Game 9: Minor matters on a lazy Sunday

"This is going to be the longest season of my life," Jesse Biddle said about starting his baseball career. (Yong Kim/Staff file photo)

ATLANTA -- It's Sunday and gorgeous here for the series finale. After the game against the Braves, the Phillies will board their charter plane and head to Washington for the off day Monday. Charlie Manuel will take his daughter out for dinner in The District and some of the coaches will go golfing in the morning.

Before then, there's a game. Michael Martinez is starting at second base and batting eighth, the only change for the Phillies.

Some news and notes on this Sunday morning:

-- Of direct interest to the Phillies: Washington star third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is hurt. He aggravated an abdominal muscle strain that bothered him in spring training. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post is reporting the Nationals will re-evaluate Zimmerman on Tuesday morning. So there could be a chance he is limited for this week's three-game set.

-- He hath risen from the dead: Greg Dobbs, now a Florida Marlin, is raking to begin the season. He started at third base for the Fish on Saturday and had three hits, including a big home run in a Florida rally over Houston. Dobbs is 6 for 10 in the early going including 2 for 4 as a pinch-hitter. The Phillies will see the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park next weekend.

-- Colleague Bob Brookover checks in with his first Minor-League Report of the season. This became required reading last season and I'm happy to say you'll see expanded minor-league coverage in The Inquirer every Sunday.

The first report is a breakdown of who to watch on the Phillies' four full-season minor-league affiliates.

Last season's first-round pick, Philadelphia native Jesse Biddle, makes his debut for single-A Lakewood this afternoon. Look for coverage of that in Monday's Inquirer.

Some interesting numbers from the first few minor-league games:

  • Michael Stutes has seven strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings for triple-A Lehigh Valley. He did allow an unearned run on an errant pickoff throw that ended up costing the IronPigs a game.
  • Ronnie Belliard, signed as infield insurance, is 4 for 9 with two runs scored.
  • Pitcher-turned-first-baseman Joe Savery is 10 for 12 (!) with three extra-base hits to begin the season for single-A Clearwater. All the caveats applied, but still, it'll be fascinating to watch how Savery does.
  • Jonathan Singleton, now playing left field, is off to a 5 for 12 start at Clearwater.

Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.

Download our NEW iPhone/Android app for easy access to all of our Phillies coverage, plus app-exclusive videos and analysis. Get it here.