Minor League Notebook: AFL Rising Stars, R-Phils’ Rebranding & More

Rosters for the Arizona Fall League’s All-Star type showcase were announced on Wednesday with two Phillies prospects among the talents involved.  Third baseman Cody Asche (pictured) and catcher Tommy Joseph will represent their Javelinas club in the seventh annual Rising Stars Game, which will be televised on MLB Network this coming Saturday, November 3rd at 8 PM eastern time.

Asche, the Phillies’ 4th round draft selection in 2011, was a fast mover upward in the developmental ranks this year. After beginning his first full pro season with Class A Advanced Clearwater, Asche was promoted to Double-A Reading in June.

Altogether in 130 regular season games at the two levels, Asche, who recently offered his thoughts on his time in the AFL, launched 12 home runs with 72 RBI and an .849 OPS.  In 15 games with Peoria in the AFL, Asche, a University of Nebraska product, has tallied a .259 average with one home run and seven RBI.

Joseph, who was acquired from San Francisco in the Hunter Pence trade this past summer, has struggled a bit in AFL play, batting .172 with no home runs and one RBI in nine games played.

Both of the Phils’ representatives are well-regarded prospects and could be knocking on the door to the big leagues rather soon.

Former Phillies prospect Jarred Cosart will represent the Eastern Division as that team’s starting pitcher. The right-hander posted a 6-7 combined record with a 3.30 ERA and a 7.22 K/9 mark in 2012 at the Double-A and Triple-A levels of the Houston organization. Through four games as a member of the Mesa Solar Sox in the AFL, Cosart, 22, has a 0-2 record with a 7.36 ERA.  Additionally, former Phillies first base prospect Jonathan Singleton will also represent the Astros organization in the contest. The 21-year-old has posted a .250 average with three homers and seven RBI in 18 games for Mesa.

Also on Wednesday, the Double-A Reading Phillies announced a partnership with Brandoise to rebrand the team for the upcoming 2013 season. From the sound of things, the R-Phils, one of a very small amount of minor league teams owned by its major league parent club, will likely see a full name change as part of the process.

Employees inside the club are mum on details until the next steps in the process are revealed at FirstEnergy Stadium this coming Sunday, November 4th, when the team hosts a Toy Run event at 12:30 PM.

Philadelphia’s Class A Advanced affiliate in Clearwater was also known as the Phillies until it was rebranded as the Threshers prior to the 2004 season.

Reading and Philadelphia have the longest running relationship in minor league baseball, dating back to 1967.

Lastly, I spoke with former Phillies pitching prospect Eric Pettis recently, and he confirmed that he is done with baseball. Citing that he has moved on to bigger and better things, the UC Irvine product, who pitched two season in the Phillies developmental system, was released during spring training in 2012.

Early this past summer, Pettis stated that he was still hopeful of catching on with an affiliated team in the minors and did not wish to sign with an independent league team. As time went on and the openings weren’t there, Pettis clearly changed his mind about a return to the game.

Pettis released a book shortly after leaving the Phillies organization, chronicling his time in as a professional hurler. The memoir, titled “Just a Minor Perspective: Through the Eyes of a Minor League Rookie”, was met with extremely solid reviews by other writers and fans alike. The righty, who sported a 10-3 record and a 2.17 ERA in 67 games as a pro, hopes to spend more time writing in the future.



Weird But We’ll Take It: Sixers Win Ugly Season Opener Against Nuggets

How many times are you gonna win a game when every non-frontcourt player you have shoots a combined 17-57? Well, the answer is at least “once,” as that’s exactly what the Philadelphia 76ers did tonight in their season opener hosting the Denver Nuggets. The Sixers shot a teamwide 35, but forced 22 turnovers, blocked 11 shots, and held the much-hyped Nuggets to a resounding 37.5 from the field themselves, leading for the great majority of the game and fending off a fourth-quarter surge to ruin Andre Iguodala’s already-mixed homecoming at the WFC. No Big Macs, but Sixers fans will have to do with an 84-75 victory.



