Phils not giving up on prospect Gillies
The Phillies have not given up on suspended outfield prospect Tyson Gillies.
In fact, team officials hope he can return to playing sometime in early August.
“It’s kind of open-ended,” assistant general manager Benny Looper said of the suspension. “But we hope to have him back in two weeks.”
Gillies, a 23-year-old centerfielder with tremendous athleticism and potential, was suspended from the Double A Reading roster last week after an altercation with a team bus driver during a trip to Portland, Maine.
It was the latest derailment in a career that has seen Gillies play in just 77 games since joining the Phillies in the Dec. 2009 trade that sent Cliff Lee to Seattle.
Gillies missed significant time in 2010. He injured a hamstring while playing at Reading and was later arrested on a cocaine possession charge in Clearwater that was eventually dropped.
Hamstring problems limited Gillies to just three games in 2011.
Healthy and hoping to recoup lost development time, Gillies was off to a good start in Reading this season when he was sidelined for almost two months by a concussion suffered in an on-field collision in late May. He had been back for two games when the incident occurred in Maine.
In 44 games at Reading this season, Gillies is hitting .291 with a .372 on-base percentage.
Phillies officials had hoped to get a good read on Gillies this season. With Shane Victorino reaching free-agency after this season, the club will be looking for alternatives in centerfield.
The question remains: After health and behavior issues, can Gillies stay on the field long enough to maximize his potential?
“I’m disappointed he hasn’t gotten on the field,” Looper said. “He has a lot of ability.
“It’s disappointing any time something happens that’s within a players’ control that causes him to miss time. We hope through this Tyson becomes a better person and ultimately a better player.
“I think he’s a good kid. He made a mistake. He’s worth sticking with and helping.”
Gillies is working out under the supervision of team officials in Clearwater.E-mail Jim Salisbury at firstname.lastname@example.org