Phillies

Young girl hospitalized by 105-mph foul ball at Yankee Stadium

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Young girl hospitalized by 105-mph foul ball at Yankee Stadium

NEW YORK -- A young girl at Yankee Stadium was injured by a 105-mph foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier during Wednesday's game against Minnesota, leading some players to call for protective netting to be extended.

The Yankees said the girl was taken to a hospital for treatment, and New York manager Joe Girardi said he had been told by team security that she was OK. The game was delayed for about 4 minutes while she was attended to and then carried from the seats in the bottom of the fifth inning.

A shaken Frazier crouched with his hands over his face. The Yankees third baseman then bowed his head, walked away from the plate, crouched again and rested his head on the end of his bat.

"I thought of my kids. I have two kids under 3 years old and I just hope she's all right," said Frazier, who flied out later in the at-bat. "I know the dad or whoever it was that was with them was trying their hardest, but the ball's coming at 120 miles an hour at them and the ball's hooking. So it's like if you've never seen a ball like that, which most people in the world haven't, it's very tough."

Asked whether there should be more netting, Yankees rookie slugger Aaron Judge said: "We need it."

Twins players also were distressed, and second baseman Brian Dozier and the Yankees' Matt Holliday had tears as they said prayers at second base.

"We've been trying to get these teams to put nets up," Dozier said. "Number one, you don't bring kids down there. And number two, every stadium needs to have nets. That's it. I don't care about the damn view of the fan or what. It's all about safety. I still have a knot in my stomach."

As to what it would take to get nets up, Dozier responded: "The last resort that we don't ever want to have happen. I'm not going to say it, but you know what I'm talking about."

Speaking through a translator, Twins infielder Eduardo Escobar said, "I just saw blood coming out of this little girl." He said perhaps kids under a certain age be prohibited from seats without protection.

Major League Baseball issued recommendations for protecting netting or screens in December 2015, encouraging teams to have it in place between the ends of the dugouts closest to home plate.

"It remains an ongoing discussion in the industry," Commissioner Rob Manfred said at Safeco Field, before Wednesday night's game between Seattle and Texas. "We gave some guidelines two years ago, and what we have done since then is that we have encouraged the individual clubs to engage in a localized process, look at their own stadiums -- every stadium's different -- and to try to make a good decision about how far the netting should go in order to promote fan safety."

"If you look at what's happened, there has been a continuous focus forward movement in terms of increased netting in stadiums around the leagues and I expect that process will continue this offseason," he said.

The Mets extended netting beyond the outfield ends of the dugouts this season after the All-Star break. The Yankees said in an August statement posted on the team's website that they "are seriously exploring extending the netting prior to the 2018 season."

A boy was struck on the head by a portion of Chris Carter's broken bat at Yankee Stadium on May 25, and a fan sitting beyond the first-base dugout was hit by a 105-mph foul ball off the bat of Judge on July 25. That fan had a bloody bandage around his head as he left his seat.

New York City Councilman Rafael L. Espinal Jr. introduced legislation in May for protective netting to be extended to the ends of both dugouts, and a hearing is scheduled for Oct. 25.

"No one should ever go to a baseball game and leave severely injured," Espinal said in a statement. "Nor should any player have to feel the guilt associated with injuring a fan, especially when that injury could have been prevented by safety nets."

Frazier and teammate CC Sabathia said their families always sit behind netting or screens.

"I think the netting should be up. I think every stadium should have it, but we're not at that point yet," Frazier said. "Hopefully, they took a look at all this and they figure something out."

Girardi recalled a fan being badly injured while he was catching for the Chicago Cubs and said new ballparks "are more intimate" with "fans closer to home plate."

"I'm for making everything as safe as possible for everyone at the ballpark -- players, too," Girardi said.

Nick Williams talks up Phillies to a free-agent Cy Young winner

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Nick Williams talks up Phillies to a free-agent Cy Young winner

It's not clear whether the Phillies will add a starting pitcher before opening day, but surely they would like to.

General manager Matt Klentak “is busting his ass every single day looking for every possible opportunity to upgrade our team from every perspective,” manager Gabe Kapler said on Tuesday. “That includes looking at every option possible for the rotation.”

Klentak has kept a close eye on the trade market, but has found the prices (i.e., the young talent that must be surrendered) for top, controllable starters to be prohibitive.

He has kept a close eye on the free-agent market, but the length of contracts that top pitchers are looking for has given him pause.

For months, the Phillies have distanced themselves from speculation that has connected them to elite level free-agent pitchers Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta.

But with spring training less than a month away and both pitchers still unsigned, the Phillies would at least have to consider both pitchers if their asking prices experience a January thaw.

Six or seven years? No way.

Three years? Hmmm. Let's talk.

The Phillies are hosting a number of their young players this week. Rhys Hoskins, Jerad Eickhoff, Mark Leiter and Nick Williams were all in town on Tuesday.

Williams has set his sights on making the National League All-Star team in 2018.

