Phillies

Best of MLB: Chad Bettis helps Rockies blank Braves in return from cancer treatment

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Best of MLB: Chad Bettis helps Rockies blank Braves in return from cancer treatment

DENVER -- Chad Bettis drew a standing ovation when he took the mound for the first time since cancer treatment, then threw seven impressive innings Monday night as the Colorado Rockies beat the Atlanta Braves 3-0.

Bettis scattered six hits, walked none and struck out two. He hadn't pitched in the majors since being diagnosed with testicular cancer in November.

Bettis had surgery for the condition, but tests in March showed the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes. He later underwent chemotherapy.

The crowd at Coors Field gave Bettis a big cheer as he went out to pitch the first inning. The Braves' best chance to score against him came when Ender Inciarte led off with a triple, but he was thrown out trying to stretch it to an inside-the-park home run.

The 28-year-old Bettis led Colorado in starts (32), wins (14) and innings (186) last season. He left for a pinch-hitter in the seventh with the game still scoreless.

Colorado scored three times in the eighth off Rex Brothers (2-3), who relieved starter Julio Teheran.

Mike Dunn (5-1) got the win and Greg Holland closed for his 35th save (see full recap).

Stanton sets Marlins’ HR record in win over Giants
MIAMI -- Giancarlo Stanton hit his team-record 43rd home run, connecting in his fifth straight game and sending the Miami Marlins over the San Francisco Giants 8-3 on Monday night.

Stanton broke the club mark of 42 homers set by Gary Sheffield in 1996. Stanton has homered 22 times in his last 34 games.

Stanton set another team record for most consecutive games with a home run when tagged Ty Blach (8-8) for a two-run drive in the first inning. The All-Star slugger later had an RBI single as Miami won its fourth in a row.

Marcell Ozuna also homered for the Marlins. Dee Gordon had three hits, scored twice, and drove in a run to help back Adam Conley (5-5), who allowed three runs in 6 1-3 innings (see full recap).

Homers help Yankees rally to beat rival Mets
NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge hit a tying home run in the sixth inning, Aaron Hicks and Gary Sanchez went deep in the eighth and the New York Yankees rallied to beat the Mets 4-2 Monday night in the first of four Subway Series matchups this week.

Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes homered in the third inning off Luis Cessa to give the Mets a 2-0 lead at Yankee Stadium.

Sanchez started the Yankees' comeback with a sacrifice fly in the fourth against Rafael Montero. Two innings later, Judge hit his AL-leading 36th home run -- just his sixth since the All-Star break. The ball was dropped in the right-center field bleachers by a fan wearing a Judge jersey.

Hicks, who returned last week from an oblique injury, homered against Hansel Robles (7-4) leading off the eighth, his career-best 12th homer. Sanchez homered two batters later against Erik Goeddel. With 20 homers, Sanchez matched his total in his rookie season last year (see full recap).

Phillies sign 3 to clear up arbitration cases

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Phillies sign 3 to clear up arbitration cases

Updated: 3:15 p.m.

The Phillies wrapped up all of their potential salary arbitration cases when they agreed to 2018 contracts with infielders Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco and relief pitcher Luis Garcia on Friday.

Earlier in the week, the team agreed on a contract with catcher Cameron Rupp.

Those were the club's only arbitration-eligible players.

Hernandez, a second-time arbitration-eligible player, will make $5.1 million in 2018, up from $2.55 million last season. 

Franco and Garcia were both eligible for salary arbitration for the first time.

Franco will make $2.95 million, up from $560,000 last season. The 25-year-old third baseman had a disappointing season in 2017, hitting just .230 with a .281 on-base percentage. He did hit a team-high 24 home runs.

Franco has great potential and club management will be looking for him to put it together in 2018. But even a strong season from Franco probably won't sway the club away from making a run at Manny Machado, who is scheduled to hit the free-agent market next winter.

Garcia, who turns 31 later this month, will make $1.2 million in 2018, up from $550,000 last year.

Back in October, new manager Gabe Kapler mentioned Garcia as a player who had caught his attention. Consistency had long eluded the hard-throwing right-hander but he found it in 2017 and had his best season. He added a splitter to his power fastball-slider mix and posted a 2.65 ERA in 66 games. He gave up just four earned runs in 22⅓ innings over his final 23 games, and three of those runs came in one outing.

