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Phillies loaded with draft chances

Phillies director of scouting Marti Wolever, who has been with the team since 1992, said this is the organization's most significant draft in 16 years.

Phillies director of scouting

Marti Wolever,

who has been with the team since 1992, said this is the organization's most significant draft in 16 years.

The Phillies have six of the top 110 picks in this year's June amateur draft, which begins tomorrow: 24, 34, 51, 71, 102 and 110. For a team that has had the second-fewest picks in the top five rounds since 2000 that is a significant haul.

"Any time you have this many picks and you have this type of opportunity to put these quality players in the system . . . we have a chance to impact the system," Wolever said. "Not only with the first six picks, but beyond that I'm hoping that we can do a few things down the road here that could really, really add even more to it."

The Phillies are looking heavily at high school hitters, but like any draft they will take the best player available. They have worked out Unionville High senior Pete Hissey twice in the last few days. Hissey, projected as a third-rounder, is a 6-foot-1 outfielder with excellent speed and gap power potential. He has committed to the University of Virginia and is ranked 136th overall by Baseball America. It might take a seven-figure signing bonus to get him out of his college commitment.

Could the Phillies do that for Hissey and others? They typically have followed the slotting recommendations of the commissioner's office - unlike the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, who have exceeded those recommendations to load up their farm systems - but Wolever thinks the Phillies could take and sign a few players with "signability" issues.

"I think we're a little more open-minded in regards to that," Wolever said. "You can't burn the candle at both ends and expect great things to happen. Something's got to give."

Utley keeps his lead

Chase Utley

continues to lead all National League players in votes for the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium on July 15.

Utley has 847,628 votes, which gives him 139,113 more votes than Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones. Utley also has a commanding lead among NL second basemen, as Chicago's Mark DeRosa is second with 333,920 votes.

Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, the reigning NL MVP, remains fifth among shortstops with just 293,567 votes. He trails Cubs shortstop Ryan Theriot, who is fourth with 331,811 votes. First baseman Ryan Howard, who won the MVP in 2006, is fourth at his position, and Pat Burrell remains sixth among outfielders.

Fans can vote at or at the ballpark. Teams will be announced July 6.

Werth hits


Jayson Werth,

on the 15-day disabled list with a strained abdominal muscle, took early batting practice yesterday. He will do so again today, and the Phillies will decide afterward when he could begin a minor-league rehab assignment.

Looking for payback

The Phillies tonight face righthander

Edinson Volquez

(7-2, 1.46 ERA). He made his season debut against the Phils on April 6 and allowed just five hits, one run and two walks in 51/3 innings. He struck out eight.

Marson, Walls the best

The Phillies named double-A Reading catcher

Lou Marson

and single-A Clearwater pitcher

Sam Walls

their minor-league player and pitcher of the month.

Marson, the team's fourth pick in June 2004, hit .394 with eight doubles, two home runs and 37 RBIs in 26 games last month. He finished May leading the Eastern League with a .356 average.

Walls, the team's 10th-round pick in 2006, went 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 11 appearances last month. In 151/3 innings, he allowed just six hits and five walks. He also struck out 19, and held opponents to a .122 average. Walls is 1-0 with a 0.88 ERA and nine saves this season.

No worries here

Rollins entered last night hitting just .095 (2 for 21) with one walk and one RBI in his last five games.

"It seems like he's taking the good pitches and swinging at the bad ones," manager Charlie Manuel said. "It's just a matter of time before he gets going."

He did. He went 3 for 4 with a double, a run scored and two stolen bases.

Benson just sore


Kris Benson

had an appointment yesterday in Philadelphia with team physician

Michael Ciccotti,

who confirmed that Benson has soreness in his right biceps. Benson likely will be throwing again this weekend.

Extra bases

Utley has had at least one RBI in his last nine games. He is one of just five Phillies to accomplish the feat, joining

Don Hurst


Pinky Whitney

(1928, 1931),

Bobby Abreu

(2005), and Howard (twice in 2006). The franchise record is 10 straight games, held by Whitney and Abreu. Utley has 20 RBIs during the stretch. . . .

Shane Victorino's

career-best 14-game hitting streak ended. He hit .400 (24 for 60) during the streak. . . . Cincinnati's

Ryan Freel

left the game in the sixth inning with a strained right hamstring.