The off-season news keeps on coming in what has been a busy week, with former Phillie second baseman Mickey Morandini set to become the coach of the Low A Short Season Williamsport Crosscutters, according to Jim Peters of the Northwest Indiana Times. Morandini had been the head baseball coach at Valpariso High School in Indiana, where he lives with his family. Morandini commented to Peters that “part of the reason I didn’t do it earlier was that I wanted to see my children grow up and coach them…I have done that almost the last 8 years. The Phillies contacted me almost every year since I retired. I told them that eventually I wanted to get back in it. I am not getting any younger, so I figured this was a good time to do it.
Morandini who is a Pennsylvania native, is now 44 and has been out of professional baseball (other than spending some time instructing at Phils Spring Training) since retiring in 2000 after spending 11 seasons in the major leagues. A thank you goes out to Mandy Housenick of the Allentown Morning Call for sending this information our way.
The Phillies have signed 1B/3B Jeff Larish to a minor league deal, with 3B at Lehigh Valley his likely landing spot. Larish, 28, was a 5th round selection of the Tigers in the 2005 draft. After spending 5 years in the Tigers organization, Larish was claimed off of waivers late last season by Oakland. He has 245 major league at bats, including 67 last year with a .224/.308/.380 line to go along with 8 HR and 32 RBI.
Last year in AAA, Larish hit .284/.377/.533 with 20 HR and 74 RBI. Larish should be an upgrade over Cody Ransom, both offensively and defensively in Lehigh Valley.
According to Jeff Schuler of The Morning Call, Pitcher Nate Bump, 1B/OF Tagg Bozied and OF Rich Thompson have re-signed with the Phils organization for the 2011 season. Bump is expected to rejoin the rotation in Lehigh Valley in 2011 after a very good first half of 2010. Bump struggled with his health in the seasons second half, but should be 100% healthy entering 2011. Bump, 34, is a local guy from Towanda, PA who has 113 major league appearances to his credit in the Marlins organization. In 2010 Bump went 8-4 with a 3.35 ERA in 20 starts and was named to the International League All Star Team.
Rich Thompson, a personal favorite of mine because of how he plays, returns to the Lehigh Valley outfield for a 4th season after resigning this week. Last season Thompson hit .284/.339/.382 with 5 HR and 45 RBI’s in 476 AB’s. Thompson, 31, was very impressive on the base paths stealing 41 bases in 45 attempts.
Bozied, 31, returns after having a phenomenal 2010 at the plate in Reading, hitting .315/.402/.631 in 355 AB’s with 27 HR and 92 RBI’s.