Phillies

Phillies 2, Orioles 2: Mackanin disappointed after losing no-hitter, lead in the 9th

Phillies 2, Orioles 2: Mackanin disappointed after losing no-hitter, lead in the 9th

BOX SCORE

SARASOTA, Fla. -- It was just a spring training game. Nonetheless, there was disappointment in Pete Mackanin's voice when it was over.

The Phillies came within two outs of a combined no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night. The no-hit bid ended when Chris Dickerson singled against reliever Michael Mariot with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Mariot was then unable to hold the Phillies' 2-0 lead. He allowed a two-run homer to the next hitter, Sean Coyle, and the game ended in a 2-2 tie.

The homer was a thrill for Coyle, who grew up in suburban Philadelphia, played at Germantown Academy and was a third-round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2010.

It was not a thrill for Mackanin.

"It's a shame to lose the no-hitter," he said.

Even in spring training?

"A no-hitter is a no-hitter," he said. "It would have been nice to win that game."

Vince Velasquez, Jake Thompson and Colton Murray preceded Mariot.

Ryan Hanigan (RBI single) and Andrew Knapp (solo homer) drove in the Phillies' runs. Knapp has been 1 for 22 on the spring before the homer.
 
Velasquez's learning experience
If you were looking for distilled essence of Velasquez, the hard-throwing right-hander offered it in 3 2/3 innings of work.

His stuff was good enough to strike out six batters over the span.

By his control was so poor, especially in the first inning, that he walked four.

He ended up throwing 76 pitches, 39 strikes and 37 balls -- a terrible ratio.

High pitch counts like this were a nemesis for Velasquez last season, often preventing him from getting through the middle innings and pitching deeper into games. Being more economical with his pitches is a big goal for Velasquez this spring and season.

So it didn't happen for him on Thursday night.

But that doesn't mean the outing was a total loss. Velasquez called it a great learning experience. Though he allowed four base runners -- all on walks -- he did not give up a run. In baseball parlance, he pitched when he had to.

"This was a good, solid outing to learn from," Velasquez said. "Knowing that I was throwing a lot of pitches, I had to throw pitches in certain situations, in key situations. The changeup was working pretty well, helping me out a lot and also setting up my fastball for some of the strikeouts. Everything was pretty much down in the dirt but I had to make adjustments.

"This was pretty much one of the games where I needed to make pitches to get outs, especially bases loaded with a tough team like this. You've got to make the pitches in the heat of the moment."

Velasquez did that in the first inning. He walked three and struck out two in the frame. After the third walk, which loaded the bases, he was at 25 pitches for the inning and 15 were balls. He received a mound visit from pitching coach Bob McClure and proceeded to end the inning with two pitches and a fly ball to left.

"He was just giving me a break, trying to gather me up again," Velasquez said.

"Just the mental thing of calm down, get your composure back and breathe. It's amazing how just one meeting can change the outcome."

Velasquez often tapped his pitching hand against his leg, especially in the first inning when he had control problems. He was asked if he had a problem feeling his hand on a chilly Florida night. That was not the case. He was reminding himself to stay back and over the rubber and not get too aggressive in his delivery.

"I was reminding myself to try to be a little more controlled, be balanced and just let it work," he said.

It was an adjustment that seemed to help Velasquez in the second inning, and his overall takeaway from the night was positive.

"I think I can really take this (outing) and keep this under my hat and apply it later on down the road whenever I hit that bump again because everyone has the ups and downs," Velasquez said. "I had it last year and I've got to do my best to prevent it. This was a good learning experience to keep under my hat for the next outing. I'm glad it happened."

Up next
The Phillies host the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday afternoon. Aaron Nola will start for the Phillies against Marco Estrada. The Phillies will wear their tradition green St. Patrick's Day garb.

Phillies add 4 pitching prospects to 40-man roster

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AP Images

Phillies add 4 pitching prospects to 40-man roster

The Phillies added four promising pitching prospects to their 40-man roster on Monday. In a corresponding move, they subtracted a notable name.

Right-handers Franklyn Kilome, Seranthony Dominguez and Jose Taveras and lefty Ranger Suarez were all added to the roster, protecting them from being selected by another club in next month's Rule 5 draft.

The Phillies also added an infielder, Engelb Vielma, to the roster. He was claimed off waivers from the San Francisco Giants.

To make room for these additions, the team needed to clear three spots on its roster, which had been at 38. Left-handed pitcher Elniery Garcia cleared waivers and was sent outright to the minor leagues while right-handers Alberto Tirado and Mark Appel were designated for assignment. The Phillies will try to trade Tirado and Appel before placing them on waivers. If they clear waivers, they could stay in the system.

The Phillies cut Appel loose after he'd struggled with injury and ineffectiveness during two seasons in the organization. The 26-year-old right-hander from Stanford University had twice been a first-round draft pick, by Pittsburgh in 2012 and by Houston — No. 1 overall — in 2013. The Phillies acquired him from the Astros as part of the package for Ken Giles in December 2015, but he never lived up to his huge potential.

