Monday, July 7, 2014

Amaro: Phillies 'are this poor,' changes are imminent

MILWAUKEE -- The general manager is ready to do some shaking up to the Phillies.
While that could include a flurry of trades in the next three weeks, Ruben Amaro Jr. made it plain Monday afternoon that dealing players away isn't the only way to shake up an offense that has been an embarrassment for most of the season.
"What more can you say other than we are not swinging the bats very well," Amaro said. "I didn't anticipate our guys being this poor -- because they are, they are this poor.
"So at some point we're going to have to make some changes."
Amaro didn't do much to mask which players he considers on notice. Domonic Brown, Ben Revere and, yes, even Ryan Howard are on the verge of finding their way to the bench.
"Some guys, once they are ready to play, may be factors for us," Amaro said.
Topping the list of "some guys" are outfielder Grady Sizemore and outfielder/first baseman Darin Ruf. Sizemore has been hitting well for Triple-A Lehigh Valley since the Phillies signed him to a minor-league deal, and he could be in Phillies pinstripes by the weekend. Ruf, who suffered a fractured wrist five weeks ago, made his second start for Lehigh Valley Monday and could be ready for a return to Philly after the All-Star break. Freddy Galvis (broken clavicle) also could get a shot to salvage what has been an injury-plagued wreck of a year.
However, the most interesting topic broached by Amaro was the status of prospect Maikel Franco. The 21-year-old, who has been struggling at Triple-A for much of the first three months, had nine hits, including four extra-base knocks, in 18 at-bats in four games July 2-5.
Amaro practically begged Franco to keep hitting that stride and give him a reason to promote the prospect.
"He's swinging the bat well," Amaro said. "Hey, listen, I'm looking for people who can swing the bat, because we're not doing it here. It he gets to the point where he starts swinging the bat consistently, he's a guy who could be in play."
And although Franco is a solid fielding third baseman, Amaro mentioned the other infield corner -- the one occupied by Howard (.177, one RBI in last 17 games) -- as an option.
"He could play first base, too," Amaro said of Franco. "If we're going to make changes, we make changes to get better."

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