Phillies

Phillies Notes: Wells, Brown, Volquez and Harvey

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Phillies Notes: Wells, Brown, Volquez and Harvey

NEW YORK -- Maybe Casper Wells’ problems at the plate are as simple as this:

He can’t see.

Wells went 0 for 7 with four strikeouts in Saturday night’s 18-inning loss to Arizona. He also took the loss on the mound when the Phillies ran out of pitchers.

But the troubling part of Wells’ short time with the Phillies is this: He is 1 for 23 with eight strikeouts.

On Sunday, Wells went to manager Ryne Sandberg and admitted that he’s having trouble seeing the ball -- not just at the plate, everywhere, even in the outfield.

“The ball looks blurry to him,” Sandberg said.

The Phils placed Wells on the disabled list Monday and brought up utility man Pete Orr from Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Wells will be examined by eye specialists this week in Philadelphia.

GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said Wells had LASIK surgery last fall and has had some complications.

“He really hadn’t told anybody about it until now,” Amaro said. “He went to Ryne and said that he was fearful that he was going to get injured because he wasn’t able to pick up the ball, and he wasn’t able to play at an optimal level because he couldn’t see.

“You don’t know if he was struggling or not seeing the ball well, but obviously he was having those issues, so that could be part of it. He wasn’t making excuses. He just wants to get to the bottom of it.”

Overall this season, Wells has played for three teams and is hitting .128
(12 for 94) with 31 strikeouts.

Brown getting close
Domonic Brown was out of the starting lineup for a second straight game Monday night. He has battled some soreness in his right Achilles tendon since hitting the first base bag awkwardly Friday night.

Sandberg said the Phillies were not considering the disabled list for Brown.

“Just day to day,” Sandberg said.

Brown was available for pinch-hitting duty.

Volquez, maybe?
Far out of contention, the Phillies over the final weeks of the season are evaluating a number of players and their possible roles in the future. Roger Bernadina is getting looks in the outfield along with Darin Ruf. Cody Asche is being evaluated at third base. Roy Halladay’s health and effectiveness are being gauged. Even free-agent-to-be Carlos Ruiz is under the microscope.

Could Edinson Volquez be next? The right-hander has been released by San Diego.

“We’ve talked about it internally,” Amaro said.

Volquez went 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA for the Reds in 2008. He had Tommy John surgery the next year and has struggled to replicate that success. He had a 6.01 ERA in 27 starts for the Padres this season.

In 2010, Volquez was found in violation of MLB’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs and served a 50-game suspension.

Harvey shut down
Speaking of Tommy John surgery, the Mets shut down hard-throwing phenom Matt Harvey with a partially torn ulna collateral ligament on Monday (see story). Rest has been prescribed, but surgery is a possibility. If Harvey needs ligament-replacement surgery (Tommy John), he will likely miss next season.

The 24-year-old right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA in five career starts against the Phillies. He has allowed just 15 hits and eight walks while striking out 38 in 33 1/3 innings against the Phillies.

Harvey was supposed to face the Phillies on Thursday. Right-hander Carlos Torres will fill that spot.

In the fraternity of baseball, no one is ever happy to hear of an injury, even when it happens to an opponent.

“He’s a bright star, one of the best we’ve seen this year,” Sandberg said. “You hate to see that. It’s a shame.”

Gabe Kapler names Jim Gott Phillies' bullpen coach

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Gabe Kapler names Jim Gott Phillies' bullpen coach

Gabe Kapler on Friday added to his coaching staff by naming Jim Gott the Phillies' bullpen coach.

Gott was the minor-league pitching coordinator for the Angels the last five seasons and the pitching coach for the Arizona League Angels the three years prior to that role.

He played for the Blue Jays, Giants, Pirates and Dodgers over 14 major-league seasons as a starter and reliever. Gott, now 58 years old, compiled a 3.87 ERA while making 96 starts and converting 91 saves.

Kapler and the Phillies still need to name a pitching coach and first-base coach. Last week, they named Dusty Wathan third-base coach and hired John Mallee as hitting coach, while retaining Rick Kranitz, who was the assistant pitching coach last season (see story). He could fill the main pitching coach vacancy, although his role is currently to be determined.

In 2017, Bob McClure served the Phillies as pitching coach and Mickey Morandini was first-base coach.

MLB Notes: Astros' Jose Altuve, Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton claim MVP awards

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MLB Notes: Astros' Jose Altuve, Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton claim MVP awards

Houston Astros dynamo Jose Altuve has won the American League MVP award, towering over New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge by a wide margin.

The 5-foot-6 Altuve drew 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Altuve batted a major league-best .346. He hit 24 home runs with 81 RBIs, scored 112 times, stole 32 bases and showed a sharp glove at second base.

The 6-foot-7 Judge won the AL Rookie of the Year award Monday. He set a rookie record with 52 home runs.

Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians finished third. The award was announced Thursday.

Altuve helped lead the Astros to their first World Series championship. Voting for these honors was completed before the postseason began.

Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton won the NL MVP award, barely edging Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds.

In the closest MVP vote since 1979, Stanton became only the sixth player to win from a losing team. Stanton led the big leagues with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs (see full story).

MLB: Manfred says pace changes will happen with or without union
Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

There are ongoing talks for a new posting system with Japan to replace the deal that expired Nov. 1, one that would allow star Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani to leave the Pacific League's Nippon Ham Fighters to sign with a big league team (see full story).

Mariners: Team makes trade, raises available money for Japan's Otani​
The Seattle Mariners have gained more flexibility if they want to try to sign star Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani.

They acquired an additional $500,000 for their international signing bonus pool from the Chicago White Sox in a trade for Brazilian right-hander Thyago Vieira.

Otani, a 23-year-old right-hander, would be limited to a minor league contract with a signing bonus under Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement. The trade announced Thursday increases the Mariners' available money for a signing bonus to $1,557,500. Seattle has spent $3,942,500 on bonuses in the signing year that started July 2 from a pool that rose to $5.5 million with the trade.

The 24-year-old Vieira made his major league debut with a scoreless inning against Baltimore on Aug. 14, his only big league appearance. He was 2-3 with two saves and a 3.72 ERA in 29 games this year for Double-A Arkansas and 0-1 with two saves and a 4.58 ERA in 12 games for Triple-A Tacoma.

Chicago is restricted to a maximum $300,000 signing bonus because it exceeded its pool in a previous year under the old labor contract.