Saturday, April 19, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Here comes Billmeyer out of the pen

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Little was said or written about Mick Billmeyer during his first nine seasons as a coach working out of the bullpen for the Phillies, but this season he is moving into the dugout as the team's catching coach.

Here comes Billmeyer out of the pen

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Little was said or written about Mick Billmeyer during his first nine seasons as a coach working out of the bullpen for the Phillies, but this season he is moving into the dugout as the team's catching coach.

Billmeyer, 48, was once a second-round pick of the Baltimore Orioles and his professional career got off to a great start in 1985 when he hit .321 with eight home runs and 32 RBIs in rookie ball at the age of 21.

"My first at-bat was against Tommy Greene," Billmeyer said. "I hit a homer off him. It was a fastball league and I could hit fastballs."

His dreams of becoming a major-leaguer also pretty much ended that first year when he broke his back after being hit by a pitch from former big-leaguer Joe Magrane.

"I couldn't lift my legs very well after he hit me," Billmeyer said. "I played about eight or 10 more games, but I wouldn't sit down in the dugout. Every time I stood up, it was hard to throw. All of a sudden I couldn't do it any more and I was put in traction for two weeks."

Billmeyer played eight more seasons after that, but left the game at the age of 30 and was offered a coaching job by the California Angels, where he eventually became roommates with former Phillies shortstop, coach and manager Larry Bowa. Billmeyer joined the Phillies in 2000 as a minor-league roving catching instructor and was promoted to Bowa's big-league staff in 2004.

You can read more about Billmeyer and how the Phillies are the only team in baseball without a bench coach in Sunday's Inquirer.

Mather released

The Phillies made their first roster move of spring training Saturday morning by releasing utility man Joe Mather, a non-roster invitee.

Mather, 30, played in eight spring-training games and had one hit and one walk in 12 plate appearances. The former third-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals played in a career-high 103 games with the Chicago Cubs last season, batting .209 with five home runs and 19 RBIs.



Bob Brookover Inquirer Columnist
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