The Phillies have invited 10 non-roster players to spring training, including two righthanded pitchers with local ties.
Mike Koplove, who graduated from Chestnut Hill Academy and pitched at the University of Delaware, still lives in Philadelphia in the offseason. He was 2-1 with nine saves and a 3.46 earned run average for Triple A Las Vegas last season.
Blaine Neal, a graduate of Bishop Eustace High School in Pennsauken, N.J., tied for second in the International League with 26 saves for Triple A Toledo. He has pitched for Florida, Boston, San Diego and Colorado.
Two players who were at Triple A Lehigh Valley will return. Infielder Mike Cervenak batted .311 for the IronPigs and was named to the IL All-Star team. He played 10 games with the Phillies, making his major league debut in the process. First baseman Andy Tracy hit .288 with 22 homers and 85 RBI and also played briefly in the big leagues.
Two other righthanded pitchers also will be in Clearwater, Fla. Dave Borkowski split last season between Houston (0-2, 7.50) and Triple A Round Rock (2.43). He also pitched for the Tigers and Orioles. Justin Lehr was 6-2, 2.10 for Triple A Louisville.
Also invited: shortstop Ozzie Chavez (.232 between Triple A Nashville and Double A Huntsville), infielder-outfielder J.J. Furmaniak (a .270 career minor league hitter who did not play last year), third baseman Terry Tiffee (a Pacific Coast League-leading .378 at Triple A Las Vegas) and outfielder Chris Walker (.257 for Triple A Salt Lake City).
, whose 3-year, $31.5 million free-agent contract was formally announced Tuesday, will make a base salary of $6.5 million in 2009 and $11.5 million in 2010 and 2011. He also gets a $2 million signing bonus and also has awards incentives . . . The Phillies signed the following minor league free agents: righthanders
, first baseman/outfielder
. . . Phillies reliever
was one of three players to sign up for the Puerto Rican team for the second World Baseball Classic, it was announced yesterday. Catchers
are the other two. *