Phillies

Yankees 5, Phillies 0: Situational hitting still a problem; Garcia shows off splitter

Yankees 5, Phillies 0: Situational hitting still a problem; Garcia shows off splitter

CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Phillies had eight walks, nine base hits and put runners on base every inning against the Yankees on Friday afternoon.

They just failed to score.

Rhys Hoskins and Tommy Joseph both went 2 for 2, but situational hitting remains a problem in the first half of spring.

"Hoskins swung the bat well, he looks like a heck of a hitter," manager Pete Mackanin said, "and Joseph is starting to get going, good to see that as well.

"Other than that, not much to talk about."

The Phillies left 16 runners on base and allowed a three-run homer to Chase Headley in the first inning off starter Clay Buchholz as the Yankees won, 5-0, to drop the Phillies to 6-7-2 in the Grapefruit League.

"We had bases loaded three times and couldn't capitalize, it was one of those days," Mackanin said. "We might have used up all our runs in Lakeland [against the Tigers] the other day. Little by little, we're getting there."

Mackanin isn't ready to panic, nor should he, as many of the regulars are just beginning to get their at-bats and every player has a different approach to what they want to do during the spring. 

"When guys have 20, 25 at-bats it's hard to tell," Mackanin said. "Some guys are hot, some guys aren't. It takes time for some guys. It's a matter of putting something together. We swung the bats extremely well in Lakeland the other day and we've had other games where we swung the bat well. We're taking walks but we're also striking out too much."

The Phillies struck out eight times.

Garcia shows his splitter
Luis Garcia had his third consecutive scoreless outing of the spring and pitched a perfect 1 2/3 innings of relief. 

Mackanin said he was encouraged by Garcia going nearly two innings and the primary pitch that he used -- a split-finger fastball.

"He's started fiddling around with a split fastball, and I don't know if (Joaquin) Benoit has been talking to him about that, but he threw some really good splitters today, and if he can command that pitch pretty well he could be very effective," Mackanin said. "He might have reinvented himself. Last year, we forced (Hector) Neris to throw a lot of splits, and it seemed to light a fire under him and helped him take off and pitch so well. I'm hoping the same thing for Luis."

Mackanin said Garcia is one of the guys that is on the bubble, but he's eager to see what he can do for the rest of the spring and if he can provide multiple innings out of the bullpen.

Garcia has given up no runs and just one hit in his last three spring appearances.

"Our bullpen is pretty established, but the one thing we need to make sure we have to have is some length, so it was good to see Luis throw two innings," Mackanin said. "Length is going to be important, especially early in the season."

Up next
Right-hander Vince Velasquez will start against Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada in Dunedin at 1:07 p.m. on Saturday.

"The big thing with Vince is I want to see him throw strikes and have control of his pitches," Mackanin said. "It's important to get him throwing strikes and being in command of what he's doing on the mound."

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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USA Today Images

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.