"A lot of the tools that Mark showed as an amateur that led to him being the No. 1 overall pick are still there," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said. "He has simply struggled with performance. It's certainly not for lack of effort on his part. We think the world of the kid and wish him well. It was a tough decision."

Tirado, 22, was acquired from Toronto in July 2015 as part of the return for Ben Revere. He arrived with a fastball that could reach triple digits on the radar gun and that promise earned him a spot on the 40-man a year ago. Tirado suffered a shoulder injury early last season and struggled in the minors.

All four of the pitchers that the Phillies protected are products of the team's international scouting department. Taveras, 24, was a standout at three levels in the minors last season and could be in the picture in Philadelphia in 2018. He led the system in strikeouts in 2016 and 2017.

"He knows how to get guys out and often times that comes via the strikeout," Klentak said. "No matter where he pitches, he rises to the occasion and puts up a strong performance."

Kilome, 22, and Dominguez, 22, are both power arms who project to see significant time at Double A in 2018. Suarez, 22, should also get to Double A at some point in 2018. He had a 2.27 ERA in 22 starts at two levels of Single A ball in 2017.

"He may have been the breakout pitcher of the year for the Phillies," Klentak said. "We'd always heard a lot about him and this year he took his performance to another level.

"We're really excited for all four of these guys. All have worked extremely hard and they are all deserving of being added to our roster. Our international scouting operation, Sal Agostinelli and his group, continues to crank out players. They've done a great job. These four pitchers have earned this through their work ethic and performance. By no means is this the ultimate goal for them, but it's one step closer. We believe really strongly in the futures of these four pitchers."

Vielma, 23, is a top defensive shortstop who can also play second and third base. He was waived by Minnesota in September and claimed by the Giants, who let him go in a roster crunch.

"He's an intriguing claim," Klentak said. "He adds depth to our infield."

The Phillies’ roster is at 40. The team will have to clear space if it wants to add a player in next month's Rule 5 draft. Last November, the Phils added 11 players to the 40-man roster and still lost lefty reliever Hoby Milner to Cleveland. Milner failed to make the Indians' opening-day roster, returned to the organization in March and ended up making 37 appearances for the big club after coming up in late June. He was one of 12 rookies to make their big-league debut with the Phillies in 2017.

Notable players who were not protected include outfielders Carlos Tocci and Andrew Pullin and pitcher Brandon Leibrandt.

"One of the byproducts of a strong system is every year there are some tough omissions," Klentak said. "There are always tough calls. But we look at that as a good problem to have."

New details emerge in investigation into Roy Halladay's death

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USA Today Images

New details emerge in investigation into Roy Halladay's death

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Retired star pitcher Roy Halladay sped his small sports plane low over the Gulf of Mexico minutes before his fatal crash two weeks ago, climbing sharply in the final seconds before diving into the water, federal investigators said in a preliminary report released Monday.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Noreen Price placed no blame for the Nov. 7 accident near Tampa, simply laying out the facts as gleaned from the plane's data recorder and eyewitnesses. A final report with conclusions could take one to two years.

Price says Halladay, 40, had taken off from a lake near his Tampa-area home about 17 minutes before the crash, taking his ICON A5 to 1,900 feet (580 meters) before dropping to 600 feet (180 meters) as he neared the coastline. He then dropped to 36 feet (11 meters) when he reached the water. While flying at about 105 mph (170 kph), Halladay skimmed the water at 11 feet (3.3 meters), flying in a circle before climbing to 100 feet (30 meters), the plane's data showed.

A witness told investigators the plane climbed to between 300 and 500 feet (95 to 150 meters) when it turned and went into a 45-degree dive. It slammed into the water and flipped.

Halladay's body was found with the plane, which was severely damaged. The plane itself was equipped with a parachute, but it was not deployed.

The former Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies star had received the plane from ICON on Oct. 10, and was one of the first to receive the model. In one of many enthusiastic tweets about the plane, Halladay said it felt "like flying a fighter jet." He had about 700 hours of flight time after getting his license in 2013, the report says. He had 51 hours in ICON A5s, including 14 in the plane that crashed.

Rolled out in 2014, the A5 is an amphibious aircraft meant to be treated like an ATV, a piece of weekend recreational gear with folding wings that can easily be towed on a trailer to a lake where it can take off from the water.

The man who led the plane's design, 55-year-old John Murray Karkow, died while flying an A5 over California's Lake Berryessa on May 8, a crash the NTSB attributed to pilot error.

Another A5 crashed in April, making a hard landing in the water off Key Largo, Florida, injuring the pilot and his passenger. The pilot told investigators the plane descended faster than he expected.

Halladay, an eight-time All-Star, pitched a perfect game and a playoff no-hitter in 2010. He played for the Blue Jays from 1998 to 2009 and for the Phillies from 2009-13, going 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA.