Tag Archives: Spring Training

First two home runs from Bryce Harper lead Phillies to spring romp

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Bryce Harper homers twice in Grapefruit League victory

It has happened 184 times over his first seven regular seasons in Major League Baseball and another five times in the postseason. There were even a few launched during spring training. But all of those happened in another uniform.

This afternoon for the first time as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, Bryce Harper enjoyed the feeling of blasting a home run. In fact, he enjoyed it so much that he decided to do it again, crushing a sixth-inning blast as well.
The first came during his first plate appearance of the afternoon at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida with one out and Andrew McCutchen at first base.
As Harper walked to the plate in the bottom of the 1st inning, Phillies announcer Ben Davis told his broadcasting partner Gregg Murphy that “he is a tick away” and noted that Harper had “a few really, really good swings yesterday” in one of the more prescient calls of the former catcher’s career as a color analyst.
Harper wasted little time. Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Sam Gaviglio tried to groove an 88 mph fastball for strike one, and the Phillies right fielder unloaded, ripping the ball out and over the right field wall.
The home crowd roared and rose to their feet as the ball sailed out. They remained on their feet as Harper rounded the bases for the first time as a member of the ball club that he will call his baseball home for the rest of his career.
After celebrating with a high-five at home plate with McCutchen, Harper trotted back to the home dugout and acknowledged the roaring fans behind home plate with a wave.
Harper’s blast touched off a massive Phillies power display on the day which would result in a 13-6 victory. In addition to Harper’s pair, other Phillies long balls on the day came off the bats of McCutchen, Gift Ngoepe, and one from each of the club’s two catchers, J.T. Realmuto and Andrew Knapp.
In the bottom of the 6th, young left-hander Thomas Pannone backed Harper off the plate with a 1-1 curve ball. Undeterred, Harper stepped right back in and crushed a 91 mph fastball way out over the back fence in right-center field.

It was a week ago tomorrow against these same Toronto Blue Jays that a fastball to the ankle had everyone fearing for Harper’s season. One week from today the Phillies will open that 2019 regular season at Citizens Bank Park against the Atlanta Braves. I think we can say after today’s performance that Harper will be there and will be ready to go.
Originally published at Phillies Nation as Bryce Harper rips first home runs in a Philadelphia Phillies uniform

Phillies add Rhys Hoskins to spring injuries list

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Rhys Hoskins and Roman Quinn both battling spring injuries

The Philadelphia Phillies are scheduled to begin a highly-anticipated 2019 regular season one week from tomorrow. Including the Wednesday afternoon game in Clearwater against the Detroit Tigers there are just six game dates remaining on the Grapefruit League schedule. Two of those will be split-squad affairs.

Opportunities for the players to experience game conditions prior to Opening Day are dwindling quickly. With that in mind there are a number of Phillies players still battling injury issues which will hinder their ability to participate.
Scott Lauber of Philly.com noted this morning that first baseman Rhys Hoskins is suffering from a sore shoulder. He is being held out of game action at least through Friday, but at this point it is believed that he will be in the lineup against the Atlanta Braves on March 28 at Citizens Bank Park. He still hopes to be able to play in a couple of spring training games before then.
Lauber further noted that the Phillies would move starting third baseman Maikel Franco over to first base on Friday, and that Franco would cover the position if a longer term need were to arise. The Phillies would play Scott Kingery at the hot corner in such a scenario.
Jerad Eickhoff has returned to the mound following off-season carpal tunnel surgery. He should start at Triple-A. (D. Benjamin Miller/WikiCommons)
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported on Tuesday that both Roman Quinn and Tommy Hunter would likely open the season on the Injured List. Quinn suffered an oblique strain back in late February and has appeared in just one game down in Florida. Hunter was shut down at around the same time with a strain in the flexor muscle of his right pitching arm.
Also on the mound, Jerad Eickhoff underwent carpal tunnel syndrome surgery back in October. The right-hander had experienced some recurring symptoms in January which slowed his entry to spring games.

Eickhoff has now made two starts and is on track to open the season as part of the Triple-A Lehigh Valley starting rotation. As long as he remains healthy, he would likely be the first pitcher to be re-called should a need arise in the Phillies rotation.

Bryce Harper returned to the lineup as the Designated Hitter during Sunday’s game against the New York Yankees. This was following the ugly incident in which he took a fastball directly off the ankle last Friday. Thankfully, x-rays were negative. He did not make the trip east to begin this week, but is back in right field on Wednesday and will be ready to go for Opening Day.

