String training is in full swing. The Phillies reverted back to using just two fields for PFPs with the result being a lot of standing around by the pitchers after loosening up throwing their long toss. Other drills are more fast-paced. The best so far have been the “live” batting practice sessions.
Usually, batters just stood there and provided a target for 20-25 pitches and hacked away a couple times during the end of the session. The Phillies young prospects are getting good swings all through the sessions. Earlier I reported that Dylan Cozens made some good contact off LHP Sean Burnett and laid off some low and away offerings. This morning, Andrew Knapp took Jeremy Hellickson yard, left-handed, to his pull-side on the fifth or sixth pitch he saw.
Our discussions on our side of the fence have centered on two topics –
- with the acquisition of Saunders and Kendrick, what will the outfields look like at AAA and AA (and who gets squeezed out of the organization), and
- what will the rotations look like as deserving young prospects force their way into Lakewood and Clearwater with no room above AAA (who goes to the ‘pen and who just goes).
A secondary discussion (with much less dramatic discussion) has to do with the placement of catchers, but most expect the FA pickups to request their release when their contracts allow with Rupp/Knapp in Philadelphia, Alfaro/Moore in Lehigh Valley, Numata/Fisher in Reading, and Bossart/Grullon in Clearwater.
Here’s the open discussion thread for Phillies’ talk and other topics.
Key dates remaining during the off season:
- 2/23 – Phillies’ spring training game v. University of Tampa.
- 2/24 – Grapefruit League games begin. Schedule here.
- 3/6-22 – World Baseball Classic.
- 4/2-3 – Opening Night/Opening Day.
The new CBA hasn’t been made available yet, but one change so far has been that the 60-Day Disabled List can be used from the first day of spring training. During the previous agreement, the “60” wasn’t available until the end of spring training. The Phillies haven’t had to use it yet, but the Rangers put former Phillies reliever Jake Diekman on their “60” on the first day of pitchers and catchers. He is recovering from colon surgery.
- Baseball America reported that between February 4th and 10th the Phillies signed FA RHP David Whitehead who was released by the Pirates organization back in December. The transaction hasn’t appeared in any of the Phillies transaction lists, nor has MiLB updated his status from “Released”. I’ll wait for confirmation.
- Otherwise, the organization rosters are up to date.