Talking Tillman and Samuel (updated)

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Chris Tillman retired the first two batters he faced in the first inning, striking out Jimmy Rollins, but he’s behind 1-0 as we move to the top of the second.

Raul Ibanez singled with two outs and scored on Ryan Howard’s double to right. The wind might have knocked down the ball and prevented it from landing on the hill beyond the fence.

Tillman threw 21 pitches, 12 strikes.

Randy Winn, who couldn’t make a play on Howard’s fly ball, led off the game with a walk, but Phillies right-hander Roy Oswalt retired the next three batters. He just struck out Nolan Reimold to open the second, but Jake Fox singled to left field.

Instant update: Brendan Harris just tied the game with a double to left that scored Fox.

Former Orioles third base coach and manager Juan Samuel gave the Baltimore reporters a warm greeting on the field after the Phillies had completed batting practice.

Samuel is hugely popular in Philadelphia, and he’s thrilled to be back in the Phillies’ organization as third base coach.

“It means a lot to me, because they gave me an opportunity and a chance to make my name here when I came from the Dominican Republic. And the opportunity to go back with some of the front office people that are still here when I was here, it makes you feel good,” he said.

“The fan response has been great. It’s been awesome.”

Samuel was expected to remain with the Orioles as third base coach, but the two sides couldn’t reach agreement on a contract. The Phillies had an opening, and Samuel eagerly filled it.

“Yes, there was no doubt. I thought I was headed back here again and things just didn’t happen to work out the last few days,” Samuel said. “We just couldn’t get on the same page, but obviously, yes, I definitely thought I was coming back here to Baltimore.”

Samuel said there are no hard feelings, but he hasn’t spoken to anyone in the organization since rejoining the Phillies.

“I feel a little bit uncomfortable there because I talked to Buck (Showalter) quite a bit before and I had a couple conversations with Buck,” Samuel said. “I said, ‘You know I don’t want to drag this thing, I don’t want to hold you hostage last-minute. I want to give you a chance to find a third base coach and I just have to move on.’ At one point he said, ‘You have to do what’s best for you and your family,’ so it was easy to make the decision after I had a couple conversations with them.”

Samuel has kept track of the Orioles’ signings and acquisitions. It’s a much different lineup than the one he left behind.

“I said, ‘Oh man, they did very, very well,’” he said. “They should be able to score a lot of runs, and I know the pitchers toward the end of the season picked it up a little bit. So it should be fun, and those fans deserve it.”

A few players, including Cesar Izturis and Brian Roberts, contacted Samuel when they thought he was staying in the organization, and he felt bad about reversing his decision after they reached out to him.

“I felt kind of guilty calling them back and letting them know I’m sorry,” Samuel said, “but a lot of those guys were kind of happy when they thought I was going to come back.”

blog comments powered by Disqus