CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The ball floated off Greg Golson's bat and smacked off the left-field wall on the fly. Golson also floated -- well, maybe glided -- into second base, showing the speed that is one of his more notable attributes. He has four other tools: a strong arm, power, the ability to hit for average and range in the outfield. Maybe, four years after being selected in the first round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, Golson is putting everything together.
"When I watch him, I see he's learning how to hit and learning what kind of hitter he is," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He needs to concentrate on hitting. That's the first rule of thumb, going up there to hit. If you get a ball to hit, you hit it." Manuel theorizes that this mentality has helped contribute to a more authoritative swing from the 22-year-old, who has a double and a home run among his hits this spring. Though it's a small sample, keep in mind that Golson has fanned just once in 10 at-bats, an improvement considering that he fanned 173 times in 571 at-bats split between high Class A Clearwater and Double-A Reading last season. A year earlier he fanned 160 times in 133 games. A sharp reduction in those totals would be ideal for the native of Austin, Texas. "There were some things that stuck out about last year, the high strikeouts and low walks," Golson said. "Mainly, I want to have a solid year where there's not one thing that's glaring." Golsen is ticketed for Reading, where he hit .242 in 153 at-bats last season, with 49 strikeouts. His defense has already impressed the organization, so his bat must catch up. Manuel suggested that Golson could thrive hitting lower in the batting order as opposed to leadoff, where he was more concerned with working counts than finding a good pitch to hit. "If you put him in a place where he's comfortable and he can concentrate on hitting the ball instead of taking a 3-1 fastball or some other things that a leadoff hitter might do, he can do well," Manuel said. "Say, in the sixth or seventh hole. You can always move him up." On the pine: Thus far there are no significant injuries. Names in the game: Razor Shines, who played in 68 games over parts of four seasons, has joined the Phillies to manage the Class A Clearwater Threshers. He spent the past eight seasons with the White Sox at the Major League and Minor League levels. On the move: Catcher Jason Jaramillo is an injury to Carlos Ruiz or Chris Coste away from making his Major League debut. The 25-year-old switch-hitter made impressive strides at the plate with Triple-A Ottawa, hitting .271. The organization would like to see improvement over the six homers he hit, but they like his catching and game-calling ability. Class of '07: Catcher Travis D'Arnaud batted .241 for the Gulf Coast Phillies last season, his first in the organization after being the 37th overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.