Weird But We’ll Take It: Sixers Win Ugly Season Opener Against Nuggets

How many times are you gonna win a game when every non-frontcourt player you have shoots a combined 17-57? Well, the answer is at least “once,” as that’s exactly what the Philadelphia 76ers did tonight in their season opener hosting the Denver Nuggets. The Sixers shot a teamwide 35, but forced 22 turnovers, blocked 11 shots, and held the much-hyped Nuggets to a resounding 37.5 from the field themselves, leading for the great majority of the game and fending off a fourth-quarter surge to ruin Andre Iguodala’s already-mixed homecoming at the WFC. No Big Macs, but Sixers fans will have to do with an 84-75 victory.



Phil E. Moose Makes Surprise Appearance at Sixers Home Opener

In a surprise move by the Philadelphia 76ers organization, the team introduced their new mascot at their home opener on Wednesday night from the selection of three they had fans vote on during the 2011-12 season.Phil E. Moose won in a landslide after Nick took the reins last year and really pushed for the antlers. Okay, that’s not true. At least the part about the Sixers unveiling a new mascot on Wednesday night.It’s Halloween and friend of the Level Aaron dressed up in a Phil E. Moose costume. more photos below



Video: Andre Iguodala Gets Cheered, Booed During First Intro Back in Philly

We say it all the time. Philly fans are a fickle bunch. So it’s no surprise the reaction former Sixer and current Denver Nugget Andre Iguodala received was… mixed.You can watch the video from pregame introductions above and judge for yourself. The fact of the matter is some people booed and some people cheered. The ratio was tough to tell from my seat near the Sixers’ fan group known as the Revolutionaries.



Homesick Already? Andre Iguodala Returns to Philly in Sixers Opener vs. Nuggets

Man, it feels like it’s been a hundred games since Andre Iguodala last set foot on the floor at the Wells Fargo Center, but in fact, it’s been 0 gamesthe ink probably isn’t even dry on Dre’s new lease agreement in Denver and already, he’s gotta come back to city where he balled for the last eight seasons to announce his presence with authority once more. Course, this time, he’ll be wearing yellow, white and light-blue rather than red, white and regular-bluelove those unisas a member of the Denver Nuggets, in his first professional basketball game for a team besides the 76ers.Of course, this wasn’t supposed to be the headline for tonight’s game. The headline for tonight’s game was supposed to be the debut of our own big-ticket acquisition, and the guy we shipped Andre out of town to bring in, one Andrew Bynum.



‘Get the Screen Game Going!’ Eagles Trying, Failing

As fans clamor for Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg to fix a stagnant Eagles offense that ranks tied for 28th in points per game, one of the common complaints we hear is the coaches aren’t dialing up the screen pass like they used to. On Wednesday, Pro Football Focus debunked that myth.



Eric Lindros to be inducted into Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame

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Last year, Eric Lindros and the Philadelphia Flyers were finally and rightfully reunited after years of awkward estrangement. The reconciliation will continue on Nov. 8 when the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame inducts Lindros into its ranks.

Lindros will join 15 others, including former MLB catcher Mike Piazza and Phillies/Eagles public address voice Dan Baker, as members of the Hall’s Class IX. He’ll join Bobby Clarke, Bernie Parent, Bill Barber, Fred Shero, the entire 1974/1975 Flyers teams, Hobey Baker, Ron Hextall and Mark Howe as hockey inductees.

Lindros is one of the most dominant players to pull on a Flyers sweater, and he’s one of the defining players of the 1990s in not only Philadelphia sports but in all of hockey. We’ve argued in the past that Lindros deserves to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame, but at the very least, hopefully this induction will lead to his inclusion in the Flyers Hall of Fame. The Flyers have not added to those ranks since 2009 and Lindros’ inclusion is long overdue.

The event, unfortunately, is not open to the public. It will be held Nov. 8 at the Society Hill Sheraton. More details can be found at PhillyHall.org.





2012 Top Moment #10: Luna is Grand

With one swing, Luna validated his Spring Training supporters. Photo: AP

For a lot of Phillies fans, there were two questions that would be answered in Spring Training: who would be the fifth outfielder and why was Hector Luna playing in every Spring Training game? Luna, nicknamed “Big Tuna” by beat-writer David Hale, put on an early ST power display and played in nearly every game, whether at first or third. The Phils, in need of a solution at first, seemed to be flirting with the idea of keeping Luna as the roster grew thinner and thinner. Luna hit .302/.351/.528 with 3 HRs for the Fightins before being assigned to Triple-A just before the start of the regular season, becoming sort of an internet darling and a Spring Training cult favorite.

