Phillies send Stassi, Featherston to Minors

Phillies send Stassi, Featherston to Minors

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies took batting practice Saturday morning at Bright House Field, which is customary whenever they play the Blue Jays in a Grapefruit League game on an afternoon in Dunedin, Fla.

But 45 minutes after they boarded the bus for the short drive to Florida Auto Exchange Stadium at around 11:30 a.m., they learned the game had been canceled because of rain. Saturday's scheduled starter, Phillies right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, will start Sunday's 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Astros at Bright House Field, which will air on MLB.TV.

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Before the cancellation the Phillies announced they had reassigned first baseman Brock Stassi to Minor League camp and optioned infielder Taylor Featherston to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The move leaves 48 players in camp, not including injured outfielder Aaron Altherr and injured left-hander Matt Harrison.

Stassi, 26, hit .240 (6-for-25) with one double, two RBIs, three walks and five strikeouts this spring. Featherston, 26, hit .100 (2-for-20) with one home run, three RBIs, five walks and six strikeouts.

"I'm happy with the way a lot of things went," Stassi said.

Stassi won the Eastern League Most Valuable Player Award last year after hitting .300 with 32 doubles, one triple, 15 home runs, 90 RBIs, 77 walks and 63 strikeouts with an .863 OPS in 133 games. He impressed folks with his defense this spring, but he will have to continue to hit this year to earn a promotion to the big leagues.

Stassi left camp believing he can make the final jump.

"Even growing up my dad always preached 'respect everyone, but fear no one,'" Stassi said. "I feel like I fit in over here. I don't know, it definitely was a confidence booster. Force the hand and prove myself. Nothing has ever been given to me in this game. I've had to earn everything. It's nothing new. Just got to keep handling my business and hopefully one day be back over here."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.