Drabek's prospects, plus Ruiz's rehab assignment

1:25 p.m.: An update, courtesy of the Phillies media relations staff. Catcher Carlos Ruiz will begin his rehab assisgnment Saturday in Lehigh Valley. Manager Charlie Manuel said Wednesday he expected the assignment to last four days, which means Ruiz could be back with the Phillies by next Wednesday.


1) People in the Phillies organization were buzzing yesterday after the performance of arguably their three top pitching prospects, all of whom struck out at least 10 batters in appearances on Tuesday. Most impressive was 2008 second-round draft pick Jason Knapp, a mammoth righthander who does not turn 19 until August. Knapp struck out 14 in seven innings for low-Class A Lakewood. Right behind him was Kyle Drabek, the 2006 first-round draft pick who underwent Tommy John surgery in the summer of 2007. I talked to Phillies assistant general manager Benny Looper about Drabek, and he said there was a good possibility that Drabek ends up in Double A Reading at some point this season. At the same time, the Phillies are going to be cautious with their young arms. With J.A. Happ and Kyle Kendrick providing good depth for the big league rotation and Carlos Carrasco, who also pitched well Tuesday, at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, there is no rush. Looper said the question comes down to what is the best place for a player to continue to develop. Don't be surprised if that place is Double A for Drabek.

2) Carlos Ruiz should begin a rehab assignment this weekend, although the Phillies are being cautious with him. The oblique injury is one that can easily re-occur if it does not heal all the way. And with the various awkward movements Ruiz makes behind the plate, he needs his core to be in good health. It is doubtful that Ruiz will be ready when he is eligible to come off the disabled list on Sunday, but he could be back at some point next week.

3) Lou Marson will return to Triple-A once Ruiz is called up.

4) Brad Lidge hasn't pitched in four days, but the closer told me yesterday he is anxious to get back on the mound and see how a minor adjustment in his delivery helps him out. Lidge threw a 20-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday.

5) Cole Hamels will make his third start of the season today against Dave Bush. I'm sure everyone is anxious to see how he performs.