Phillies

Phillies to play Rhys Hoskins more at first base, Jorge Alfaro at catcher

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Phillies to play Rhys Hoskins more at first base, Jorge Alfaro at catcher

With 19 games remaining in the season, the Phillies have shifted even deeper into an evaluation/development mode.

It was reflected in Pete Mackanin's lineup for Monday night's series opener against the Miami Marlins.

Mackanin unveiled what could be next year's opening day outfield with Odubel Herrera in center, Aaron Altherr in left and Nick Williams in right.

He gave J.P. Crawford his first look at second base.

And Jorge Alfaro was behind the plate with Rhys Hoskins at first base. Alfaro has recently begun to cut into catcher Cameron Rupp's playing time and Hoskins will start to cut into first baseman Tommy Joseph's.

"I want see Alfaro as much as I can," Mackanin said. "I'll get him the bulk of the reps [at catcher].

"And Hoskins will play more first base now that Altherr is back in the mix. I spoke to Tommy and he understands. We want to see Altherr, and Hoskins, we want to see him at first base."

Hoskins is a first baseman by trade. Since coming up from Triple A, he has gotten most of his reps in left field, which was convenient with Altherr on the disabled list. Altherr returned to the lineup on Sunday and will now push Hoskins to his natural position — the position he is expected to play on opening day next season.

Crawford is merely getting a look at second base. It's a way to get him at-bats without completely disrupting Freddy Galvis' season. Crawford is still considered the Phillies' shortstop of the future. Galvis, second baseman Cesar Hernandez, Joseph and Rupp could all be shopped for trades this winter as the Phillies continue to rebuild and transition. Second baseman Scott Kingery will likely be part of that transition, but, for future control reasons, probably won't be considered for a call-up until a month or so into next season.

Six-man rotation coming
Pitcher Henderson Alvarez was in the Phillies’ clubhouse, in uniform, before Tuesday night's game. Alvarez was recently signed by the Phils after a stint with the independent Long Island Ducks. He finished the season with Triple A Lehigh Valley and will be added to the big-league roster in the coming days. Mackanin said Alvarez would likely pitch on Sunday as the Phils finish the season with a six-man rotation. The Phils want to get a look at Alvarez and shave a few innings off their starters as the season winds down.

Alvarez, 27, was an All-Star with Miami in 2014 before his career was derailed by a shoulder injury.

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.