Notes: Savery happy to be in camp
Lefty, who will start year in Minors, gets exhibition opener nod
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- For Joe Savery, a confident kid who last June was pitching and hitting for Rice University in the College World Series, this assignment may seem like just another start.The 23-year-old will face Florida State University on Tuesday, the night before the Phillies begin their Grapefruit League schedule against the Reds. Savery receives the same treatment as 2006 first-round Draft pick Kyle Drabek, who started in the same situation last spring. Selected 19th overall, Savery was assigned the corner locker -- first from the door -- and uniform No. 85, one of the highest on the team. Welcome, rookie. The big lefty with an easy smile and a veteran's sense of belonging said that he is savoring every minute in Major League camp. Minor League pitchers and catchers are expected to report on Thursday, and Savery could be among those reassigned. "I won't be here for the full six weeks," Savery said. "I just want to get to know some people and learn what they do, and put a name to the face. A big part of this is learning what you can handle mentally. I want to show guys that I can handle myself. I'm just hoping they let me stay here a little longer. The food's good [in Major League camp]." Ticketed for Class A Clearwater, Savery could end the season at a higher level. "He looks the part [of a Major Leaguer]," said Minor League director Steve Noworyta. "He looks like he belongs, and if he shows quick success out of here, he'd be a guy who would move." Savery, one of the stars for the Rice Owls, is relishing the opportunity of having to prove himself again. "If you're not being challenged, how are you going to get better?" he said. "That's the thing about baseball. It's a lot of 'What have you done for me lately?' You go from trying to get on the field to people expecting you to perform at a high level. Then you have to worry about the Draft. This is just another challenge and I'm looking forward to that." The next GM: While still a year away, the Phillies already know one of their big needs for next season. It's a new general manager, as Pat Gillick will likely not return. Gillick, 70, signed a three-year deal before the 2006 season, and he has all but said that he plans to retire after this season. The Phillies would welcome him back if he changed his mind.
"We're not saying to Pat, 'There's the door,'" said team president David Montgomery. "He's so far said to me that this is it as a full-time GM. I accept that."Montgomery said any talk of naming the next GM during the season is premature, though in-house candidates Ruben Amaro Jr., Mike Arbuckle and Chuck LaMar would receive serious consideration. "We're well served with our present GM," Montgomery said. "Pat's done a good job. We've all benefited from Pat." Book it: Chris Coste has plans for March 18. He'll bring his daughter, Casey, to a nearby book store and point to a new release titled "The 33-Year-Old Rookie," which chronicles his 11-year journey through the Minor Leagues. "I wrote it over the course of seven months [last season], but the story takes place over 33 years," Coste said. "It was amazing to see it in its final form. The real great moment will be when I walk hand-in-hand with my daughter and see a book that I wrote." Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, published the book, which has already prompted thoughts of being made into a movie. Coste has also recorded an audio version. Philling in: The Phillies signed right-hander Kyle Kendrick, infielders Greg Dobbs and Brad Harman and outfielder T.J. Bohn for the 2008 season. That leaves six players unsigned: Cole Hamels, Shane Victorino, Scott Mathieson, Francisco Rosario, Travis Blackley and J.D. Durbin. Teams can begin renewing players on March 2.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.