10 candidates who could replace Pete Mackanin as Phillies manager

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10 candidates who could replace Pete Mackanin as Phillies manager

With Pete Mackanin out as Phillies manager, here's a look at 10 candidates who could potentially fill the job. These are in no particular order.

Dusty Wathan
Wathan managed pretty much all of the Phillies' young players at Double A and Triple A and could serve as the steward of this youth movement. He was the manager of the year at Double A Reading in 2015, where he eventually became the winningest manager in team history. 

He took over as manager at Triple A this season with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and has joined the Phillies' staff in the big leagues this September. 

Brad Ausmus
Like Phillies GM Matt Klentak, Ausmus (Dartmouth) has an Ivy League background. Ausmus managed the Tigers from 2014-17, compiling a record of 313-330. The Tigers won 90, 74 and 86 games in his first three seasons before tearing it down this season. 

Ausmus, 48, fits the mold of the young, good-looking manager (much more on that here) that major-league teams are hiring these days as the face of their franchise.

Joe McEwing
A Bristol, Pa. native and former big-league utilityman, McEwing is considered a managerial prospect. He spent 2012-16 as the White Sox third base coach and was their bench coach this season. 

Buck Showalter
Not an interview goes by where Phillies president Andy MacPhail doesn't mention his respect for Showalter. The two shared some history in the Baltimore Orioles' organization. 

The Phillies have plenty of Orioles roots in their front office with MacPhail, Klentak and assistant GM Ned Rice.

Showalter currently manages the Orioles and is under contract through the end of 2018. 

David Ross
Ross has joined the broadcasting world in his first year of retirement after winning a World Series with the Cubs. He's been a fan favorite and leader at every stop, and he too fits the mold of young, recently retired former player that teams are going after as managers.

Ross is regarded as a great communicator and could be an interesting out-of-the-box consideration.

Mark McGwire
Another outside-the-box candidate, McGwire has paid his dues in recent years on the coaching staffs of the Dodgers and Padres.

Controversy obviously followed McGwire in his final days as a player but he showed some character by coming clean when many players did not. He's got presence, he's a good baseball man and he's someone the Phillies' young hitters could relate to and truly respect.

Ruben Amaro Jr.
He just won a division as part of the Red Sox coaching staff, and he made it clear when he signed on to be their first base coach that he had desires to manage someday. He will get his chance eventually ... though it probably won't be here just a few years after he was replaced as GM.

Juan Samuel
Samuel is on the Phillies' coaching staff, which could look completely different in 2018. He was one of only two men to receive an interview the last time the Phillies had a managerial opening (Mackanin was the other). Samuel has a long history with MacPhail and has been a key mentor to the Phillies' large group of young Hispanic players.

Jorge Velandia
A former MLB utilityman who has worked on and off the field in the Phillies' system. He's the GM for La Guaira in the Venezuelan Winter League and is a key individual in the Phillies' Latin American development.

Dave Martinez
A popular name lately whenever a managerial opening arises, Martinez has had success as Joe Maddon's bench coach with both the Rays and Cubs, two analytically-inclined organizations.

Ron Gardenhire will be a name you'll hear around these parts this fall, but it's hard to envision the Phillies going the route of a traditional, older, experienced manager given their front office, their priorities and the recent developments around baseball.

Joey Cora is another managerial prospect to keep in mind. He spent this season as the Pirates' third-base coach.

Tim Bogar is another name to consider and another managerial prospect often mentioned when teams have a vacancy. He's currently the Seattle Mariners' bench coach and he also has experience as a minor-league manager, a major-league interim manager (2014 Rangers) and a front-offie executive.

Brushbacks, hit batsmen, ejections in Phils' spring training game

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Brushbacks, hit batsmen, ejections in Phils' spring training game


CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies bring extra pitchers over from the minor-league complex for bullpen depth every game in spring training. For the pitchers, it’s a nice little recognition of a job well done. They often don’t get in the game, but they get to put on a big-league uniform and put a day’s worth of big-league meal money in their pocket.
Parker Frazier got even more than that on Thursday. He not only got in the game. He got ejected.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in a spring training game,” Frazier said with a laugh afterward. “I’ll take the first for something.”

