Hamels among 18 non-roster invitees

Hamels among 18 non-roster invitees

PHILADELPHIA -- Top prospect Cole Hamels heads the list of 18 non-roster players who have received invitations to Spring Training next month with hopes of making the Phillies' Major League squad.

Ten pitchers, three catchers, three infielders and two outfielders will make the spring complex a busy place, along with 22 instructors to assist manager Charlie Manuel and his staff. Among those instructors is Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt, who returns for his sixth spring as a special hitting instructor, along with Garry Maddox and Ruben Amaro Sr.

Hamels' inclusion brings excitement for those eager to see the talented lefty resume his career after being detoured by injuries. After a brilliant 2003 season that ended at Class A Clearwater, Hamels spent 2004 in big league camp. He impressed there by twice striking out Alex Rodriguez twice with his devastating changeup.

That would have to be viewed as a highlight, since forearm, hand and back injuries have limited his use over the last two seasons. His back limited him to six starts for Clearwater and Double-A Reading, but he went a 4-0 with a 2.31 ERA in those starts. The 22-year-old was shut down after a July 19 start with back spasms that were later revealed to be a recurrence of a previous lower back injury.

Hamels enters this spring healthy, but as a big question mark, and he'll have to show that he's ready. While a blistering spring might sway the Phillies toward taking him north, the most likely scenario has him starting the season at Double-A or Triple-A. A callup during the season isn't out of the question.

Two other notables include lefty Gio Gonzalez and catcher Jason Jaramillo. Gonzalez was acquired as the player to be named from the White Sox for Jim Thome, and is regarded as a top pitching prospect. The 20-year-old southpaw split last season between low and high A and went a combined 13-6 with a 2.82 ERA in 24 starts. He allowed 97 hits in 131 innings and struck out 163.

Jaramillo, a second-round pick in 2004, could be the Phils' catcher of the future. This will be his first big league Spring Training. A switch-hitter, Jaramillo appeared in 119 games for Class A Lakewood and hit .304 with 28 doubles, eight home runs and 63 RBIs.

The remaining invitees are:

Peter Bergeron, OF: Bergeron spent most of last year with Double-A Bowie, hitting .296 with five home runs and 33 RBIs in 91 games, primarily playing center field. He also played in 10 games for Nashua of the independent Atlantic League (.341, six RBIs). The 28-year-old last appeared in the Majors in 2004 with Montreal.

Ryan Cameron, RHP: Cameron went 6-5 with 19 saves and a 2.55 ERA for Reading in 2005. The 28-year-old fanned 99 in 88 1/3 innings, held opponents to a .216 batting average and allowed more than two earned runs in just one appearance.

Clay Condrey, RHP: Condrey returns for his second Spring Training with the Phillies. He spent the 2005 season with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and went 7-8 with a 4.15 ERA in 25 games (24 starts). Condrey, 30, spent four days with the Phillies last season, but didn't appear in a game.

Chris Coste, 3B: The 32-year-old batted .292 with 20 homers and 89 RBIs for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last season. His RBI total was third-best in the International League and tied for third-most in club history. He led the team in games (134), at-bats (506), home runs and RBIs.

Jeremy Cummings, RHP: Cummings, 29, split the 2005 season between Double-A Springfield (5-3, 4.50 ERA) and Triple-A Memphis (7-1, 2.77 ERA) in the Cardinals' organization. His combined numbers were 12-4 with a 3.76 ERA in 26 games (18 starts), allowing only 105 hits in 122 innings.

Shawn Garrett, OF: As an outfielder/first baseman with Triple-A Sacramento in 2005, Garrett hit .295 with 27 doubles, 17 home runs and 82 RBIs in 131 games.

Tim Gradoville, C: This will be Gradoville's second Spring Training. He split last season with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, appearing in games for both clubs in one day on May 24.

Aquilino Lopez, RHP: Lopez, 30, pitched for five different teams in 2005, including the Phillies. In 11 Major League appearances -- 10 with Philadelphia -- Lopez went 0-1 with a 2.16 ERA. He struck out 22 in 16 2/3 innings.

Travis Minix, RHP: Minix shuttled between Reading and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2005 and went a combined 2-1 with a 1.77 ERA in 53 games. In 76 1/3 innings, he allowed only 53 hits.

Aaron Myette, RHP: Myette pitched in three games for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Pacific League in Japan, where he went 0-0 with a 20.77 ERA.

Brian Sanches, RHP: As a reliever with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Sanches went 5-3 with a 3.69 ERA in 51 games. The 27-year-old held left-handed hitters to a .212 average.

Bobby Scales, INF: With Triple-A Portland last year, Scales hit .274 with 14 home runs and 61 RBIs in 120 games, playing second base, third base and left field.

Joe Thurston, INF: Thurston, 26, split last season between two Triple-A teams, Las Vegas and Columbus. He hit a combined .272 with eight home runs and 42 RBIs. Thurston has appeared in 37 games in the Majors, all with the Dodgers, hitting .275.

Dusty Wathan, C: A veteran of 12 professional seasons, Wathan has spent the last three seasons in the Cleveland organization, hitting .262 with 14 home runs and 51 RBIs for Triple-A Buffalo in 2005. The son of former Royals catcher John Wathan, he played three games with Kansas City in 2003, going 3-for-5 with an RBI.

Matt White, LHP: White, 28, went 8-6 with a 3.72 ERA in 35 games for Triple-A New Orleans in the Nationals' organization. As a reliever, White struck out 33 in 29 1/3 innings. He made one start in August for Washington and lost, allowing four runs in four innings.

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.