Hernandez, the team's 27-year-old second baseman, has been one of the Phils' top players the last two seasons. He hit .294 and posted a .372 on-base percentage over that span.

The Phils are deep at second base and top prospect Scott Kingery is expected to be ready to arrive in the majors during the first half of the 2018 season. With Kingery coming, there is a chance the Phils could cash in on Hernandez's value and trade him for pitching sometime between now and Kingery's expected arrival.

Hernandez will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season.

Hernandez's former double-play mate, Freddy Galvis, was traded to San Diego in December. Rookie J.P. Crawford will move in at shortstop in 2018. Galvis settled his potential arbitration case with the Padres on Friday when he agreed to a one-year deal worth $6.825 million.

Rupp, who was eligible for arbitration for the first time, will make $2.05 million in 2018. He is one of three catchers on the 40-man roster along with Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp. Alfaro is out of minor-league options and will be given the chance to be the team's No. 1 catcher in April.

Phillies have arms (and names) coming

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Phillies have arms (and names) coming

The Phillies have a growing number of pitching prospects and along with good arms they have some colorful first names.

It might not be long before you hear Dan Baker shriek, "And tonight's starting pitcher is JoJo Romero."

Or maybe it will be Ranger Suarez getting the start (and the win) with a save going to Seranthony Dominguez.

And, of course, you've already heard about Sixto Sanchez. Who hasn't? The power-armed, strike-throwing 19-year-old phenom is one of the game's hottest prospects and a target of every general manager who tries to play Let's Make a Deal with Matt Klentak.

The Phillies are hosting their annual prospect education seminar this week at Citizens Bank Park and Romero, Suarez and Dominguez are all in town for the event. All three could be right back in Eastern Pennsylvania in April. They will all report to spring training in February with a chance to win a spot on the Double A Reading roster. Franklyn Kilome, another top pitching prospect in town this week, figures to open the season back in Reading, as well.

The Phillies went through the 2017 season without using a left-handed starting pitcher for the first time since 1918 and don't project to open the new season with one — unless Klentak, who is actively looking to add a pitcher, brings in a lefty before then.

Not too far down the road, if all continues to go well in the development process, the Phillies will have some choices from the left side. Cole Irvin, another prospect in town this week, could be ready for the Triple A rotation in April. The University of Oregon product, who will turn 24 later this month, is a lefty. And behind him is the lefty duo of Romero and Suarez.

Romero, 21, is a native of Oxnard, California. He pitched at the University of Nevada as a freshman and moved on to Yavapai College (Curt Schilling and Ken Giles are products of that program) in Arizona for his sophomore season in 2016. He was drafted by the Phillies in the fourth round that year. In his first full season of pro ball in 2017, Romero posted a 2.16 ERA in 23 starts at Lakewood and Clearwater. He gave up 104 hits, struck out 128 and walked 36 in 129 innings.

"He had a great year developmentally," Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan said. "He really figured out what he had and how to use it."

Romero throws a sinker and a four-seam fastball up to 95 mph. He complements that with an off-speed repertoire highlighted by a good changeup. He was born Joseph Romero, but JoJo evolved into his baseball name over the years and he's sticking with it.

"I like it," he said with a smile in the Phillies' clubhouse Wednesday.

Suarez, a 22-year-old from Venezuela, posted numbers similar to Romero's in 2017. He also pitched at Lakewood and Clearwater and registered a 2.27 ERA in 22 starts. He gave up 95 hits and struck out 128 while walking just 35 in 122 2/3 innings.

On Wednesday, Suarez was asked about his goals for 2018.

"Grandes ligas," he said.

He smiled and explained himself to Diego Ettedgui, the Phillies' Spanish language translator.

"The goal of every baseball player is to make it to the big leagues," Suarez said.

The Phillies signed Suarez for $25,000 in 2012. He has two brothers, Rayner and Rosmer, and a sister, Rangerlin.

"We have a family tradition that every name starts with the letter R," he said.

Dominguez, a 23-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic, is often asked about his unique first name. He said it was something his parents heard on television.

On the diamond, Dominguez's arm stands out more than his name.

"Ninety-eight, 99," he said when asked how hard he throws.

The Phillies will begin converting him from starter to reliever this spring. He has future closer written all over him.

"He has a chance to really dominate in the late innings," Jordan said.