Minors report: Germano seeks 'pen role
Young right-hander willing to come on in relief rather than start
Hot topic: Justin Germano knows the Phillies have six starting pitchers, so he's willing to adapt.With that in mind, the righty is trying to show his wares as a viable bullpen arm, if needed. Through 6 2/3 innings this spring, the 24-year-old has allowed one run in his quest to convince the Phillies that he's ready for a third shot in the Major Leagues. "As long as they're looking at me to get a chance, that's all I care about," said Germano, who has been exclusively used as a starter. "I want to help the team any way I can, whether it's a long man, anything. I want to get the experience." With no Minor League options remaining -- meaning the Phillies risk losing him to waivers should they option him -- the club will give Germano a long look for what appears to be two available bullpen spots. With fellow competitors Jim Ed Warden, Alfredo Simon, Anderson Garcia and Matt Smith struggling, the competition for work is more wide open than what might have been thought at the beginning of camp. Germano, acquired last July from the Reds for pitcher Rheal Cormier, is doing his best. "I'm trying to put the pressure on them," Germano said. "I have to have a great spring. There's no stress or added pressure." On the move: Outfielder Michael Bourn has also made a favorable impression this spring by hitting .348 (8-for-23), and he also has scored 10 runs. A fast runner, Bourn has also been perfect on three stolen-base attempts. He's likely headed for Triple-A Ottawa, and may get a call should the Phillies need a replacement for one of their starters. Names in the game: Former catcher John Russell is returning for his second season as the manager of the Phillies' top farm club, though he'll relocate this summer to Ottawa. Russell spent the first five years of his Major League career with the Phillies. They're No. 1: In less than five years, Cole Hamels went from a high-school project with ability to a potential ace and perennial Cy Young Award candidate. He oozes confidence and is often described as a pitcher with a 32-year-old head on a 23-year-old's body. Class of '06: Infielder Adrian Cardenas, taken as a supplemental draft pick out of Monsignor Pace High School in Miami, Fla., is scheduled to play second base with Class A Lakewood. What they're saying: "He's a guy you can count on defensively. Last year, there was a little bit of awe. This year, he feels he belongs. It's great because he's at a comfort level. He's progressing the way we want him to." -- Steve Noworyta, the Phillies' director of Minor Leagues, on Bourn
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.