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Revs host open tryout

Tony Phillips takes time to speak with the media on his way out of the Revs' open tryout

Tony Phillips takes time to speak with the media on his way out of the Revs’ open tryout

Many professional baseball hopefuls and a handful of diehard Revolution fans braved the chilly weather on Friday evening as the ballclub hosted its annual open tryout.  There were no signings made by the Revs this season from an event that in previous years had led them to sign the likes of Salomon Manriquez, Colin Roberson, Brian Holliday, and later in 2009, Shawn Hedrick.  The big news this year was the presence of 18-year Major League veteran Tony Phillips, now 53 years old, who is pursuing a return to pro ball to win a bet that he made with a youngster back home.

As legend has it, Phillips made a bet with a kid that he’s coached, that even at his advanced age, he could make a pro team in the Dominican Republic.  So that’s his motivation.  Phillips took ground balls at shortstop, even dove for one, but exited the tryout before swinging the bat.  After hearing of the 13 Major League veterans already signed by the Revs for the upcoming season, he knew there wasn’t room for him on this year’s club, and decided not to wait around.  Phillips worked out in Camden for manager Ron Karkovice, his former White Sox teammate, earlier today, and will return to Camden tomorrow for their open tryout.  Phillips was very gracious to take time for the media, sign some autographs, a share a few stories on his way out.  He was also very appreciative that the Revs lent him their electricity to charge his phone during the tryout.  He made a point of mentioning that.  Tune in to an upcoming pregame show on SportsRadio 1350 this season for my interview with Phillips.

No news of any spring training invites yet as the tryout winds down.  Each year, many amateurs come out hoping to catch the eye of someone on the Revs staff and get their big break, and there are a couple with pro experience who turn out as well.  This year, Northern York County High School product Nate Eppley, the younger brother of Yankees reliever Cody Eppley, came to the tryout.  He spent two years in the Oakland A’s organization reaching Single-A.  The case of Phillips though is certainly the most unique that we’ve had in Revolution tryout history.

Here are a few images from the evening:

What's this? Paul Braverman helping take throws in the infield?  Now this is the headline story from this year's tryout.

What’s this? Paul Braverman helping take throws in the infield? Now this is the headline story from this year’s tryout.

Always a good idea to stretch beforehand. Revs athletic trainer Justin Zabrosky leads the drills.

Always a good idea to stretch beforehand. Revs athletic trainer Justin Zabrosky leads the drills.

Mase on fungo-hitting duty.

Mase on fungo-hitting duty.

A busy weekend awaits, as members of this year’s team travel in this weekend.  Sovereign Bank Stadium will next open its gates next Saturday for Fan Fest, and next Sunday for the exhibition game against Lancaster.  These next two days are the final non-baseball weekend until perhaps October.  Wouldn’t have it any other way!

-DH

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