Smith wins Governor’s Cup with Mud Hens; Phillips continues sub role

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 20, 2005

From DHS graduate Jason Smith’s individual standpoint, coming off the bench for Detroit’s triple-A franchise wasn’t the way he would have liked to end the 2005 season. From a team standpoint, though, there might not have been any better way at all.

Although he went hitless in the best-of-five series, Smith made an appearance in all three games of the Toledo Mud Hens’ sweep of the Indianapolis Indians for the International League’s championship, the Governor’s Cup. The Mud Hens’ win gives them the Governor’s Cup for the first time since 1967.

Smith made little contribution to the Mud Hens’ victory at the plate, going a combined 0-5 in the series. But Smith did record an RBI in his only start, Game 1, when he ground out to force a run in and played an errorless series at first base. Coming off of his 0-4 performance, Smith came of the bench late in each of Toledo’s next two wins (including as a pinch-runner in Game 3) to provide defense at first base. Smith also went 0-1 in Game 3 as the Mud Hens clinched.

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For Demopolis Academy product Andy Phillips, he has maintained his role as New York Yankees’ manager Joe Torre’s defensive sub of choice at first base. Phillips saw action Sept. 13, 14, and 18, each time coming on for poor-fielding first baseman Jason Giambi. In the Sept. 13 game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Phillips came on as a pinch-runner for Giambi in the sixth inning and scored on a Hideki Matsui single, his Xxth run of the season for the Yankees.

Unfortunately Phillips failed to reach base in both his only at-bat against the Devil Rays and another plate appearance versus the Toronto Blue Jays after Giambi had left the game in the fourth inning with a pulled muscle. The two at-bats dropped Phillips’s Yankee average to .154 on the season. Since being sent to Columbus following his appearance against the Oakland A’s on May 7, Phillips has recorded only seven at-bats for the Yankees and has only one hit in that span.

Despite that, Phillips may still see action in the Major League postseason as the Yankees remain only a game and a half behind both the Red Sox for the American League East title and the Cleveland Indians for the AL Wild Card.