roman quinn

What Roman Quinn, Zach Eflin moves mean for Phillies' roster

What Roman Quinn, Zach Eflin moves mean for Phillies' roster

CLEARWATER, Fla. — A day before the Phillies leave Florida and head to Atlanta, the team's opening day roster continues to come into focus.

On Monday morning, the Phils sent outfielder Roman Quinn, starting pitcher Zach Eflin and lefty reliever Zac Curtis to Triple A.

Later in the day, manager Gabe Kapler said that reliever Tommy Hunter would start the season on the DL with a "mild" hamstring strain.

With Quinn and Jesmuel Valentin, who was optioned out on Sunday, off to Triple A, the position player side of the roster appears set at 12.

With Hunter headed to the DL, the bullpen appears to be set as well.

Here are the 12 position players:

Catchers
Jorge Alfaro
Andrew Knapp

Infielders
Carlos Santana
Cesar Hernandez
Maikel Franco
J.P. Crawford

Outfielders
Odubel Herrera
Aaron Altherr
Nick Williams
Rhys Hoskins

Infielder/outfielders
Scott Kingery
Pedro Florimon

With 12 position players, the Phils are set to open with 13 pitchers. It looks like they will go with a four-man rotation until Jake Arrieta is activated on April 8. Arrieta could open on the disabled list to build arm strength or briefly be optioned to the minors. He will pitch in Clearwater on Tuesday and throw a simulated game in New York next week as he gears for his debut.

As of Monday morning, there were four locks in the rotation:

• Aaron Nola
• Nick Pivetta
• Vince Velasquez
• Ben Lively

The Phils will open with a nine-man bullpen. This appears to be it:

• Hector Neris
• Pat Neshek
• Luis Garcia
• Adam Morgan (LH)
• Hoby Milner (LH)
• Edubray Ramos
• Drew Hutchison
• Jake Thompson
• Victor Arano

• Tommy Hunter (DL)

Rupp released
A day after designating him for assignment, the Phillies released catcher Cameron Rupp. He is free to sign with any team. Rupp was due to make $2.05 million from the Phillies this season but his salary was non-guaranteed.

Phillies' opening day roster decisions not getting any easier

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Phillies' opening day roster decisions not getting any easier

BOX SCORE

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies are going down to the wire with their opening day roster decisions.

Manager Gabe Kapler & Co. got another look at pitcher Drew Hutchison and bench candidates Jesmuel Valentin and Roman Quinn on Saturday in a game against the Tigers in Lakeland. None of the three hurt their chances of making the club in a 4-1 win over the Tigers.

Hutchison, a Lakeland native, pitched four scoreless innings. He gave up one hit and survived three walks. He struck out three, including Miguel Cabrera with runners on second and third with one out in the third inning. 

Hutchison, 27, made 74 starts from 2012 to 2016 with the Blue Jays and Pirates. He spent all of last season with the Pirates’ Triple A club and signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies last month. The Phillies have given the right-hander a good look and he has responded well. He has given up 12 hits and six runs in 19 2/3 innings for a 2.75 ERA. However, he has walked eight while registering 17 strikeouts.

Hutchison’s best chance to make the club could be as a long man in the bullpen. Ben Lively is also in the running for that job. Jake Thompson could also be in the picture. He is converting to the bullpen but has built up his pitch counts.

Valentin, a strong candidate for a utility job, started at first base with a borrowed mitt from Rhys Hoskins. Valentin has a first baseman’s mitt and a catcher's mitt on order. He could be the emergency third catcher. Valentin had a good game. He made a nice defensive play and had two hits and a walk. He has played seven positions this spring.

Quinn had two hits, scored a run and swiped three bases. He could open with the big club or be sent to Triple A for playing time. He has impressed Kapler with his electricity and figures to impact the big club at some point, maybe as soon as opening day.

Scott Kingery had two more hits, raising his average to .392 (20 for 51). He will likely open in Triple A but could be up by the third weekend of the season. Delaying his arrival until then would push his potential free agency back until after 2024.

• Rhys Hoskins stayed back in Clearwater and got a bunch of at-bats in a pair of minor-league games. He swatted a pair of opposite-field homers in a Triple A game.

The Phillies host the Orioles on Saturday. Nick Pivetta will start.

Questions Phillies face as spring training nears its end

Questions Phillies face as spring training nears its end

BRADENTON, Fla. — Less than a week before opening day, there are still a number of unanswered questions surrounding the Phillies.

About the only thing known for sure is that Aaron Nola will start Thursday in Atlanta. The right-hander made his final spring tune-up Friday afternoon against the Pirates.

Some of the questions that need to be answered before the Phillies pack up and leave Florida on Tuesday include:

• When will Jake Arrieta join the rotation? Will it be April 2, 3 or 4 in New York? Will it be during the team’s first homestand, possibly April 7? Arrieta threw 31 pitches in his first spring start Thursday. A bullpen session over the weekend and his next start, likely 50 or so pitches on Tuesday, will offer team officials a better idea on when he’ll be ready.

• Who else will be in the rotation? Nothing has been announced, but Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta appear to be locks with Nola and eventually Arrieta. Zach Eflin could be the fifth starter, if the Phils use one the first time through the rotation. He could also piggyback with Arrieta in New York if the Phils wanted to get Arrieta going that early. Ben Lively and Drew Hutchison remain candidates to make the club as the fifth starter, should the Phils use one during the first 10 days of the season.

• Who's in the bullpen? Hector Neris, Pat Neshek, Tommy Hunter, Luis Garcia and Adam Morgan are locks. That likely leaves three openings. One spot will likely go to a lefty, Hoby Milner or Zac Curtis. Right-handers Edubray Ramos and Victor Arano seem to be vying for one spot and the final one could go to Lively or Hutchison. They are both stretched out and could provide the bullpen length that injured Mark Leiter Jr. would have.

• How about bullpen roles? Manager Gabe Kapler is not one to speak in absolutes. He is loath to define roles in his bullpen or batting order. He’s keeping options open and could assign roles on a nightly basis based on matchups and research that the team’s growing analytics department digs up. Neris went 20 for 20 in save chances while giving up just three runs in 19⅔ innings after June 27 last season. Logic would dictate that he'd be the closer. But will he be every night? Will Kapler use him in a matchup situation in the seventh inning some night? Time will tell. Same for batting order construction.

• Who will be on the bench? Infielder/outfielder Pedro Florimon has played well and looks like a lock. That leaves one or two openings, depending on how many pitchers the Phils open with. Veterans Ryan Flaherty and Adam Rosales were both granted their release. That leaves Jesmuel Valentin and Roman Quinn, both 40-man roster guys, as the two lead candidates. There might be room for both, depending on how many pitchers the Phils open with. It also would not be shocking to see the team send Quinn to Triple A to get more playing time. The Phils appear to be leaning toward carrying Andrew Knapp as their second catcher over Cameron Rupp, who has a minor-league option remaining.