Phillies prospects are optimistic

Prospects optimistic about making Phils

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Chris Coste and Shawn Garrett live on rookie/non-roster invitee row in the Phillies clubhouse, away from the established veterans and top prospects.

They've played in a combined 17 cities and towns, and none with a Major League address. Garrett's lists of towns reads: Idaho Falls, Ft. Wayne, Lake Elsinore, Lynchburg, Altoona, Tulsa, Colorado Springs and Sacramento; while Coste's reads: Brandon, Fargo, Akron, Buffalo, Pawtucket, Indianapolis and Scranton.

Both entered Spring Training knowing their place on the organizational depth chart, but that doesn't mean they won't try to make the most of their opportunity.

"I feel like I have to be [optimistic]," said Garrett. "I've done everything I can to put myself in this situation. Part of the reason of me signing here was knowing that I have an opportunity -- and I haven't felt that in other places."

Garrett, 27, homered for the second time in four games on Wednesday, sending a Justin Miller pitch out of Bright House Networks Field, literally. It was reminiscent of the ball Ryan Howard hit on Friday against the Yankees.

"I don't think I have that one in me," Garrett said. "That's about as good as I got right there."

The switch-hitter is giving it his all this spring, as he tries for the carrot that is the job of power-hitting outfielder off the bench. He tries not to think about the scenarios which have him making his Major League debut. His family does that for him.

"I've been pretty well informed of that by my family and friends who have been scouring the Internet," Garrett said.

Coste's situation is more complex. The 33-year-old journeyman has never worn a Major League uniform, but he has kept his dream alive with productive early spring performances. The right-handed-hitting Coste is 5-for-10 with a home run.

Even though manager Charlie Manuel is familiar with his offensive abilities, Coste understands the numbers game better than anyone.

As a first/third baseman, he's in the back of the line behind Alex Gonzalez, Abraham Nunez, Tomas Perez and Matt Kata. That's why Coste was excited when he saw his name in the starting lineup -- at catcher.

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"When I walked in here [Wednesday], this is how it went," he said. "I walked up to the lineup card to look under the reserves. Usually, I'm the first reserve on the right-handed side, because I'm a [catcher]. I didn't see it there. Maybe they put me in the left-handers. No. Switch-hitters? No. Pitchers? No. Then I saw my name in the lineup, and I thought they were giving Ryan Howard a day off, then I saw a '2' next to it, and I was really surprised. I was hoping they would give me a chance to catch a little bit more."

Coste describes himself as a catcher first, and he hopes other teams can see him that way. While he hasn't logged too many innings behind the plate in the Minors, he caught exclusively in winter ball over the past four years.

It's the only chance he has.

"People see me as a position player who can catch, when I'm a catcher that can play other positions," Coste said. "That's a huge difference, and what I've been trying to get people to see since I was 23 years old. I think I'm getting to catch because I've been hitting pretty well and they want to see if I can handle it. There are plenty of first/third baseman to go around. If I don't at least show the catching, there's no place for me."

There's almost certainly no place for both on the roster, but that hasn't stopped them from pulling for each other.

"We root for each other," said Garrett. "I look at guys like that with experience, if the timing is right and things fall into place, they'll make the most of their opportunity. It's inspirational for me to see those guys do well."

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