Phils Add a Mix of Young Guns, Vets to Invites

The Phillies will defend their World Series crown with a similar lineup (sorry Pat Burrell) to 2008. That hasn't stopped them from taking some fliers on players that could earn a post onto the roster in Spring Training.

The Phillies have added nine players -- a mix of up-and-coming talent and old Major Leaguers -- to their non-roster Spring Training invitees.

Minor League studs Antonio Bastardo and Jason Donald headline the list of non-roster invitees.

Bastardo, a 23-year-old lefty, is one of the crown jewels of the Phils farm system (and he has an awesome name that will certainly help jersey sales one day). He went a combined 4-5 with a 2.95 ERA in 19 starts for single-A Clearwater and double-A Reading last season.

The southpaw seems unlikely to be on the Opening Day roster so that he can continue to work as a starting pitcher in the Minors. He could make a splash as a mid-season call-up if he continues to progress.

Infielder Donald is probably the most polished minor league hitter the Phils have down on the farm. He hit .307 with 14 homers and 54 RBI in 92 games at double-A Reading last season.

Donald, 24, also played in the 2008 All-Star Futures game and for Team USA at the Beijing Olympic Games.

The biggest knock against Donald is that he is stuck behind Jimmy Rollins at shortstop and Chase Utley at second base. Maybe the Phillies will have Donald work at third during Spring Training so that he has a shot of making the big leagues at some point during the 2009 season.

The Phillies invited a couple more of their own farmhands. Expect catcher Tuffy Gosewisch and outfielder Jeremy Slayden to show up at Spring Training for the experience but not really compete for roster spots.

The Phillies are also opening the door for former Detroit Tiger right-handed pitcher Yorman (don't confuse me with Bastardo) Bazardo; former Marlins catcher Paul Hoover; journeyman outfielder Jason Ellison and former All-Star second baseman Marcus Giles.

They have nothing to lose by allowing those guys to show their stuff.

The most intriguing player the Phils are taking a shot at has to be relief pitcher Gary Majewski. The 28-year-old righty may be familiar to Phils fans for his three-year run in the Montreal/Washington bullpen.

Majewski hasn't lit it up in his career posting a 4.61 ERA in 229 career appearances (all in relief) while posting a 9-13 record. He has pitched 240.1 innings and has averaged a little less than 2-to-1 strike out to walk ratio.

The upside remains for Majewski that he could serve as a righty specialist out of the pen.

It seems unlikely that any of these guys will crack the Opening Day roster, but who knows -- Joe Bisenius made the roster in the past.

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