Floyd cherishes his restart in race

NL notebook

Baseball Week

September 18, 2005

Philadelphia Phillies rookie pitcher Gavin Floyd stood in the middle of the Citizens Bank Park home clubhouse last week and searched for the right phrase to describe his 2005 season.

Utter disappointment would fit. How about complete frustration? Or total bewilderment?

The 2001 Mount St. Joseph graduate cleared his throat and came up with this: "A learning experience. I think it has only made me stronger as an individual, physically and mentally."

It all started out so promising for the 22-year-old right-hander with the low-90s fastball and the head-shaking curve. After winning his only two big league decisions last September, the fourth overall pick in the 2001 draft made the Phillies out of spring training this season.

Floyd dominated the St. Louis Cardinals in his first start, but struggled against the Atlanta Braves in his next. He was sent to the bullpen, bashed twice more and then demoted to Triple-A before the end of April.

"I was probably at a low confidence-wise when I came down to Triple-A and I was willing to listen to everybody," he said. "Everything snowballed from there, trying different things. That doesn't work, this doesn't work, that doesn't work."

His numbers at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre were ugly. In 24 games, he had a 6-9 record and a 6.16 ERA. He figured his season would end in the minors, but the Phillies, in the middle of a wild-card race, needed a spot starter and called on him.

"I was very surprised," he said. "I don't think statistically I deserved to be up here, but work ethic and how much I have put effort into it, yeah, I think I deserve to be up here."

He allowed three runs in six innings in his first game against the Washington Nationals, and started again Tuesday against the Braves. He retired nine of the first 10 batters, but gave up four runs in the fifth in a no-decision.

The Phillies eventually won the game, and manager Charlie Manuel praised Floyd for his poise. The moment wasn't lost on the grounded Floyd.

"It's been a long road this season and I have learned so much it has been ridiculous," he said. "Just to have a chance to be back up here and to start fresh and just to be with these guys and help them out and be part of this team is awesome."

A good break?

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder J.D. Drew, who has been on the disabled list since breaking his left wrist July 3, is having surgery - on his right wrist and right shoulder. Surgery on the left wrist may not come for a month or at all.

The often-injured Drew, who signed a five-year, $55 million contract last offseason, has had discomfort in the right wrist and shoulder for years and knew they'd both eventually need arthroscopic surgery.

Since his left wrist was taking longer to heal than expected, he figured he'd take care of the other injuries now.

Quick hits

It has been more than three months since the Cardinals lost a game started by Chris Carpenter. ... Barry Bonds' first at-bat this season lasted 11 pitches. ... Atlanta's Andruw Jones has broken the franchise's single-season home run record. Now he has his sights set on Eddie Mathews' RBI record (135) set in 1953.

League notebooks are compiled from interviews, wire services and reports from other newspapers.

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