Free-agent righthander Kris Benson has intrigued the Phillies for a while, so yesterday they watched him throw in Phoenix.
They wouldn't say much about their impressions, other than they plan to talk more with the scouts who watched him and collect more information. Benson, 33, threw 60 pitches in front of the Phillies and about eight other teams to showcase his surgically repaired right shoulder. The injury sidelined him for the 2007 season.
"All the comments I received [from scouts] were very, very positive," Benson's agent, Gregg Clifton, said. "My experience with scouts is that if they didn't like what they saw, they might say nothing. They might say, 'Thanks for the opportunity to watch him pitch.' But everything they said afterward was very complimentary."
Benson is 68-73 with a 4.34 ERA in seven seasons with the Pirates, Mets and Orioles. He could make sense for the Phillies because he likely would sign a one-year contract.
"For the right team, like the Phillies, it's a great opportunity," Clifton said. "He's a seasoned major-league veteran who's battled this injury for the last couple seasons prior to '07. He sucked it up and pitched, so '08 could be a tremendous year for him because he's finally healthy. . . . There's not a lot of long-term risk, either. And great potential upside."
Benson threw all of his pitches, the agent said.
"I think he most importantly showed he was free and easy," Clifton said. "He had good arm extension and a good arm angle. Normally after a guy has shoulder surgery, the thing you worry about is guys tend to push the ball because they can't get the arm elevated. He had great elevation and a good downward movement on his pitches. Those were a couple of the comments that I received."
The Phillies still are pursuing free-agent outfielder Geoff Jenkins, who is believed to be deciding between the Phillies and San Diego Padres. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported yesterday that the Padres likely won't match any offer from the Phillies.