Phillies Welcome Back Gosewich

Quality defender returns as free agent

PHILADELPHIA—As free-agent signings go, it didn't rank with Jonathan Papelbon, but Phillies officials were thrilled that veteran catcher Tuffy Gosewisch decided to return to the organization for an eighth season.

"Good catching is so hard to find," assistant general manager Benny Looper said. "There were a number of teams interested in Tuffy. We're happy to get him back. We hope we don't lose him in the Rule 5 draft."

Gosewisch was not selected in the Rule 5, so  now the question is: Where will his services best be utilized in 2012?

The 28-year-old Arizona State product, an 11th-round pick in 2005, is an excellent receiver and smart handler of pitchers, his skills famously endorsed by Roy Halladay in the spring of 2011. The Phils could send him back to Double-A to mentor catching prospect Sabastian Valle and a prospect-laden pitching staff that will include Trevor May, Jonathan Pettibone and Julio Rodriguez. Or it could reward him with a well-earned promotion to Triple-A.

"He would be great with that staff at Double-A," Looper said. "But we think he deserves a chance to make the Triple-A club. Valle will do the bulk of the catching at Double-A."

Gosewisch is coming off his best year in the system. He hit .247/.295/.404 at Double-A in 2011, and hit .318 in 88 at-bats against lefties.

After the season, Gosewich joined Team USA to participate in the World Cup and Pan Am Games. He stepped into a bigger role when Travis d'Arnaud, a former Phillies prospect now with the Blue Jays, left the team with a thumb injury.

Gosewisch will be in big league camp for the fifth straight year in February. That will make his partners in the annual team golf outing happy as Gosewisch is an excellent golfer. It also makes team officials happy because they envision Gosewisch as someone who could be a backup on the big league team in the near future.

"He's a good catch and throw guy and he's smart," Looper said. "You always need those guys."


• The Phils announced their full-season manager assignments: Ryne Sandberg (Triple-A), Dusty Wathan (Double-A), Chris Truby (high Class A) and Mickey Morandini (low Class A).

• The team signed veteran pitchers Dave Bush and David Purcey to minor league deals with invites to spring training.