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Phillies invite nine to spring training

The Phillies formally invited nine players, most of whom will form triple-A Lehigh Valley's roster, to spring training on Thursday. Most notable is catcher Humberto Quintero, who is the favorite to serve as the team's backup catcher during the first month of the season while Carlos Ruiz serves his 25-game suspension for Adderall.

In addition to Quintero those invited were infielders Andres Blanco, Josh Fields, Michael Martinez and Pete Orr; catcher Steven Lerud; outfielder Jermaine Mitchell; pitchers Cesar Jimenez and Zach Miner.

Martinez, Orr and Lerud all appeared for the Phillies in 2012. Blanco spent the entire season at triple-A Lehigh Valley. The others are all newcomers.

Quintero, 33, was with the Royals, Marlins and Brewers organizations in 2012. He played 43 games for Kansas City and hit .232. In 10 seasons, he has a career .590 OPS but is known as a strong defensive presence.

Courtesy of the Phillies PR staff, here is information on the other eight invitees:

Andres Blanco, INF – In 120 games for triple-A Lehigh Valley last season, Blanco, hit .235 with 14 doubles, one triple, 10 home runs and 40 RBI. The 29-year-old, who appeared exclusively at shortstop with the exception of one game at second base, finished second on the team in home runs, runs scored (47) and games. For his major league career, Blanco has spent parts of six seasons with the Royals (2004-06), Cubs (2009) and Rangers (2010-11). A native of Urama, Venezuela, he was originally signed by the Royals as an amateur free agent in August of 2000.

Josh Fields, INF – Fields spent all of last season with triple-A Albuquerque in the Dodgers minor league system where he hit .322 with 32 doubles, five triples, 13 home runs and 71 RBI in 133 games. He led the club in hits (158) and runs scored (96) and finished third in RBI. In addition, Fields, who turns 30 tomorrow, appeared at five different defensive positions in 2012, third base, first base, second base, right field and left field. Originally a first-round selection (18th overall) of the White Sox in the June 2004 draft, the Ada, Okla. native has spent parts of five seasons in the majors between the White Sox (2006-09) and Royals (2010).

Cesar Jimenez, LHP – Jimenez pitched to a 2-2 record with a 5.75 ERA in 23 appearances for triple-A Tacoma in the Mariners minor league system in 2012. Despite spending time on the disabled list with a left forearm strain, the 28-year-old averaged 8.41 strikeouts per nine innings (38 SO, 40.2 IP). He is currently pitching for Cardenales de Lara in the Venezuelan Winter League. Born in Cumana, Venezuela, Jimenez was originally signed as an amateur free agent by Seattle in July of 2001. He has spent parts of three seasons in the majors, all with the Mariners (2006, 2008 & 2011).

Steven Lerud, C – Lerud spent the majority of last season with double-A Reading where he hit .235 with seven doubles and seven RBI over 35 games. The 28-year-old had his contract selected by the Phillies in late August and made three starts for the club. A native of Reno, Nev., Lerud was originally selected by the Pirates in the fourth round of the June 2003 draft and joined the Phillies as a minor league free agent last December.

Jermaine Mitchell, OF – Mitchell batted .252 with 15 doubles, 11 triples and 38 RBI in 108 games for triple-A Sacramento in the Oakland Athletics organization last season, where played all three outfield positions. The Naples, Tex., native ranked second in the Pacific Coast League in triples in 2012 while finishing second on his club in both runs (75) and stolen bases (15). Mitchell, 28, was originally selected in the fifth round of the June 2006 draft by Oakland out of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Michael Martinez, INF/OF – Martinez, 30, split the 2012 season between the Phillies and triple-A Lehigh Valley. Due to a foot injury suffered in spring training, he began his season in June. In 45 games at the major league level, Martinez hit .174 with two home runs and seven RBI. Defensively, he appeared five different positions for the Phillies making a total of 34 starts, 14 at second base, eight at third base, six at shortstop, four in right field and two in center field. Martinez was selected by the Phillies in the 2010 Rule 5 draft.

Zach Miner, RHP – The 30-year-old Miner was a non-roster invitee to Royals spring training in 2012 but finished the year in the Tigers minor league system. He spent the majority of the season with triple-A Toledo where he went 2-0 with two saves and a 2.50 ERA in 23 relief appearances. Miner also appeared with double-A Erie and the Gulf Coast League Tigers. A native of St. Louis, Mo., he was originally selected by the Braves in the fourth round of the June 2000 draft. For his career, Miner has spent four seasons in the majors, all with Detroit (2006-09).

Pete Orr, INF/OF – Despite making the Phillies Opening Day roster for the second straight season, Orr spent the majority of the 2012 season with triple-A Lehigh Valley. In 81 games for the IronPigs the 33-year-old batted .258 with 13 doubles, two triples, four home runs and 33 RBI. With the Phillies, Orr hit .315 with five doubles, a triple and seven RBI. The Ontario, Canada native was originally signed by the Braves as an amateur free agent in July of 1999.

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