Phils Notes: Francisco, Blanton shine in loss


Sunday, February 27, 2011
Posted: 5:36 p.m.
By Jim

CLEARWATER, Fla.Ben Francisco is off to a nice start in his quest to win a spot in the Phillies starting outfield.

Francisco drove in all of the Phillies runs in the teams 7-3 loss to the New York Yankees on Sunday afternoon.

Francisco doubled in a run in the seventh and added a two-run homer in the ninth. Two games into the exhibition season, he is 3 for 5 with a double, triple, homer and three RBIs.

Hes hit the ball pretty good, manager Charlie Manuel said. He came into camp wanting to play.

Francisco served as the Phils designated hitter. On Saturday, he played centerfield. He is actually competing for the starting rightfield job, but will move around quite a bit in spring training as team officials take a good look at rookie Domonic Brown in rightfield. Brown is 0 for 5 with a walk and four strikeouts in his first two Grapefruit League games. He struck out three times Sunday.

Brown is working on making some significant adjustments to his swing. Specifically, he has lowered his hands dramatically after having them above his head in his set-up last season. Its never easy to work on an adjustment and make a team at the same time.

It might take him some time, Manuel said. Hell be all right.

If Brown looks like he needs more time in Triple A, Phillies officials will not hesitate to give it to him. But that decision is a ways away. Brown still has plenty of time to prove hes ready for Philadelphia.Blanton looks good
Joe Blanton walked the first batter he facedon four pitchesbut settled down to pitch three scoreless innings in his spring debut Sunday. He did not allow a hit while walking one and striking out one.

Its always nice to get good results, but my command needs to improve, Blanton said. But it was the first time out so youre going to be a little off.

Blanton was dogged by trade rumors all winter. Having once been traded from Oakland to Philadelphia, he knows how to block them out and do his job.

I definitely want to be part of this team and stick around, he said. But its out of your hands and theres nothing you can do about it. Im not looking over my shoulder. In my mind, Im here.

Blanton left the field shortly after the Phillies Big 4 of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee headed into the clubhouse. The foursome got a big ovation from the sellout crowd. Blanton, 50 yards behind, got a nice hand, too.

I think it was residual, he said with a chuckle. Its pretty cool being involved with these guys.

Relievers Justin De Fratus and Michael Schwimer both struggled in their first appearances. De Fratus walked two and allowed a two-run homer in two innings of work. Schwimer allowed four hits and four runs, one unearned, in an inning of work.

It was their first time and they might have been overthrowing a little, Manuel said.

The club is high on both pitchers.

Brad Lidge allowed a solo homer to Jorge Vazquez in the ninth.
Halladay Monday
Halladay returns to his old spring-training home in Dunedin on Monday to face his former team, the Toronto Blue Jays. It will be his first time pitching in Dunedin since he was traded to the Phils.

Halladay had been scheduled to oppose Kyle Drabek, one of the pitchers he was traded for, but Drabek has been scratched because of a stiff neck. Lefty Jo-Jo Reyes will get the start for Toronto.
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