ready by opening day, 2009?

In today's paper, we take a look at 22-year-old pitcher Joe Savery, who will get the start tonight in the Phils' exhibition game against Florida State. He's a left-handed, fastball/change-up type of guy who was a star hitter and pitcher for four seasons at Rice.

The Phillies drafted him 19th overall last June (as a point of reference, the team took Cole Hamels 17th overall).

When Savery was drafted, he told reporters he hoped to be in the team's rotation by opening day of 2009. It's still way too early to tell whether he'll get his wish, but Savery has, in the words of one member of the Phillies' personnel staff, "opened some eyes" early this spring training. Charlie Manuel told me a couple days ago that he loves how Savery's fastball takes off out of his hand. And at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, the kid certainly has the size and build you look for in a power pitcher.

Right now, Savery is slated to start the year at high-A Clearwater, but there's no guarantee that a solid spring wouldn't earn him a trip to Double-A Reading.

It's certainly something to keep your eye on. . .


We won't get to see much of the Phillies' regulars in tonight's game against Florida State, but it will be an excellent opportunity to get a look at pitching prospects like Savery, J.A. Happ, Josh Outman and Carlos Carrasco. Outman and Carrasco are the two most intriguing names in camp. Carrasco's really filled out his frame since last season, and Outman is probably the team's most major-league ready pitching prospect.


For what it's worth, Wes Helms will serve as the designated hitter tonight and hit eighth, one spot ahead of catcher Carlos Ruiz. Regulars are expected to get two at-bats and, ideally, three innings of work in the field.


Check out today's paper for more on the recover of Tom Gordon, who sounds sincere when he says he feels better than he has since the latter part of 2005.