Joe Savery is confident that he's going to succeed, but stops short of being arrogant about it. Savery, who the Phillies took with the 19th overall pick in the draft, will make his debut with the Williamsport CrossCutters Sunday night, but doesn't really plan on sticking around Williamsport for too long. "I just think that with focusing solely on pitching, I can move quickly," said Savery. "I had pretty good success on the mound in college and have already learned things from the coaches here that will help me."
Savery is right. Just the fact that he can focus on pitching - he played a lot of first base at Rice - will help him. And the fact that he's soaking up what he can from the coaches will also help. But what about his prediction that he'll be ready for the majors by late 2008 or Opening Day of 2009? "Right now, I believe that's possible. Of course, a lot will depend on what I can show them from day one out there, but that's what I'm working toward," explained the left-hander.
The Phillies are hoping that Savery's climb goes much smoother than that of their 2006 first round pick, Kyle Drabek, who underwent Tommy John surgery and is lost for a year. Drabek struggled early on in his pro career until running into the injury issue this season.
It was just 13 months ago that Savery underwent surgery to remove a bone spur in his left shoulder that was causing him problems. During the surgery, doctors also repaired a tear in his labrum, but he battled back to be ready for opening day of the 2007 season. He also suffered a broken right hand in 2005, but stayed in the game. He batted the next inning in a key spot and knew he wouldn't be able to swing the bat, so he dropped down a bunt for a hit and wound up scoring a run. He came back the next day and threw 6.7 innings against Tulane.
The Phillies aren't sure just how quickly Savery will be able to advance, but they believe that he's a stronger and bigger version of Randy Wolf and that he can at least be a middle-of-the-rotation starter at the big league level.
Whether slow or fast, the climb begins Sunday night in Williamsport when the CrossCutters host the Batavia MuckDogs - the former Phillies affiliate - in the opening game of a five-game homestand.