A slow start by Ty Wigginton had fans clamoring for the righty from the Domican Republic. On May 11, Luna was called to the big club to replace the injured Laynce Nix. Luna would not see action until May 16 against the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley. He wasted no time contributing: on the second pitch he saw as a Phil, Luna parked a middle-in fastball a few rows deep into left with the bases loaded off of Michael Bowden, giving the Phils a 9-2 advantage. It was Luna’s first career grand slam and was the first of his two home runs he would hit for the Phils in 2012.

Luna saw sporadic playing time with the Phils throughout the remainder of 2012, playing in just 28 games, hitting .226/.273/.355 but won over quite a few fans. Luna’s slam gave instant credibility to those who said “I told you so” as to why he should have been on the roster from day one – unfortunately, the rest of his time with the Phils did not. Luna was designated for assignment on August 30 and claimed by the Pirates on August 31. He would not reach the plate with the Bucs.



This Halloween, Give Thanks for the Sixers

Thanksgiving may be three weeks away, but Halloween is as good a day as any for Philadelphia sports fans to give thanks. Be thankful for the return of the 76ers, and their offering of a diversion.



Sixers to Unveil Big Bella, World’s Largest T-Shirt Launcher Tonight

Sure, there’s some basketball game for some team to kick off some important season for a franchise turning it all around, and yes they’ll wear their new blue road uniforms for the first time, and yeah, it’s Halloween and Dikembe Mutombo and Moses Malone will be two more totally awesome centers in the Wells Fargo Center tonight who can’t play, BUT OMG THE WORLD’S LARGEST T-SHIRT LAUNCHER!



Andre Iguodala Posts Thank You Letter to Philadelphia on His Website

Andre Iguodala returns to Philadelphia tonight as a member of the Denver Nuggets. In his first game for his new team, he of course has to face the team he spent eight seasons becoming an NBA All-Star with, the 76ers.Always a thoughtful guy, Andre posted a letter addressed to Philly on his website this morning thanking fans for their support over the years.



Jrue Holiday Says 94 Percent Chance That Philly Fans Boo Andre Iguodala Tonight

Basketball tonight in South Philadelphia!To get the fanbase even more pumped for The Most Important Sixers Season in a Decade, the sports talkers on 94 WIP had starting point guard Jrue Holiday on their airwaves on Tuesday afternoon. Jrue talked to Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis about the new-look team as well as the reception he expects from the WFC crowd for his boy Andre Iguodala tonight. Listen to the full audio below



Wednesday Morning Fly By: Scariest Halloween mask? Malkin.

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Today’s open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers-related news and notes…

  • The Phantoms’ power play was a big part of their comeback on Sunday, pleasing head coach Terry Murray: [Phantoms Forum]
  • Remembering Flyers games affected by, or played during storms: [Flyers Faithful]
  • Donald Fehr admits players are scared, but provides a car buying metaphor for the current situation: [Puck Daddy]
  • All-Star Joffrey Lupul got an exemption to play in the KHL: [Puck Daddy]
  • A look at the scoring leaders in NHL Equivalencies so far: [NHLNumbers]
  • WCHA power rankings after week 3: [Western College Hockey Blog]
  • Inside Gary Bettman’s Halloween party: [Down Goes Brown]





    Hunter Pence On Conan O’Brien: Still Obsessed with Eating and Drinking, But at Least He Shaved

    World Series Champion and Generally Goofy Guy Hunter Pence was a guest of Conan O’Brien’s on Tuesday night on TBS to talk about being on top of the world, what it’s like to be really interested in drinking out of a mug on television, and why he chose to come up to bat to a Katy Perry song at one point in career. It’s all very Hunter Pence.Not surprisingly, Conan’s sidekick Andy Richter may have had the best line of the segment when he said what he’d use as his at-bat music.