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Just Be Yourself

PHILADELPHIA–Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but the Phillies would just as soon see righthander Gavin Floyd pay his tributes to Kevin Millwood in the form of a handshake.

Floyd, the best of a strong crop of Phillies pitching prospects, got off to a shaky start at Class A Clearwater, going 1-3, 6.32 in his first five starts.

The way Phillies officials and Clearwater pitching coach Rich Dubee saw it, Floyd’s problem wasn’t adjusting to the hitters in the Florida State League. The problem was in his delivery. It had changed since last season when he went 11-10, 2.77 at low Class A Lakewood. It had become too slow, too deliberate, too Millwoodish.

It seems after spending time with the Phillies’ ace in spring training, Floyd was emulating Millwood’s careful, slow-paced delivery. It works for Millwood, but not Floyd.

"It became easy to pick up his ball and it affected the quality of his stuff," assistant general manager Mike Arbuckle said.

After Floyd was tagged for seven runs in 423 innings against Sarasota, Dubee got Floyd back to his old delivery. The result? He pitched 15 innings, struck out 16 and didn’t allow an earned run in his next two starts. His 4-3, 3.44 overall numbers were much more in line with what the Phillies expected.

Phillies manager Larry Bowa has compared Floyd’s curveball to Bert Blyleven’s. The curve is so good the Phillies don’t want Floyd throwing a slider. A fastball/curveball/changeup repertoire is good enough to get him to the majors–in due time.

"He’s got three quality major league pitches," Arbuckle said. "He just needs experience, innings, competition and repetition at the Class A level. We won’t hurry the process."

Floyd’s OK with taking his time. "I need work on everything," he said.

Phil-Ups

• The Phillies released Korean righthander Il Kim, who received an $800,000 bonus in March 2001. Kim was signed by former Pacific Rim scouting supervisor Doug Takaragawa, who has since been fired.

• Lefty Cole Hamels, the team’s first-round pick in 2002, made his minor league debut for Lakewood on May 13 and pitched five scoreless innings with eight strikeouts at Savannah.

• Previous organization report: Ryan Howard

 
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