PHILADELPHIA—The Phillies' patience with Tyson Gillies is being tested, but they haven't given up on the promising center fielder.
Philadelphia suspended Gillies "indefinitely" from Double-A Reading on July 19 after a confrontation with a bus driver during a trip to Portland, Maine. Assistant general manger Benny Looper said he hoped Gillies would return to playing in "a couple of weeks."
"We've handled it internally, and we're continuing to address it with Tyson," Looper said. "I think Tyson is a good kid who made a mistake. He's worth sticking with and trying to help."
The incident was the latest derailment that Gillies, a 23-year-old with blinding athleticism, has experienced since joining the Phillies in the December 2009 trade that sent Cliff Lee to the Mariners.
Gillies joined the Phillies fresh off a .341/.430/.486 campaign for high Class A High Desert that included 44 stolen bases. Promoted to Double-A in 2010, he went down with a hamstring injury and was later arrested in Clearwater, Fla., on a subsequently-dropped cocaine possession charge. Hamstring problems dogged Gillies again in 2011, when he played in just three games at high Class A.
Gillies returned to Reading to start this season and played well prior to suffering a concussion in a collision on May 26. He returned on July 10 and went 4-for-12 in four games prior to his suspension.
People with knowledge of the bus-driver incident say Gillies may have been emotional after tweaking his hamstrings. He reported to Clearwater for treatment and other assistance after the suspension.
Since joining the Phillies, Gillies has played in just 77 games in three seasons, missing a load of development time. He had batted .291/.372/.434 through 175 at-bats with seven steals in 11 tries with Reading this season.
"A player has to get between the lines to improve," Looper said. "It's disappointing any time something happens that's within a player's control that causes him to miss time.
"We hope through this he becomes a better person and ultimately a better player."
• Righty reliever Lisalverto Bonilla had surgery on his broken right thumb in mid-July, bringing down the curtain on a breakthrough season in which he notched a 1.18 WHIP and struck out 46 in 33 innings at Double-A. He injured himself at the hotel the night before the Futures Game.
• Lefty Adam Morgan, a
third-round pick from Alabama last year, had gone 3-8, 3.23 through 18
appearances and led the high Class A Florida State League with 111
strikeouts in 103 innings.