The Phillies got Odubel Herrera into a Grapefruit League lineup for the first time over this past weekend. He served as the DH on Saturday and then started in center field on both Sunday and Monday. Herrera had strained a hamstring during a mid-February baserunning drill.
Cesar Hernandez returned to the lineup late last week after being out since late February after suffering a right hip flexor strain while running the bases in an early spring game.
Hoskins is the one injury to really watch for over the next four-to-five days. He is a key piece to the Phillies offensive attack and the club would really like to get him back into the lineup for a couple of games before Opening Day.

Phillies have used 11 center fielders in this Graperfuit League season

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Adam Haseley has seen center field action this spring

The announced starting lineup for the Philadelphia Phillies for the Saturday afternoon March 16 game at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida against the visiting Houston Astros included 24-year-old Dylan Cozens in center field.

The start for Cozens is his second of spring training in center field, the last coming back on March 6 in Dunedin against the host Toronto Blue Jays.
For these tune-up games down in Florida the Phillies have utilized 11 different players at the crucial center field position. None of them has been named Odubel Herrera. The starter at the position for the last four years has been sidelined by injury. He will make his first start today, serving as the Designated Hitter.
Herrera had entered the spring in a head-to-head competition for the starting center field job with 25-year-old Roman Quinn. However, the speedy Quinn suffered yet another in a series of injuries which have repeatedly set his career back. He got to make just one start, in the Grapefruit League opener against the Tampa Bay Rays.
With both Herrera and Quinn out of commission the Phillies have leaned heavily on three players. Aaron Altherr has received nine starts in center and is the only player to start out there on back-to-back days, having done so on both February 27th and 28th.
The other two players who have seen stead action in center field are a pair of prospects. 22-year-old Adam Haseley has made four starts and come on as a substitute in three others. 20-year-old Mickey Moniak made one start and came on as a sub a half-dozen times.
Haseley is one of just two who have played a full game in center field all spring. He did so for the split-squad game on the road against the Detroit Tigers on March 7.
The other player to go a full game in center was Lane Adams. The 29-year-old who has three years of big-league experience is here as a non-roster invitee. He also played a full split-squad road game, that one on March 14 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. That was Adams lone start. He has also appeared in three more games out in center as a substitute.

McCutchen was a center field fixture and former Gold Glover with Pittsburgh but did not play the position at all in 2018. (TonyTheTiger/WikiCommons)
Andrew McCutchen (2) and Scott Kingery (3) have made the remaining starts out in center field thus far for the Phillies. Veteran non-roster invitee Shane Robinson has come on as a substitute three times while prospects Matt Vierling and Simon Muzziotti have done so twice each.
Quinn began running again this past week as he begins to recover from an oblique strain. The Phillies are likely to be cautious with him. You can probably expect that Quinn will begin the season on the Injured List or at extended spring training.
Assuming that Herrera has no setbacks in his recovery from a hamstring strain, he is likely to begin seeing the bulk of the starts in center field in preparation for the March 28 regular season opener. As long as he can continue to get regular plate appearances from this point, fans should expect to see him on Opening Day.
The injuries to Herrera and Quinn combined with Friday’s loss, at least temporarily, of right fielder Bryce Harper are opening up playing time opportunities others. Altherr, Kingery and Cozens would likely become the primary options if any or all of those injuries linger into or re-surface during the early parts of the regular season.
Fans have wondered about giving Nick Williams, who made 16 appearances back in 2017 out in center field, some of the playing time there. Phillies coaches have evaluated Williams now for more than three years, and the decision has been made that he is not an acceptable option at the position. Perhaps that would change in an absolute emergency where multiple others were injured, but for now he will remain as only a corner outfielder.
Harper has played 184 games during his career in center field, 63 of those just last year. He is certainly athletic enough to slide over in an emergency as well but is already on record as saying that right field is by far his best and most comfortable position. Early last week, Harper was quoted by Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia:
“I know I was terrible last year in center field. I feel like if I can stay out of center field, that’d be great. Wherever they need me to play, I’ll play, whether it’s center or left. But for me, leg-wise, keeping my legs and body fresh, right field is hopefully gonna be the spot.”
McCutchen was a Gold Glove Award winning center fielder during his younger NL MVP years in Pittsburgh. However, he did not play in center at all last season. He is another who could do it in a pinch for a short time, but the Phillies signed him to be their everyday left fielder.
Todd Zolecki of MLB.com quoted Kapler on his outfield situation following the Harper signing:
Assuming everybody was healthy, the expectation would be that Quinn and Altherr and Nick Williams would start on our roster, but that may not be possible given the current construction and the addition of Harper. It’s kind of a wait-and-see thing at this point.
That “wait-and-see” has been particularly true in center field Herrera returns now and Quinn will eventually rehab and recover. Those two are still likely to see the bulk of time for the Phillies in the coming season with Altherr as a primary backup option.
The thought that either Haseley or Moniak will ultimately reach or exceed their potential and one day develop into the long-term starting center fielder may be the current long-term Plan A. The unspoken ‘Plan B’ could involve a man from Millville, New Jersey who currently plays on the west coast.

