03/06/12 5:02 PM ET
Former Phillie Francisco reunited with team
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
He had been traded again.
"A little surprised, but nothing can surprise you in this game," he said Tuesday morning at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. "You've got to be ready for anything."
The Phillies traded Francisco to the Toronto Blue Jays on Dec. 12 for Minor League left-hander Frank Gailey. They essentially made the move because they had no spot for Francisco at his salary. He made $1.175 million last season, and as the Phillies move closer and closer to the $178 million luxury tax threshold, it made little sense to keep him with Shane Victorino in center field, Hunter Pence in right field and the potential emergence of John Mayberry Jr. in left field, especially with Francisco coming off a disappointing season and due another raise because of salary arbitration.
The Phillies also found cheaper alternatives for reserve outfielders in Laynce Nix, who makes $1.15 million, and Juan Pierre and Scott Podsednik, who both signed Minor League contracts.
"He definitely earned [playing time] last year," Francisco said of Mayberry. "One of our best hitters. He earned the right to play. I'm excited for him. He's one of my friends, and he's going to help them a lot. The more he played, the better he did last year."
Francisco finds himself in a similar role in Toronto, where he is expected to be the team's fifth outfielder. He went 0-for-1 in the Blue Jays' 7-0 loss to the Phillies on Tuesday.
Francisco, who makes $1.5375 million this season, came to the Phillies in the July 2009 trade that brought Cliff Lee to Philadelphia. He left the organization with two great memories: playing in the 2009 World Series and his game-winning pinch-hit home run in Game 3 of the 2011 National League Division Series.
"I still get asked about it," Francisco said. "People talk about it. It was a big moment, and a lot of people were watching. Every time I see somebody I hadn't seen in a while, they always talk about it. It was exciting. It just [stinks] we didn't finish it off. But it was a big moment in my career."
Podsednik getting chance to win job with Phils
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Phillies outfielder Scott Podsednik figures to be competing for a bench job with Juan Pierre this spring.
Podsednik went 1-for-2 with a double in Tuesday's 7-0 victory over the Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. He is hitting .429 (3-for-7) with two doubles, one walk and one stolen base this spring. Pierre, who went 1-for-4 on Tuesday, is hitting .375 (3-for-8) with one walk and one stolen base.
"What I've seen, he swings the bat pretty good and he's got some quickness in his bat," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Podsednik. "He'll get a chance to play down here. We'll get a good read on him."
Podsednik and Pierre are similar players in that both play the outfield and have speed.
"They're good baserunners, and they can run," Manuel said. "The more he hits, the more he gets on, the better he is. The better his game is."
The Phillies allowed seven hits and two walks and struck out eight in a 7-0 victory over the Blue Jays. Kyle Kendrick threw two scoreless innings. Jeremy Horst, Michael Schwimer, J.C. Ramirez, Raul Valdes and Jake Dieman each pitched a scoreless inning. "That's good managing," Charlie Manuel joked. "[Pitching coach Rich] Dubee coached good."
Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino got former teammate Ben Francisco's attention when Francisco pinch-ran for Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista in the sixth inning. "Hey! Hey!" he shouted to Francisco from the Phillies' bullpen in left field. "Nice number!" Francisco, who wore No. 10 with the Phillies, is wearing No. 8 with the Blue Jays.
Ty Wigginton, Scott Podsednik and Freddy Galvis all doubled on Tuesday, and Victorino picked up his first hit of the spring.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.