Phillies

Clay Buchholz's arm and trade value injured in Phillies' latest 'embarrassing' loss to Mets

Clay Buchholz's arm and trade value injured in Phillies' latest 'embarrassing' loss to Mets

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As it turned out, there was no need for the New York Mets to retaliate for a Phillies pitcher throwing at one of their hitters.

The merciless whooping that the Mets laid upon the Phillies on Tuesday night was retribution enough.

In a game that at times had the look of men against boys, the Mets pounded four Phillies pitchers for 20 hits, including 14 for extra bases -- seven doubles and seven homers -- in a 14-4 drubbing (see Instant Replay).

Yoenis Cespedes hit three of the Mets' homers. Lucas Duda hit two, including one that traveled 448 feet -- over the batter's eye in dead center. Asdrubal Cabrera and Travis d'Arnaud also went deep.

The Mets have hit 46 homers in their last 21 games in Philadelphia. They have won 28 of 40 games against the Phillies since the start of the 2015 season and when this one was over, manager Pete Mackanin was succinct.

"Another embarrassing game against the Mets," he said. "We just made too many bad pitches and they didn't miss them. That's all there is to it.

"The whole game, we just made a lot of bad pitches. Hanging sliders all over the place. They didn't miss them."

Starter Clay Buchholz made some of those bad pitches -- he gave up six runs -- then headed for the trainer's room after 2 1/3 innings with what Mackanin called a strained flexor tendon in his right elbow.

Buchholz will have tests -- an MRI, etc. -- on the injury Wednesday and will end up on the disabled list. He had a similar injury right before the All-Star break in 2015 and missed the remainder of that season.

Buchholz sounded like someone who expected to miss significant time.

"That's the worst thing ever, having to call your manager or trainer out in the middle of an inning," he said. "I tried to get through it. I wasn't doing the team any favors throwing what I was throwing at that point in time so I made the move.

"Nobody in a big-league clubhouse wants to be hurt. You're here for a reason. You're here to play baseball. You're here to win. Whenever you're not able to do that, it's frustrating, especially being a guy that's been hurt multiple times. I've been on the DL for an extended period of time, multiple times. It's nothing that you want to happen. For me, I've got to find out obviously what it is and then get it taken care of."

Buchholz was asked if he felt a pop or anything like that as he pitched in the third inning.

"Nope," he said. "It just hurt."

The injury comes after Buchholz made just two starts, totaling just 7 1/3 innings, with his new club. The Phillies traded for him in December. It was a pure salary dump by the Boston Red Sox, who had grown tired of his inconsistency and fragility and were looking to clear his $13.5 million salary. The Phillies took on that salary because they were looking for a veteran arm to help buy some development time for their young pitching prospects at Triple A. They also saw it as a potential opportunity to turn Buchholz into a summertime trade chip. For that to happen, Buchholz needed to stay healthy and be effective. So much for the best-laid plans of the Phillies front office.

The Phillies have several starters on their 40-man roster at Triple A and one of them will take Buchholz's spot against these same Mets on Tuesday night in New York. Among the group is Zach Eflin, Jake Thompson, Ben Lively and Nick Pivetta.

The Phils made one roster move after Tuesday night's beating. They sent reliever Adam Morgan to Triple A after he was pounded for seven hits, including four homers, in 3 2/3 innings. The Phils will announce the addition of a fresh arm before Wednesday's series finale.

Morgan, who made the switch from starter to long reliever in spring training, was called upon with no notice when Buchholz got hurt. He had to face a loaded lineup that was still a little fired up after Phillies reliever Edubray Ramos threw at Cabrera's head on Monday night. Before the game, some wondered if the Mets and their starter, Matt Harvey, would retaliate. There was no need to. They let their bats do the responding and Morgan felt much of it.

"If you’re going to be in this league you’ve got to be up for that challenge," Morgan said. "You’ve got to be ready for it. Today was just unacceptable. I made a lot of mistakes over the plate, which I shouldn’t have. But the role is the role. You’ve got to be ready for the role."

Yankees' GM calls Phillies' Rob Thompson one of the best in business

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Yankees' GM calls Phillies' Rob Thompson one of the best in business

CLEARWATER, Fla. – According to New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, “the Phillies got one of the best,” when they hired Rob Thomson as bench coach.

“It was tough to see him leave,” Cashman said. “He is a great coach, an exceptional baseball man. His knowledge of the game is off the charts.

“Gabe Kapler has someone at his side that he can trust to have everything lined up properly all the time and that will free up Gabe Kapler to focus on whatever he wants to focus on at the given time. Rob Thomson will keep the rudder steady every step of the way,” (see story).

