Desperate Phillies trade for new centerfielder

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Desperate Phillies trade for new centerfielder

From Comcast SportsNetPHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Phillies filled their biggest need right before the winter meetings ended, acquiring center fielder Ben Revere from the Minnesota Twins for right-handers Vance Worley and Trevor May on Thursday.The 24-year-old Revere is expected to be Philadelphia's answer in center. He batted .294 with 40 stolen bases in 124 games last season."Ben is an outstanding, young, controllable center fielder who fits nicely with our club," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.The Phillies were seeking an everyday center fielder after trading two-time All-Star Shane Victorino last July. They pursued free agents B.J. Upton and Angel Pagan before turning to the trade route. Upton left Tampa Bay for a 75 million, five-year deal with Atlanta. Pagan got a 40 million, four-year deal to stay in San Francisco.Michael Bourn and Josh Hamilton drew Philadelphia's interest. Both All-Stars are still free agents and expected to command significant contracts.Desperate to improve their pitching, the Twins have traded two center fielders in a week. They sent Denard Span to Washington for minor league right-hander Alex Meyer. Before acquiring Worley, left-hander Scott Diamond was Minnesota's only starter assured of a spot in the 2013 rotation.Darin Mastroianni is expected to get a chance to start in center for the Twins He hit .252 in 163 at-bats last season. Aaron Hicks, the team's first-round draft pick in 2008, could be the long-term solution. Hicks finished the season in Double-A, hitting .286 with 13 homers, 61 RBIs, 11 triples, 32 steals and a .384 on-base percentage in 129 games for the New Britain Rock Cats. Prospect Joe Benson also will be in the mix after an injury-ruined season in the minors."They had a lot of interest in a center fielder, and they had some pitching they were willing to give up," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said.Ryan acknowledged trading both Span and Revere was "a risk." But he said Benson, Hicks and Mastroianni are all "pure center fielders" who are capable of handling the defensive part of the job."We don't know quite yet about whether they're ready offensively, but we're going to find out," Ryan said.In many ways, Revere is a younger, cheaper version of Bourn, who was drafted by Philadelphia and traded to Houston for Brad Lidge before the 2008 season when the Phillies won the World Series.Both are speedy, small and left-handed hitters. Revere is listed at 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, two inches shorter and 10 pounds lighter than Bourn.Bourn had a .261 average, .325 on-base percentage, 61 extra-base hits and stole 102 bases in his first two full seasons -- both with the Astros. Revere had a .281 average, .322 on-base percentage, 33 extra-base hits and 74 steals in his first two full seasons. Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is bat control. Bourn struck out 251 times to only 100 for Revere.A former first-round pick by the Twins, Revere is a .278 career hitter with 64 RBIs in his two-plus seasons with Minnesota. He has zero home runs in the majors in 989 at-bats and only five in 2,573 professional at-bats.Revere hit .314 against left-handed pitchers last year, had 37 infield hits and six triples. His eight outfield assists led the Twins. Revere made 126 career starts in center field, 84 in right field and 19 in left field.Worley was 6-9 with a 4.20 ERA last year after going 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA as a rookie in 2011, helping the Phillies win their fifth straight NL East title. He had elbow surgery in September, but is expected to be ready for spring training.Worley became a fan favorite his first season in Philadelphia. He stood out as much for his quirky look -- he had a Mohawk haircut and wears glasses -- as he did for his strong performance on the mound that helped him finish third in NL Rookie of the Year voting.Worley had a 5.80 ERA in his last 11 starts before he went on the disabled list. The Phillies now will likely look for another starter in free agency or through a trade. They still have Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee as the top three. Kyle Kendrick and Tyler Cloyd finished last season in the rotation.May was 10-13 with a 4.87 ERA at Double-A Reading. He was Philadelphia's top prospect before his so-so season.The Phillies finished 81-81 in 2012, ending their string of postseason appearances at five. They still have to fill several needs, including another starting outfielder and a third baseman.

Shaughnessy: Everything Farrell does blows up in his face, particularly in 8th inning

Shaughnessy: Everything Farrell does blows up in his face, particularly in 8th inning

Dan Shaughnessy joins Sports Tonight to discuss Rick Porcello giving up a game-tying homerun in the 8th, and explains why John Farrell has been very unlucky with any decision he makes.

Belichick impressed by rookie Thuney's work at left guard

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Belichick impressed by rookie Thuney's work at left guard

FOXBORO -- Joe Thuney may not have won the starting left guard job officially, but Bill Belichick says he's on the right track. And for a rookie, that's feat in and of itself.

The third-round pick out of North Carolina State -- you may remember it as the Kevin-Faulk-in-the-No.-12-jersey selection -- has been the first-team left guard since the start of training camp, and he hasn't moved since. Thuney has occasionally taken snaps at center, and the Patriots have him learning multiple spots behind the scenes. But every time Nate Solder has run on to the field as the left tackle, Thuney has been there by his side at guard. 

Even going back to OTAs, held not long after he was drafted, Thuney was the top choice at that position. 

"Joe has done a good job with what we’ve given him," Belichick said. "There was a point where we felt comfortable making that, I’d say temporary move, It wasn’t permanent. But he has handled it well. I think he’s certainly moving towards being able to lock something down at some point. I don’t think we’re there yet, but I think he is certainly gaining on it. He has had a good preseason, had a good spring."

What once may have been deemed a temporary move back in the spring -- perhaps due to players like Shaq Mason, Tre' Jackson and Josh Kline dealing with injuries early in the offseason -- now seems like it should be a permanent one.

Thuney's run as the No. 1 left guard has been uninterrupted because his performance hasn't warranted a change. He's held his own against former first-round defensive tackle Malcom Brown in one-on-one practice drills, and he's been the highest-graded player on the Patriots offensive line through two preseason games, per Pro Football Focus. (The only players with higher grades on the team through two games are tight end AJ Derby and defensive end Trey Flowers.)

The man who went viral before the draft for his ability to solve a Rubik's cube in just over a minute has flashed an understanding of how quickly things move on the inside. Plus, playing under unretired offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, Thuney has been quick himself, both picking up pressures and working to the second level in the running game with aplomb.

Thuney will still have a preseason game or two to solidify his grasp on a starting role, but even for the brief period during which Mason and Kline were simultaneously healthy, Thuney was the choice on the left side of the interior offensive line. Now that Mason is dealing with what's been reported as a hand injury, Jackson remains on PUP, and Jonathan Cooper is still out after suffering a foot injury early in camp, the job seems like Thuney's to lose.

That Belichick even hinted Thuney is "gaining on it" is an indication of just how impressive he's been during his short time as a pro.