“That's what I'm shooting for,” he said at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday. “I think I had a pretty good year last year. I'm shooting for more now. I don't think being an All-Star is shooting too high.”

Williams, 24, hit .288 with 12 homers, 55 RBIs and an .811 OPS in 83 games, mostly in right field, with the big club as a rookie last season.

To give himself the best chance of surpassing those numbers — and achieving his goal of making the All-Star team — Williams has spent the offseason in Austin, Texas, working with personal trainer Jeremy Hills, a former University of Texas football player.

Williams is working hard on agility, which will help him in the outfield and on the base paths.

And guess who one of his daily workout partners is?

Free-agent pitcher Jake Arrieta.

Back in Austin, between reps and protein shakes, Williams has occasionally talked up Philadelphia as a potential landing spot to Arrieta, the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner who will turn 32 in March.

“He loves it here,” Williams said of Arrieta, who, as a free agent and a Scott Boras client, is astute enough not to rule out any team, particularly one as deep-pocketed as the Phillies. “He has told me he likes working with young guys. I'm like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I'm not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I'm not really in his position.”

Williams smiled.

“I hope to be one day,” he said.

Williams marveled at Arrieta's work ethic in the gym.

And he expressed gratitude for the kindness and generosity Arrieta has showed him.

“He's bought a lot of my protein shakes,” Williams said.

Time will tell if the Phillies add a starting pitcher to the group that already consists of Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin and other youngsters. The hunch is they will, though it's unclear what the magnitude of that talent will be. Klentak's search for an arm likely won't stop with the addition of one pitcher and it will likely continue through July. And beyond. The quest to build a championship-caliber staff never stops.

“The pursuit is very real,” Kapler said of Klentak's search for pitching. “I have a lot of trust that we'll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we're better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”

Rhys Hoskins on 'surreal' rookie year, position switch, expectations

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Rhys Hoskins on 'surreal' rookie year, position switch, expectations

For a couple of weeks in August, Rhys Hoskins might have been Philadelphia's most popular athlete. Fans marveled at the nightly power display that the young slugger put on in the middle of the Phillies' batting order. Carson Wentz and the Eagles had not yet begun their magnificent season. Hoskins was the man in town.

It hit him one night after a game. He stopped in Center City for some late-night eats. A man and his young son approached. They offered their congratulations and asked for an autograph.

"That's when I was like, 'OK, this might be something that's about to be part of my life,' " Hoskins said. "But it was cool because I used to be that kid."

Hoskins was back in the area Monday night for the 114th Philadelphia Sports Writers Association Dinner. He was honored with a special achievement award for a torrid major league debut in which he clubbed 18 homers and drove in 48 runs in just 50 games last season.

Hoskins was raised in Sacramento, California but moved to San Diego this offseason. His 18 homers in 2017 were the most ever hit by a player who did not make his season debut until after Aug. 1. Hall of Famer Ted Williams, who hit 13 homers after returning from the Korean War in 1953, was the previous record holder.

Williams was a San Diego native.

"Surreal," Hoskins said of that 50-game stretch last season and the buzz that has followed him into the offseason. "Indescribable."

He is now a recognizable face, a signature talent, in a sports-crazy town.

And he's ready for it.

"Enjoy it," he said. "Take it by storm and enjoy it. It's supposed to be fun and that's probably the best approach to take. I think my thought is what happened may never happen again. Tomorrow something might happen. Tomorrow I might never be able to step on a baseball field again. So I think you have to take it by storm and enjoy it.

"If you had asked me a year ago if I would be walking down the streets of Philadelphia and would people recognize me I'd probably laugh at you. But that’s where we are now.

"It's just a testament to how passionate the people of Philadelphia are and how much they love their sports."

Hoskins will report to Clearwater for spring training at the end of this month. He wants to get a head start so he can ramp up his workouts in left field. A first baseman by trade, he began playing the position occasionally last season. He will move there full-time in 2018 as newly signed Carlos Santana takes over at first base.

Hoskins got a 30-game taste of left field last year. He is OK with the move.

"Having Carlos is exciting for the city and exciting for the team," Hoskins said. "We add a guy who has proven himself in this league for five or six years at a very high level so to kind of insert that into the lineup and into the clubhouse, especially with such a young team — I think we're going to feel that exponentially throughout the year.

"Left field is a challenge. It's a challenge that I'm definitely excited about. I started to feel more comfortable out there toward the end of the year.

"I think I can be just fine out there. I'm not necessarily going to be a Gold Glover. I just don’t have the speed that some guys out there do, especially in today's game. But I think I'll be just fine and contribute to the team defensively as much as I can and make the plays that I'm supposed to."

Hoskins will turn 25 on March 17. He projects to bat cleanup in new manager Gabe Kapler's lineup.

"He's energized, intense and thorough," Hoskins said of the new skipper. "He can captivate a room. I'm curious to see how that dynamic works in the clubhouse. I think he's going to be a pretty exciting guy to work with."