Thomson, 54, spent 28 years in the Yankees organization, most recently as Joe Girardi’s bench coach. He was one of five people (along with Eric Wedge, Hensley Muelens and Carlos Beltran) to interview to become Girardi’s successor during the offseason. Aaron Boone got the job.

Timing worked in the Phillies’ favor in hiring Thomson. There was a lag between when Thomson found out he would not be the Yankees’ manager and Boone’s hiring. The Phillies offered him their bench coach job and he took it.

“He would have been a candidate to return here, without question,” Cashman said. “It would have been the final call of Aaron Boone, but I would have recommended him highly to Aaron Boone. I gave (Phillies GM) Matt Klentak the highest recommendation.”

Thomson described himself as a good self-evaluator. He’s not sure he’d be cut out to manage every team, but he believed he’d have been a good fit for the Yankees job. He knew that organization, its operation and its players well.

“I understand that it’s part of the business,” Thomson said. “Brian and his staff, who are very smart people, had a certain person in mind and it wasn’t me. So you have to move on and refocus.”

Kapler did extensive research on Thomson and said he often heard that Thomson was “the best in the business at planning and running a spring training camp.”

Cashman concurred.

“Gabe Kapler has as good a right-hand man as you can find,” he said.

One plugged-in baseball observer described Thomson as similar to the late John Vukovich – a loyal-to-his-manager baseball taskmaster – only with a little less volume in his voice.

“He’s tough,” Cashman said. “He will be brutally honest. He’ll say what a player needs to hear, not necessarily what a player wants to hear. And he’ll always relate well to players because he always has their best interest at heart.

“The Phillies got one of the best.”

New bench coach Rob Thomson is Yankees’ loss, Phillies' gain

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New bench coach Rob Thomson is Yankees’ loss, Phillies' gain

CLEARWATER, Fla. – It will probably hit Rob Thomson sometime on Sunday. That’s when the New York Yankees visit Spectrum Field, the Phillies’ spring-training home.

Thomson spent 28 seasons in the Yankees’ famous pinstripes, serving in player-development, front-office and coaching roles.

Most recently, he was the bench coach for former Yankees manager Joe Girardi. Thomson was one of five people interviewed to replace Girardi after last season. Aaron Boone got the job, but Thomson wasn’t a free agent for long. The Phillies quickly scooped up the 54-year-old baseball lifer and installed him as new manager Gabe Kapler’s top lieutenant.

On Sunday, Thomson will look across the diamond and see his past.

But all he’s thinking about is the future.

“I feel like I’m part of the Phillies family already,” he said. “The people have been great. They’ve welcomed me right in.

“I’m here to support Gabe in any way I can. I’ve got his back all the time.”

Phillies management wanted a veteran coaching presence around the 42-year-old Kapler, whose only managing experience came a decade ago in the low minors. New pitching coach Rick Kranitz held that position with three other clubs over 10 seasons. New hitting coach John Mallee previously held that position with the Astros and Cubs.

Thomson worked on Joe Torre’s staff before working under Girardi. He lived through the Yankees’ growth as one of baseball’s analytic giants. He's just what the Phillies and Kapler were looking for.

“I ask everybody everything all the time,” Kapler said. “I contacted no fewer than 20 people about Rob and heard nothing even remotely negative. I weigh that more than a six-hour interview. You might nail the interview, but you can’t fake your career.”

Kapler’s most valuable appraisal came from Girardi, who said Thomson was an incredible teammate.

“In my opinion, that’s the best compliment anyone in baseball can give,” Kapler said.

Thomson is a former catcher. He played on the 1984 Canadian Olympic team and in the Tigers' farm system before joining the Yankees’ player development department.

While working on Torre’s staff, Thomson learned the value of trust.

“Joe Torre was really into relationships and gaining trust with a player and that taught me a lot,” Thomson said. “Before you can really help players, they have to be able to trust you.

“With Joe Girardi, he was a little more analytics-driven so that taught me a lot. We’d always looked at numbers but it taught me to really dive into some of the more critical numbers that are around today.

“In a lot of ways, Gabe reminds me of Joe (Girardi) because of his presence and openness to ideas. Those are great qualities for a leader to have.”

Thomson arrives at work pre-dawn in spring training to plan the day. He is known to arrive at noon for a regular season night game. With data study, scouting reports, video, one-on-one coaching and meetings, the preparation for a single game rivals what happens in the NFL – only it happens every day. When game time arrives, Thomson will be at Kapler’s side, making suggestions and offering ideas (see story). He said he takes nothing personal, so Kapler can wave him off any time.

“But I won’t," Kapler said with a laugh. “I need that.”