Thursday, the Phillies stomped the Braves in two minor league games at the Complex. Mike Micucci’s Group Three team won 8-1, I think. Pat Borders’ Group Four team shut out the Braves, 3-0.
The opening battery for Group three was Hector Neris and Rob Brantly. So, even though Jake Holmes (LF), Jonathan Guzman (SS), and Luis Garcia (2B) were in the line up, I ambled over to Ashnurn Field to watch Victor Santos pitch to Logan O’Hoppe.
Santos pitched well in his three innings. He retired the side in order in the first inning. The lead off batter in the second inning topped a ball toward third. An errant and unwise throw gave the batter second base on the single and error. A ground out to short kept the runner on second. Corbin Williams made a diving catch coming in on a sinking line drive for the second out. The runner was unable to move up again. He was finally retired on an interference call when he ran over our third baseman on a ground ball to third. Santos got two quick outs in the third before giving up a triple. A ground ball to short ended the inning.
Santos went 3.0 innings, allowed 2 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, and struck out two. His fastball sat 91-93 mph.
Jhordany Mezquita pitched the middle three innings. He retired the Braves in order in the fourth and sixth innings. In the fifth inning he gave up a hustle double with one out. The runner stole third and the next batter walked. Mezquita struck out the final two batters.
Mezquita went 3.0 innings, allowed one hit, 0 runs, 1 walk, and struck out four. His fastball sat 92-94 mph.
Three relievers mopped up after that. Mark Potter induced two fly balls and got the third out in the seventh inning on a rising fastball. Ethan Evanko got a ground ball to short then two strike outs to end the eighth inning. Tyler Carr opened the ninth inning with a strike out, induced a come backer to the mound, and a game ending ground out to second.
The final 14 Braves’ batters were retired in order.
The Phillies’ offensive damage was all accomplished in the second inning. Carlos De La Cruz led off with a line drive single to left. Jose Mercado sacrificed him to second and reached base himself when the pitcher’s throw pulled the fielder off first base. Logan O’Hoppe brought both runners home with a double down the left field line.
The Phillies were kept off the board until the bottom of the ninth when Corbin Williams walked with one out and scored on Yerwin Trejo’s triple to the right center field gap. Yes, we play the bottom of the ninth when leading if the visitors want to get a pitcher some work. Spring training baseball.
There wasn’t a whole lot of other action. Both teams pitched well. Our pitchers gave up just 3 hits and a walk. Our batters collected six hits, 2 walks, and a hit batter. In addition to those mentioned above, Trejo beat out an infield single in the first, Litton walked in the fifth, Williams was it by a pitch in the sixth, Mitchell Edwards lined a single to center in the seventh, O’Hoppe singled to center in the eighth.
Other items of note –
- D.J. Stewart was removed from the game after his collision with a Braves’ runner in the second inning. The runner was ruled out on interference. Stewart remained on the ground for a few seconds, then got up and jogged between the bases. The play was the last out of the inning, and he did not return to the field. His position was taken by Curtis Mead. I saw Stewart walking around smiling. I believe he was removed as a precaution.
- Juan Aparicio entered the game as a replacement for Connor Litton at first base. Aparicio was a Post Season All Star in the GCL last season … as a catcher.
- We could hear the roar from Spectrum Field when Harper hit his first inning HR.
- I don’t know if I mentioned this earlier, but Jose Pujols is on crutches. He is bandaged from below his left knee to his toes. It is not a cast or soft cast. Just an ace bandage with gauze showing through around his ankle. He says he’s okay, that it is a little injury, and that he will be back soon. Hope so.
- Jose Jimenez had what appeared to be knee surgery back in January. He’s off crutches and his bandages have been reduced to an ace bandage around the knee.
- In case you missed the assignments in the Group Three game, that was Luis Garcia at second base, Jonathan Guzman at shortstop, and Jake Holmes in left field. Adam Morgan followed Neris.
- It’s really cool to see the coaches talking to the players between innings. After the game, I saw Coach Hector Berrios instructing Ben Brown in the bullpen between Ashburn and Schmidt Fields. It appeared he was working on release point with respect to shoulders and hips. Berrios can sometimes find a couple more mph of velocity for a pitcher’s fastball. We’ll see.
Yesterday, the Phillies released LHPs Edward Paredes and Jeremy Bleich, INFs Trevor Plouffe and Gregorio Petit, and optioned RHP Drew Anderson and LHP James Pazos to Lehigh Valley.
Today, the Phillies optioned OF Dylan Cozens to Lehigh Valley, and reassigned OF Adam Haseley to minor-league camp. They informed OFs Shane Robinson and Lane Adams, and INFs Phil Gosselin, Gift Ngoepe, and Matt McBride that they will be reassigned to the minors on Tuesday.
After today’s game, the Phillies granted C Drew Butera and INF Andrew Romine their unconditional release.
That leaves 34 players in the major league camp – eighteen 40-man roster pitchers plus NRI Josh Martin, two 40-man roster catchers plus NRI Rob Brantly, five 40-man roster infielders plus NRI Sean Rodriguez, and six 40-man roster outfielders.
There are 184 players in the minor league camp (189 Tuesday if no more releases occur) – 105 pitchers, 19 catchers, 37 (40) infielders, and 23 (25) outfielders.
Well, that’s all until tomorrow.