Minor League spring games underway

John Ennis (Photo: Getty Images)

The minor league exhibition season got underway on Wednesday, and the Phillies' Triple-A squad started on a winning note – defeating the Blue Jays' Triple-A team, 3-2, at Carpenter Complex in Clearwater.

Editor's note: Minor league squads are not official and players may be assigned to play with a minor league squad, even if they're on the Phillies roster. Also, minor league players appearing for a particular team have not yet been officially been assigned to that team for the 2009 season.

Phillies' left-hander Jamie Moyer got the start, going six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and one walk while fanning five. Newly re-signed John Ennis – who led the IronPigs relievers with seven holds in 2008 – followed with a scoreless inning (1 IP, 1 K), as did Antonio Bastardo (1 IP, 1 H, 3 K). The shutout was spoiled in the ninth inning, when Patrick Overholt allowed two runs on just one hit – but was able to hold on for the save.

Ennis started the season in Lehigh Valley before having his contract sold to the Samsung Lions (Korean League) on August 6th. The main set-up man for closer Matt Childers in 2008, Ennis went 2-0 with a 1.25 ERA (21.2 IP, 3 ER) in his final 14 games with the 'Pigs. For the year, the Colorado native finished 4-3 with a 3.67 ERA in 40 games.

Ennis was actually signed by the Lancaster Barnstormers of the independent Atlantic League on February 25, 2009, prior to the Phillies purchasing his contract on March 3.

After the IronPigs did not score in their first game in franchise history last season, the Triple-A team scored in the first inning of its first contest of the spring on Wednesday. The team added single runs in the third and sixth innings and finished out-hitting the Blue Jays team, 10-5.

OF Mike Spidale (2-for-2, RBI) and Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz (2-for-6, 2B, RBI) paced the offense while third baseman Mike Cervenak (0-for-2) and third baseman Mike Sellers (1-for-2, Double) joined Ruiz with an RBI apiece.

IronPigs outfielder Rich Thompson scored a run, as did catcher Paul Hoover and outfielder Chris Walker.

Hoover could very well wind up as Lehigh Valley's backup catcher to expected starter Lou Marson. A native of Columbus, Ohio, Hoover appeared in 13 games in the majors with the Florida Marlins last season (0-2-.200).

Signed to a minor league contract by the Phillies on January 7, 2009, the 32-year-old has spent parts of four seasons in the majors with Tampa (2001-02) and Florida (2006-08). He is a career .230 (17-for-74) hitter in 28 games in the majors and is a .264 (873-for-3301) minor league hitter in 990 games. He spent the majority of last season in Triple-A Albuquerque, where he hit .251 (44-175) in 50 games.

The Phillies Triple-A squad (1-0) will look to win again when they travel to take on the Pirates Triple-A team in Bradenton on Thursday.


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