|© 2009 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.|
Futures Phils face uncertain fates07/13/2008 10:03 PM ET
By Nick Cammarota / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- When Greg Golson, Lou Marson and Carlos Carrasco were teammates on the Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2004, none of them expected this.
Usually, especially when talking about Rookie ball, players will progress through a system at varying speeds. Some stall along the way, others prove to be exactly what the parent organization had hoped for.
The aforementioned trio is bucking the trend.
Golson and Marson were drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2004, while Carrasco was signed as a free agent the November prior. On Sunday, all three -- as well as Jason Donald, their teammate at Double-A Reading -- participated in the 10th annual XM Satellite Radio Futures Game at Yankee Stadium.
That scenario would be unique enough, given that only two other organizations -- San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics -- sent as many as four representatives to Yankee Stadium. Of the players representing the Giants and A's, none have sent the entire season at the same level.
"We're real close," said Donald, the relative newcomer in the group after being drafted in 2006. "We're good friends and we talk to each other a lot in the offseason and what-not. To be here and to share this type of experience with them, I think it makes it that much better."
Marson, a 21-year old catcher who started and wore a microphone during the game, has been Golson's roommate since the two met in the GCL four years ago. Carrasco, the Phillies' top pitching prospect, has thrown almost exclusively to Marson since his professional debut.
So it's no wonder the Scottsdale, Ariz., native was tipping off his U.S. teammates in the dugout.
"I was telling all the guys in the dugout, when he shakes, what he likes to throw to you because I've been catching him for four years," Marson said. "I was calling all the pitches he was throwing. It was pretty funny."
Although each member of the R-Phillies contributed in his own way Sunday, it was what didn't happen that seemed to garner the most attention: Carrasco facing his Double-A teammates.
"We talked about it," Donald said. "We told him, 'You better not give us anything funny, you better come at us with the fastball and at least give us a chance.'
"I was jogging out to center field to get loose when I saw him warming up and he looked at me. I gave him a pretend swing like, 'You throw a fastball and I'm going to hit one out.'"
Golson has never faced Carrasco.
"He told me he was going to throw me all fastballs and I was like, 'All right, I'll be sitting on the changeup,'" he said.
Carrasco would have had to run into some serious trouble to face Marson or Donald, who were hitting eighth and ninth, respectively.
"I was kind of disappointed it never happened," Carrasco said. "But I feel very happy because they were here with me representing our team, so it was pretty special."
Despite potential bragging rits for the rest of the season if he were to reach base off his longtime teammate (and three-time Futures Game participant), Donald preferred the opportunity to sit back and watch. Carrasco pitched a near-flawless first, striking out two and walking one.
"It was nice to sit back and listen to the other guys talk when they came back into the dugout," said Donald, who was making his first trip to Yankee Stadium. "They said pretty much what I've been hearing and seeing on an every-start basis from him. That's what he does."
Although it wasn't against Carrasco, Donald did get a hit -- the only one by a Phillie -- in the fifth inning. Marson grounded out to second in his lone at-bat, while Golson struck out twice after entering the game in the fifth.
"I was basically ready to hit as soon as I got in the box and I was able to get one through," Donald said of his hit against Royals prospect Julio Pimentel. "It was a nice little cap to the day, to walk away with the hit, so I'll take it."
All-Star jitters may have gotten to Donald in the first after fielding an apparently routine double-play ball.
"The day started kind of rough. I had a ton of adrenaline pumping," he said. "I was surprised I didn't break any cameras on that throw. It just zipped out of my hand pretty good.
"After that, I was able to settle down and get back into the flow of the game. I think I got caught up in the moment of, 'We're in Yankee Stadium and the game is finally here.'"
The University of Arizona product recovered quickly, diving to his left to stop a ball hit by Wilkin Ramirez that deflected off the glove of U.S. starting pitcher Clayton Richard.
"It was great that Donald got a hit for us," said Marson, another Yankee Stadium first-timer. "That was the biggest thing. It was good that the Phillies didn't go hitless. Everybody's having a good year and everybody's being successful."
Success isn't new to this group, one that could split apart sooner rather than later. The Phillies need a starting pitcher to bolster their rotation. And all of the prospects who participated in the Futures Game have been mentioned as possible trading chips.
"I know it's a business and if it happens, great," Marson said. "If it doesn't, I feel like I like the Phillies. I think they will make a trade here pretty soon, so they're going to have to give somebody up. I don't know who it's going to be, but it will be interesting to see who they'll give up and who they'll want here."
Carrasco, a native of Venezuela, said he's heard his name tossed around in possible trades with Cleveland, Seattle and Toronto in recent few weeks but feels most comfortable in Philly.
"I like it there," he said. "I've been there five years and I know everybody."
Regardless of what the future may hold, Sunday provided more than enough excitement for these youthful Phillies.
"It's been pretty unbelievable," Donald said. "From the time we got in Saturday, it's been non-stop-go for the last 24 hours. This is such a great event, and to be here with some of these players really is an honor. I was more than thrilled to be part of this."
"I got behind the plate and I had to take a deep breath and look around and try to take it all in because it's obviously the last time that I'm going to have a chance to play here," Marson said. "Hopefully, one day I'll have a chance to play at the new Yankee Stadium."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.