An up-close look at the club as we approach Opening Day
Drabek is ticketed for Class A Lakewood, assuming he wins a spot. He'll likely spend the season there or earn a promotion to Class A Clearwater. If he shows enough in camp, the Phillies might reward him with an appearance in a Grapefruit League game."He has the ability and the stuff to be a Lakewood guy right now," Noworyta said. "We're going to give him the opportunity to make that club. He's headed in the right direction." Like nearly all sons of Major Leaguers, Drabek had the benefit of growing up around a big-league clubhouse. Most of his memories involve joking around with Darryl Kile, Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, while Doug played for the Astros. Phillies hitting coach Milt Thompson was also briefly a teammate in Houston. "That's helped me a lot," Drabek said. "Players then taught me stuff that I still use. I talked to Darryl Kile a lot, Biggio -- those guys really helped me." Doug spends much more time on the golf course than on the baseball diamond these days -- save for helping out as a coach for the Chillicothe (Ohio) Paints, an independent league team that features Kyle's brother, Justin, at second base. Justin, by the way, has a tryout scheduled with the Phillies later this month. Still, Doug has plenty of time to talk pitching with his son, and the two watch tapes of some of dad's performances. "He's trying to teach me a few pitches, but I can't learn them," Drabek said. "He's trying to teach me a slider, but the way I'm throwing it, it's not working. I'll get it." Before Kyle left for Spring Training, father and son watched pop's near no-hitter against the Phillies on Aug. 3, 1990. The man who won 155 games in a 13-year career and earned the NL Cy Young Award that season, lost the bid when Sil Campusano laced a ninth-inning single. "We watched from the seventh inning on," said Kyle, who was 2 years old at the time. "He was trying to remember what he was throwing. I asked him what he was thinking in certain situations. It was great. He remembered a lot of it and explained a lot of things." There was another game in which Drabek faced the Mariners, and he surrendered an upper-deck homer to Ken Griffey Jr. "My dad threw him a changeup," Kyle said, laughing. "We rag on him for that." Kyle can only hope to avenge his father by retiring Griffey, even if it's in Grapefruit League action. Of course, he has a long way to go before that can happen, and guys like Moyer will help him keep perspective. "He's a great talent, with a lot of ability, and that will take him as far as he wants it to, but what he does in between will make him better," Moyer said. "I'm trying to keep an eye on him, and put myself in the situation when I was 23 or 24 in big-league camp, not 19. It's an eye-opening experience. Heck, I pitched against his daddy. "You want to see a kid progress and show him, 'We're all the same here,' whether you're 19 or 44, we're all trying to accomplish the same thing. We might as well do it together. You want him to be as comfortable as he can be. We're all here to make each other better."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.