When the Phillies host the Mets on Aug. 19 next summer, the game won't be at Citizens Bank Park. It will take place at 7 p.m. at Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pa. as the Phils and Mets take part in MLB's second annual Little League Classic game.
Last month, MLB for the first time held a regular-season game (Pirates-Cardinals) at the home of the Little League World Series as a way to give little-leaguers and big-leaguers a chance to meet and build more youth interest.
"The interactions throughout the day between the Major League Players and Little Leaguers was something that those involved will remember forever," commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "We are pleased to once again have the opportunity to help create these special memories next August."
Phillies and Mets players will attend the LLWS games earlier in the day.
"It's experiences like the 2018 MLB Little League Classic that create baseball fans for life," Phillies executive vice president David Buck said, "and we are honored to be a part of it."
CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Phillies on Saturday added to their stock of reliever candidates with the signing of veteran left-hander Fernando Abad to a minor-league contract. Abad will report to big-league camp and compete for a job on the 25-man roster.
The Phillies are likely to have an eight-man bullpen. The addition of Abad gives the Phillies four left-handed relief candidates. Adam Morgan, Hoby Milner and Zac Curtis are all on the 40-man roster.
Morgan and Milner both shined in the second half of 2017. Morgan recorded a 1.69 ERA in 21 games over the final two months. He pitched 26 2/3 innings over that span, allowed just 16 hits and five runs, struck out 33 and walked six. Milner gave up just two runs in 21 2/3 innings over his last 27 games. He struck out 15 and managed to pitch around 12 walks. He was tough on lefty hitters (.159), but struggled against righties (.377). Curtis was a late-season waiver claim from Seattle. He pitched in just three games with the Phillies.
Abad, 32, is an eight-year major-league veteran who has made stops in Houston, Washington, Oakland, Minnesota and Boston. He had a 3.30 ERA in 48 games with the Red Sox last season and lefties hit .227 off him.
From the right side, the Phillies have some bullpen depth with closer Hector Neris, veteran setup men Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter, Luis Garcia and Edubray Ramos. Victor Arano, Ricardo Pinto, Yacksel Rios and Seranthony Dominquez are also on the 40-man roster.
Dominguez hit 100 mph on the radar gun as a starter last season and is being converted to the bullpen. He is likely to open the season at Double A Reading, but “could be a quick mover,” general manager Matt Klentak said.
The list of bullpen candidates also includes two veterans on minor-league contracts: Pedro Beato and Francisco Rodriguez. The latter is a 16-year veteran who has racked up 437 saves – fourth-most all-time -- in his career. Rodriguez was released by the Tigers and Nationals last summer and is trying to make the Phillies as a nonroster invitee to big-league camp.
CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies have become major participants in baseball’s analytics movement in recent years. Where once there were none, now there are 14 full-timers in the team’s research and development department, and three more full-timers who break down information and deliver it to players and on-field staff.
“But that is not, by any stretch, the only thing we’ve done,” club president Andy MacPhail said on Friday.
“In scouting, particularly in the world of international scouting, we’ve added 17 international scouts. Some of that was making part-time guys in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic full-time, but we also now have full-time scouts in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Mexico and Australia. So it’s not just getting on the cutting edge of analytics, it’s also about doing the traditional things well.”
The Phillies this winter hired Howie Norsetter, formerly the Minnesota Twins' international scouting coordinator, to cover Australia. Recently, Norsetter signed pitcher Kyle Glogoski, a 19-year-old right-hander from New Zealand. He is the first New Zealander signed by the Phillies. He will report to extended spring training in March.
The Phils have also signed an Australian lefty Josh Towls to a minor-league deal.
In a game where analytics continues to grow, “the eye test is obviously critically important or we wouldn’t have added the 17 international scouts,” MacPhail said.