The Phillies announced Wednesday that they have signed eight minor-league free agents who will be invited to spring training in February.
Among the most interesting names were righthanded reliever Brian Sanches, who posted a 10-5 record and 2.92 ERA the last three seasons with the Florida Marlins, and Scott Elarton, a former first-round draft choice who once won 17 games for the Houston Astros.
The list also includes outfielder Scott Podsednik, infielders Pete Orr and Kevin Frandsen, catcher Tuffy Gosewisch, and lefthanded pitchers Raul Valdes and Pat Misch.
Sanches, 33, may have the best chance of making the Phillies roster out of spring training, provided he has fully recovered from a strained right elbow that affected his performance during the second half of the 2011 season.
In 189 career games, Sanches is 13-6 with a 3.58 ERA and has shown the ability to throw two innings during his appearances. That's an ability manager Charlie Manuel likes in his relievers.
Elarton, who will turn 36 in February, is a long shot to make it back to the big leagues after not pitching at all last season. He was a first-round draft pick by the Astros in 1994 and won 17 games for them in 2000, but he has not pitched in the big leagues since 2008. He has not pitched professionally since 2010, when he went 1-2 with an 8.24 ERA at Charlotte, the triple-A affiliate for the Chicago White Sox.
Three of the nonroster invitees - Podsednik, Frandsen, and Gosewisch - played in the Phillies' minor-league system last season, and another - Orr - made the big-league team at the start of 2010.
Podsednik, a lefthanded-hitting outfielder who played a key role in the White Sox' 2005 World Series title, joined the Phillies' triple-A roster in the middle of last season, but he appeared in only 14 games because of a foot injury. He is two years removed from hitting a combined .297 for Kansas City and the Los Angeles Dodgers and could be a valuable insurance policy if he can recapture that form. He turns 36 in March.
Gosewisch, 28, is fourth on the Phillies' catching depth chart behind Carlos Ruiz, Brian Schneider, and Erik Kratz. He spent last season at double-A Reading and was named the best defensive catcher in the Eastern League by Baseball America.
The righthanded-hitting Frandsen, 29, batted .309 with five home runs and 43 RBIs at triple-A Lehigh Valley last season. He also was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for ritalinic acid.
Orr, a 31-year-old lefthanded hitter, appeared in 46 games for the Phillies last season and did a professional job. He was 5 for 14 as a pinch-hitter but batted .192 in 24 starts. Orr, 31, had just three extra-base hits - all doubles - in 96 at-bats.
Valdes, a 33-year-old Cuban, appeared in 13 games with the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees last season and did a respectable job in both places.
Misch, a 30-year-old, lefthanded reliever, has appeared in 78 big-league games, including 18 the last two seasons with the New York Mets.
No way, Jose. Reports surfaced that Mets free-agent shortstop Jose Reyes dined Tuesday at the Continental in Old City. If he did, the meal was not on the Phillies. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he believes it may have been a case of mistaken identity and added that he has not seen or heard from Reyes since he watched him go through a series of baserunning drills at Citi Field before a Sunday game between the Phillies and Mets in September.
The Phillies' priority remains re-signing free agent Jimmy Rollins, an endeavor that is likely to heat up when the winter meetings start Monday in Dallas.
Million-dollar addition. According to the St. Petersburg Times, the Phillies will have more room when they arrive in spring training in 2013. The city of Clearwater, Fla., spring-training home to the Phillies since 1947, is planning to put $2.9 million toward a renovation at the Carpenter Complex training facility, the paper reported. The project will include new batting tunnels, a gym, and a video room. New batting tunnels will also be added to Bright House Field, the Phillies' home field in spring training.
The story said the Phillies will pay back $900,000 of that expense over the life of the current lease with the city, which extends through 2023. The Clearwater City Council is scheduled to vote on the project Thursday.
Extra bases. Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard will join Mayor Nutter on Thursday to announce a donation from the Ryan Howard Family Foundation to the School District of Philadelphia.
Contact staff writer Bob Brookover at email@example.com
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