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Phillies Notebook: Three questions about Phillies' six draft picks

SIGNIFICANT. That's what Marti Wolever has labeled this draft. In fact, the Phillies' scouting director says this is the "most significant" draft in his 16 years with the organization.

Chase Utley dances after being hit by pitch on right foot.
Chase Utley dances after being hit by pitch on right foot.Read moreYONG KIM/Daily News



That's what Marti Wolever has labeled this draft.

In fact, the Phillies' scouting director says this is the "most significant" draft in his 16 years with the organization.

With six picks in the first 110 slots today, the club has a chance to add a much-needed infusion of young talent to the farm system. It's the most picks Wolever remembers having since taking on his current title after the 2001 season.

Of course, the question remains: What will they do with them?

For obvious reasons, Wolever declined to discuss any names when he met with the media this week, but he did provide some insight into the Phillies' general strategy.

1. Will the Phillies lean more toward pitchers or hitters?

While teams are always in search of quality pitching, the Phillies might not be able to find it when they make their first pick of the draft at No. 24. Besides, Wolever happily admits that he likes hitters. Nevertheless, he said he thinks there could be an opportunity to add an arm that could help the team in the not-so-distant future.

"An example is the college pitching board; is there somebody there that will help you and quickly?" Wolever said. "The unfortunate part is when you are picking 24, does that animal even exist? Having said that, there are still a couple of guys that we think might have a chance, maybe not this year but in the next few years, that are very attractive at that point."

2. What about signability?

It's the magic word in baseball drafts. It does no good to pick a kid whose contract demands you aren't prepared to meet. But Wolever said the organization might be more willing this year to spend money that might not fit within the slotting recommendations of Major League Baseball.

"I think we're a little more open in regards to that," he said.

3. What should we expect?

On a day that is often a game of educated chance, the Phillies' lode of picks - Nos. 24, 34, 51, 71, 102 and 110 overall - provides them with much better odds than they've had in quite some time.

"Any time you have this many picks and you have this type of opportunity to get players in the system, it's very significant," Wolever said. "We have a chance to impact the system by putting some quality players in."

Myers vs. Griffey

As Ken Griffey Jr. walked to the plate to pinch-hit for Edinson Volquez in the top of the eighth inning, the crowd at Citizens Bank Park rose to its feet in anticipation. Brett Myers fingered the ball, which he said was specially labeled "G13," and thought about his approach.

He thought back to something he heard former Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone say a couple of days ago, that Don Drysdale or Bob Gibson wouldn't take to kindly to being handed a ball marked for an opposing hitter, even one on the verge of becoming one of only six major leaguers to ever hit 600 home runs in a career.

"I walked up to home plate and told him, 'I ought to hit you with this ball, you know that?' " Myers said. "He just turned around and smirked. Then I threw one up and in and he kind of smiled at me."

He ended up walking him, which drew a smattering of boos from the crowd.

That bothered Myers.

"It kind of irritated me a little bit," said Myers, who had allowed just one hit up to that point. "I just don't understand. I know they want to see a home run hit, but not in a tight game like that, especially [Tuesday] and [last night]. They should be pulling for us. Yeah, he's going to make history and hit a home run, but if he does it here or he doesn't, he's going to do it at some point. You're supposed to be here patting us on the back. Believe me, I tried to go after him. I wasn't pitching around him. I'm not scared of any hitter."

Barack the vote

Perhaps one day in the near future we might see Jimmy Rollins trading in his baseball cap for a red, white and blue top-hat. The MVP shortstop said yesterday he wouldn't mind taking an active role in Barack Obama's presidential campaign.

"I don't know anything about campaigning," Rollins said, "but if he was somewhere and I had an opportunity to be there, I'll be there."

In addition to his skills on the field, Rollins is an impressive thinker who realizes the historic significance of Obama's bid.

"People are tired of the same old, 'We're going to do this and we're going to do that,' and - not to knock education - but 'We're going to improve education.' In reality, the big schools get more money and the smaller schools continue to shut down," Rollins said. "People are tired of hearing the same stuff and nothing being done, so people are calling for a change. Will Barack bring that change? We don't know, but he represents change, period, so that means it can happen. People want to believe that it can happen. In the past, we were told it can happen, but nothing changed. In order to make a change, you have to change the top and work its way down. We have a chance to do that, as Americans."


Jayson Werth (oblique) will begin his rehab assignment today in Clearwater . . . The start of last night's game was delayed 12 minutes due to rain . . . Chase Utley (847,628) is more than 500,000 votes ahead of the Cubs' Mark DeRosa at second base in the latest round of NL All-Star voting, and holds the overall lead by more than 100,000 votes over the Braves' Chipper Jones. *