Ankle injury to Bryce Harper appears minor; x-rays come back negative

Harper was drilled in ankle during Friday’s game
Fans all across Phillies Nation are breathing a massive sigh of relief this morning. Per numerous reports, all x-rays on Bryce Harper’s right ankle have come back negative.
The 26-year-old superstar is officially being listed as day-to-day. However, Harper will miss Saturday’s game in Clearwater against the Houston Astros. His scheduled participation in Sunday’s game against the New York Yankees also has to be considered questionable at this point.
Harper was injured when he was drilled by a 96 mph fastball from Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Trent Thornton with two outs in the bottom of the 6th inning at Spectrum Field in Clearwater.
Harper would ideally like to get between 40-50 plate appearances during Grapefruit League action in order to be fully ready to open the regular season. However, that is going to now become nearly impossible.
To date, Harper has accumulated just nine plate appearances over parts of four games. Still looking for his first hit in a Phillies uniform, he is 0-5 with three walks and the hit-by-pitch, two runs scored, and a stolen base to this point.
Originally scheduled to play in all three games this weekend, there is now the very real chance that Friday will be the only one in which he participates.
The Phillies are scheduled to cross the state of Florida for a pair of games on Monday and Tuesday against the Cardinals and Astros. That was a trip that Harper was not likely to make prior to this incident. He is still unlikely to travel with the team for those games.
Bottom line, we may not see Harper play again until Wednesday afternoon back in Clearwater against the Detroit Tigers. If that proves true it would mean he will see no more than six more games. Even if he is able to play in all of those and averages three plate appearances in each, he would end spring training with roughly 30 plate appearances in game action.

All X rays on Bryce Harper are negative. He will not play today as precaution. He is day to day.

439 people are talking about this

Per Meghan Montemurro of The Athletic, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler stated “I don’t have concerns about him not being ready for Opening Day.

If we can assume that Harper is indeed okay and will be able to play by the middle of next week, and that he would then see mostly regular game action over the final week of Grapefruit League play, then he should indeed be in the Phillies lineup for Opening Day on March 28th at Citizens Bank Park against the Atlanta Braves. How “ready” he will be is debatable.

Phillies expect both Odubel Herrera and Cesar Hernandez back from injury

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Herrera has missed all of 2019 Grapefruit League action to date

For most of the first three weeks of spring training the Philadelphia Phillies have been missing two players who have been starters for the last few rebuilding years. Both players were projected to be in the Opening Day starting lineup once again this season.

It now appears as if both second baseman Cesar Hernandez and center fielder Odubel Herrera will return over the next few days. The club expects that, assuming they are able to stay healthy from here on out, both players will be ready for the first regular season game of the 2019 season on March 28th at Citizens Bank Park.
Hernandez suffered a Grade 1 right hip flexor strain while running the bases on February 27 in a Grapefruit League game against the Minnesota Twins at Clearwater.
Exactly one week earlier, Herrera suffered a Grade 1 hamstring strain while going from first to third during a baserunning drill. The setback was particularly frustrating for the 27-year-old. Herrera had arrived in Florida weeks earlier than required in anticipation of a battle with Roman Quinn for the starting center field job.
The position was thrown into even more chaos when Quinn suffered a strained oblique on the same day that Hernandez went down. Quinn’s return will take a bit longer, the Phillies are reportedly going to take it slow with him.
That puts the likelihood of Quinn heading north to Philly at the end of March in serious jeopardy. It also virtually assures that, if healthy, Herrera will be the everyday starter in center field, at least to begin the season.

Both Hernandez and Herrera have a lot to prove this year. Each has been a starter for the team when there were few expectations. But now on what is expected to be a contender, both need to produce. Both players saw their home run and RBI numbers increase last year but saw across-the-board decreases in nearly every other category.
Hernandez is expected to return to second base for Thursday’s game at LECOM Park in Bradenton against the host Pittsburgh Pirates. Herrera is slotted for his first Grapefruit League action as the DH on Saturday when the Phillies host the Houston Astros back in Clearwater.