No initial roster moves for Phillies as rosters expand for September

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No initial roster moves for Phillies as rosters expand for September

MIAMI — The Phillies’ travel agent could be feeling left out.

On Friday, the first day in which major-league rosters can expand by as many as 15 more players, no new Phillies rookies arrived at Marlins Park, and there was a simple reason for that.

The kids, most of them at least, are already here, many of them called up long ago.

There was one new arrival on Friday. Veteran reliever Juan Nicasio, who was acquired off of waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday — which happened to be his 31st birthday — showed up.

But other than that, it was all quiet on the roster front.

“A lot of the young guys who we would’ve called up are already here,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.

Mackanin has a point, and here’s a look:
Catcher Andrew Knapp made his major-league debut on April 6. Phillies right-hander Mark Leiter made his major-league debut on April 28, two days before right-hander Nick Pivetta.

Righty reliever Ricardo Pinto came up May 31. June brought Ben Lively (June 3), lefty reliever Hoby Milner (June 24) and rightfielder Nick Williams (June 30).

On July 29, righty reliever Jesen Therrien made his debut. And August brought first baseman Rhys Hoskins (Aug. 10) and righty reliever Yacksel Rios (Aug. 22).

All 10 of those rookies are still on the roster. And Jorge Alfaro, who was a September call-up last season, is also already here (Aug. 4).

September reinforcements, likely next week, could include outfielders Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr, both of whom are trying to rehabilitate hamstring injuries.

Herrera, in a rehab game at Double A Reading on Thursday, went 2 for 2 with two runs scored, two RBIs, one homer to dead center and one bat flip.

“Odubel may be a little bit ahead of Altherr,” Mackanin said. “But they are both doing OK.”

As for 22-year-old shortstop and 2013 first-round pick J.P. Crawford, he could join the Phillies on Tuesday.

“I’m not sure who’s coming, but there are a few names who have been dropped,” Mackanin said. “I will find out in the next day or two. Our Triple A season ends Monday, and I imagine we will see somebody on Tuesday.

“It’s always exciting to see young players, to see how they look, especially if they are coming to the big leagues for the first time. It’s always fun to welcome them to the big leagues. This is a big step for all of them.”

The 2017 Phillies, more than most teams, certainly know all about that.

Phillies-Padres postponed, rescheduled as part of doubleheader Sunday

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Phillies-Padres postponed, rescheduled as part of doubleheader Sunday

Saturday night’s Phillies-San Diego Padres game has been postponed because of rain.

The game will be made up Sunday as part of a separate admission doubleheader.

The start of Sunday’s regularly scheduled game (game 50 ticket) will be moved from 1:30 p.m. to 12:05 p.m. Gates will open at 11:05 a.m.

The makeup game (game 49 ticket) will start at 6:05 p.m. According to the team, fans holding tickets for Saturday night's game may use them for Sunday night’s 6:05 p.m. game. Fans unable to attend that game may exchange them for any remaining home game this season.

Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta will be the Phillies’ starting pitchers in Sunday’s doubleheader. Pivetta will start Game 1 and Velasquez will take the mound for Game 2.

The Phillies returned from the All-Star break and posted an 11-5 win over the Padres on Friday night. That game began a stretch of 19 of 29 games against non-contending teams for the Phillies.

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It didn't take long for Freddy Galvis' defense to wow the Padres

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It didn't take long for Freddy Galvis' defense to wow the Padres

It didn't take long for Freddy Galvis to open the eyes of his new teammates.

"I can think of maybe two balls all year long where he did not make a play," Padres manager Andy Green told the San Diego Union-Tribune at the end of June.

"It's the most accurate arm I've ever seen from a shortstop," first baseman Eric Hosmer said in the same piece.

The Phils obviously didn't move on from Galvis because of his defense. They moved on from him because he never reached a higher level with his bat and because they had two young infielders — Scott Kingery, J.P. Crawford — they were ready to move forward with.

The Galvis trade was a good one for the Phillies. In exchange for one year of his services, they got a solid young pitcher with upside in Enyel De Los Santos.

It was a move they had to make because Galvis will be a free agent after the season and this gave them the extended look they needed at Kingery and Crawford.

There's no question, though, that the 2018 Phils have missed Galvis' defense. Phillies shortstops have committed 13 errors, seventh most in baseball. Padres shortstops have committed five errors, fewest in the National League and second fewest in the majors.

At the beginning of Galvis' major-league career, his flashy plays stood out but he wasn't as effective with routine plays as Jimmy Rollins was. That changed after Galvis made 17 errors in 2015. In the three seasons since, he's committed just 20 errors combined.

Galvis can make the flashy play, but he also makes almost every single routine play. He knows where to position himself for every hitter, how quickly to release the ball to throw out a speedy runner. 

Over the years, more than a few teammates have commended Galvis' baseball instincts as some of the best they've ever seen. You can't quantify baseball instincts the way you can quantify offensive stats, so there's a portion of fans that will always scoff when Galvis' value is brought up.

"His internal clock, as far when he releases the ball, how much times he has, he just knows all that stuff beforehand," Hosmer told the Union-Tribune. "He's about as fundamentally sound as any infielder I've ever seen."

The Phillies have not gotten the look at Crawford they wanted in 2018. Injuries have limited him to just 34 games, 112 plate appearances and 93 defensive chances at shortstop.

As for Kingery, he should benefit from the everyday playing at shortstop. He's improved defensively as the season has worn on. In a few years, he'll likely be even better with the glove — and, equally important, a more selective hitter.

Galvis has hit .234/.294/.331 this season. Phillies shortstops have hit .238/.286/.352 and played worse defense. 

If this ends up being the worst offensive year of Kingery's career, then his worst numbers would fall in line with Galvis' career averages (.244/.288/.367).

It will be interesting to see where Galvis ends up this offseason. A team with a powerful and deep lineup — the Brewers, the Diamondbacks — can win with Galvis and effectively hide him in the 8-spot. If the Phillies had better offenses all those years, the weak aspects of his game wouldn't have been as pronounced.

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