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Drabek, Taylor named Phils top minor-leaguers

Righthander Kyle Drabek and outfielder Michael Taylor are the recipients of the Paul Owens Award for the best pitcher and position player in the Phillies' minor-league system for 2009.

Righthander Kyle Drabek and outfielder Michael Taylor are the recipients of the Paul Owens Award for the best pitcher and position player in the Phillies' minor-league system for 2009.

The team named the two award-winners yesterday.

According to assistant general manager Chuck LaMar, Taylor will begin next season playing for triple-A Lehigh Valley, and Drabek will be sent either there or to double-A Reading, depending on his performance in spring training.

Both players could factor into the Phillies' future, though the team's actions leading up to the July 31 trade deadline indicated a greater investment in Drabek. In negotiations involving Toronto pitcher Roy Halladay, Drabek and outfield prospect Domonic Brown essentially were untouchable, while the Phils were willing to deal Taylor in the right package.

The 23-year-old hit a combined .320 with 28 doubles, five triples, 20 home runs, 84 RBIs and 21 stolen bases in 116 games for Reading and Lehigh Valley. He certainly is talented, and was named the Eastern League rookie of the year. But barring injury to Raul Ibanez, Jayson Werth or Shane Victorino, Taylor will be blocked for at least one more season at the major-league level.

He is sidelined with an oblique (side muscle) injury, which general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said was progressing "slowly," and is expected to play winter ball, possibly in Mexico.

If all goes well for Drabek, a spot in the Phillies' rotation could open up in late 2010. Drabek, 21, went a combined 12-3 with a 3.19 ERA in 25 games with single-A Clearwater and Reading. He had 150 strikeouts in 158 innings.

The Phillies decided to end Drabek's season this month, after the pitcher posted a 4.53 second-half earned run average. Drabek, who underwent reconstructive elbow surgery in 2007, had never exceeded 60 innings in a professional season before this year.

"He threw a lot more innings than he had in the past," LaMar said. "Sometimes fatigue can set in. This was really his first full season in professional baseball. Like any first-year player, there is mental and physical fatigue that sets in. Next year will be that year when you take the gloves off and see where he's at."

The award is named after the late Paul Owens, who spent 48 years in the Phillies organization as a scout, farm director, general manager, manager and senior adviser. Last year's recipients were pitcher J.A. Happ and catcher Lou Marson (traded to Cleveland this year in the Cliff Lee deal); other recipients have included Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.

Drabek and Taylor will receive the awards in a pregame ceremony September 15 at Citizens Bank Park.

Condrey and Bastardo rehab today

Relievers Clay Condrey (oblique muscle) and Antonio Bastardo (left shoulder strain) are expected make rehabilitation appearances today in the Gulf Coast League, according to assistant general manager Scott Proefrock.

Both relievers, and Condrey in particular, could present the Phillies with difficult decisions regarding the postseason roster if they return. Righthander Tyler Walker has performed well as Condrey's substitute, posting a 1.99 ERA, and Condrey was a valuable member of last season's World Series-winning bullpen.

Amaro said that if Condrey's outing goes well, the righthander will pitch two innings in his next rehab game.

Poll: 10% expect a repeat

According to results of a national telephone poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports and released yesterday, 10 percent of Americans expect the Phillies to win the World Series this year. That ties the Phils at second place with the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals. The New York Yankees dominated the poll, with 25 percent of respondents believing they will win the championship.

Extra bases

The Phillies called up Paul Hoover from triple-A Lehigh Valley, giving them a third catcher for September. He will join the team today.