Home plate umpire Tom Hallion gave Frazier the boot for hitting Detroit’s Derek Hill with a pitch in the eighth inning of a 6-2 loss. Frazier hit Hill with an off-speed pitch, so it clearly was not intentional. But Hallion had already issued warnings to both benches after Zach Eflin had hit Jose Iglesias and Detroit’s Matthew Boyd came in close twice against Odubel Herrera. In addition to Frazier, Hallion also ejected Phillies reliever Pedro Beato for hitting a batter in the ninth. Manager Gabe Kapler and bench coach Rob Thomson were ejected with Frazier and Beato, respectively.

It made for a crazy scene, especially in a spring training game.

Herrera believed that Boyd intentionally threw at him as retaliation for Iglesias getting hit. Boyd at first threw over Herrera’s head as Herrera tried to call timeout. He then came inside on Herrera. Herrera sidestepped the pitch and took first with a walk.

“He can’t hit me,” a defiant Herrera said afterward. “I’m too quick.”

Frazier definitely wasn’t trying to hit Hill, not with a slider.

“It was a slider that didn’t slide,” he joked.

Frazier is the 29-year-old son of former big-league pitcher George Frazier. He’s a career minor leaguer who has been in pro ball since 2007 and pitched in the Rockies, Reds, White Sox, A’s and Diamondbacks organizations. He pitched the last three seasons in independent ball and is in Phillies camp for the first time.

Frazier’s fiancee and future in-laws were in from Oklahoma for the game. They expected to see him pitch at the minor-league complex, but instead got to see him experience an eventful day in big-league camp.

After being ejected, Frazier returned to the clubhouse. A text from his fiancee awaited him.

“They wanted to know what happened,” he said. “I told them accidental hit pitch.”

Kapler wouldn't discuss what he said to Hallion after Frazier's ejection. He said he would respect the umpire's decision because those are the rules.

But Kapler made it clear that he didn’t believe his pitchers were trying to hit anyone.

“We have a minor leaguer in the game and he’s just trying to make a good impression,” Kapler said. “He threw a slider that backed up and hit somebody. Beato is also trying to make a club and make a good impression. There’s no reason to not throw strikes. Balls will get away. It’s part of the game.”

Arrieta comes out strong, but Kapler remains vague on timetable

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Arrieta comes out strong, but Kapler remains vague on timetable

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Ever since Jake Arrieta flew into town on Air Middleton and raised expectations for 2018, Phillies officials have said they would take a methodical approach with getting him ready for the regular season.

The Phils followed that plan in holding Arrieta to two innings and 31 pitches in the right-hander’s hotly anticipated spring debut against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday.

“We had a very specific pitch count in mind and we feel like we executed the innings and the pitch count to a T,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “We did not want to push the envelope at all. There’s no reason to. We’re focused on the long view.”

Arrieta struck out the first two batters of the game then allowed a solo home run to two-time American League MVP Miguel Cabrera, a double, a single and another run over the balance of his outing. He had hoped to go three innings, but understands the team’s plan.

“I'm on board with what these guys intend to do,” said the 32-year-old pitcher, who signed a three-year, $75 million contract with the Phils last week. “I know they have my health and the team's success over the long haul in mind. That's the most important thing moving forward.”

Kapler liked what he saw from Arrieta.

“It was a real positive outing,” he said. “We wanted to see health and strength. We saw both of those things and he threw strikes.”

Twenty-two of Arrieta’s 31 pitches were strikes.

Arrieta’s arm strength was impressive. He touched 95 mph on the stadium radar gun. He also threw several fastballs that registered 94. His fastball velocity had been a concern as it dropped from 94.9 mph in his Cy Young season of 2015 to 92.6 mph last season, according to PITCHf/x data.

“My timing and my delivery were nice,” Arrieta said. “The ball was coming out of my hand good. Even though I'm not particularly worried about velocity, the velocity was nice today. Sinking fastball was really good. I threw some good curveballs. The cutter wasn't necessarily great, along with the changeup. But those will come with repetition.”

Arrieta said he had “a ton of nervous energy” before the start.

“Now that it's over, I take a deep breath and I remember what it feels like to be in a game situation,” he said. “Umpires, crowd. It felt great. I'm healthy. The ball is coming out good. To get the first one out of the way — even though it is a little bit later — it's a good sign.”

Kapler continued to play things close to the vest with Arrieta’s timetable. What is clear, however, is that Arrieta will get one more start in Florida before camp breaks on Tuesday. He could build to around 50 pitches in that one and be ready to start in New York on April 2, 3 or 4. If the Phils decide that Arrieta needs two more outings to prepare for the regular season, he could debut on April 7 at home against Miami. Either way, he lines up to make 30-plus starts.