Phillies

Phillies players react to Pete Mackanin being out as manager

Phillies players react to Pete Mackanin being out as manager

When Cameron Rupp arrived at Citizens Bank Park on Friday ahead of his team’s game with the New York Mets, he didn’t expect to hear that Pete Mackanin had been fired as the Phillies' manager (see story).

“I was just kind of like ‘Wow’,” Rupp said. “It’s not something that you ever expect or know when something like that is coming. I guess that’s just the nature of the business when they believe it’s time to make a change. That’s something we have to deal with and it’s part of the game.”

Instead, Mackanin, who was under contract through 2018, signed a new contract with the club to be a special assistant to the general manager. He will manage the Phillies' final three games of the 2017 season against the Mets.

In almost three seasons as Phillies manager, Mackanin posted a 172-247 record entering Friday with zero playoff appearances. In 2017, the Phillies finished an abysmal first half at 29-58, but have turned it around to end the season behind the success of their young prospects.

After winning 11 of their last 18 games and 17 of 31 since the end of August, Rupp questioned the timing of the decision.

“We’ve played really good baseball in the second half,” Rupp said. “We’ve had good pitching, offense has been there, and we’re in the top in baseball in offense the last couple months. It’s not something you expect. You don’t come to the ballpark saying, ‘Who’s getting fired?’ or ‘Who’s not going to return?’ You come to the ballpark to get ready for the night and when you hear it, it’s a little surprising.”

Rookie Rhys Hoskins echoed his teammate’s opinion.

“To me, yeah, [it’s odd timing],” Hoskins said. “But I’ve never gone through it. The organization did what it thought was best. We’re still going to go out and play hard and try to win these last three games.”

Hoskins has been one of the driving forces behind the Phillies' second-half surge, posting 18 home runs and 47 RBIs since being called up on Aug. 10. He attributed much of his early success to the 66-year-old Mackanin.

“He’s a great baseball guy,” Hoskins said. “He’s been around the game for a long time and I think that experience he has is pretty invaluable. He was able to pass that off to some of us young guys. I think being around him for the 50 games that I was up here is something that I’ll remember, especially as my first manager in the big leagues.”

After Friday's move, Phillies GM Matt Klentak is clearly pushing the team in a new direction (see story). Now Rupp and the rest of the players can only wait to find what direction that takes them.

“We knew who we were going to be playing for next year and now it’s like ‘OK. Who’s it going to be?,'” Rupp said. “It’s always nice to go into spring training and know what to expect, who’s going to be running camp and now it’s like ‘What’s this camp going to be like? What’s this roster going to look like?’ There’s going to be changes made and decisions that will be made. It will be different for us.”

Nick Williams out briefly with broken nose; Pat Neshek close to being 'biggest bullpen acquisition'

Nick Williams out briefly with broken nose; Pat Neshek close to being 'biggest bullpen acquisition'

A few interesting items on the injury front from Citizens Bank Park:

• Nick Williams is not in Tuesday night’s lineup. He left Monday night’s game after getting hit in the nose by a ball that ricocheted off the right field wall. At first, it looked like Williams had suffered nothing more than a bloody nose. Further evaluation revealed a break. Both Williams and the Phillies are confident he can avoid the disabled list and return very soon.

“I thought I could play today,” Williams said. “I’m ready.”

It does not appear as if Williams suffered a concussion though the team was awaiting the results of some tests.

“As of right now, we don't think there is a concussion,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Our feeling is that he's going to be able to go [Wednesday]. This is nothing long term; it's not a DL. But we do want to be careful with the concussion stuff for today."

• Reliever Pat Neshek, who has not pitched this season because of a shoulder injury then later a forearm injury, is making good progress in Florida. He could be out on a minor-league rehab assignment next week and be back in early July.

“When Pat thinks he’s ready and our evaluators think he’s ready, we’ll gladly get him here right away,” general manager Matt Klentak said. “I couldn’t tell you if that’s going to be one or two outings or four or five outings.”

Klentak signed Neshek to a two-year, $16.25 million contract in the offseason. He believes the veteran right-hander will provide a big boost to the bullpen.

“That may be the single biggest bullpen acquisition any team makes — Pat Neshek rejoining us,” Klentak said. “This guy was as good a setup reliever as there was in all of baseball for six months last season.”

• Mickey Moniak has been out of the Clearwater lineup recently. He had his wisdom teeth removed. He is working his way back into action. Moniak, 20, was the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft.

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Third overall pick Alec Bohm off to hot start in his first game

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Third overall pick Alec Bohm off to hot start in his first game

Just 15 days ago, Alec Bohm heard his name called by the Philadelphia Phillies as the third pick in the 2018 MLB draft. Today, Bohm didn't waste any time showing why the Phillies signed him for $5.85 million. In fact, he showed it on the very first pitch of the very first at-bat of his professional career.

Batting second for the GCL Phillies, Bohm ripped the first pitch he saw to right field for an RBI-triple. The hit came off Anderson Munoz, a 19-year-old pitcher in the Yankees organization. Bohm ended the game 1 for 2, reaching on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the third before the game was suspended.

Bohm, 21, is coming off a big season at Wichita State, where he hit .339 with a .436 on-base percentage and 16 homers as a junior.

Last week, Phillies scouting director Johnny Almaraz said that Bohm will start in rookie ball with the GCL Phillies before making his way to Single-A Williamsport with the hope that he will finish the year at Single-A Lakewood, who have already clinched a spot in the South Atlantic League playoffs (see story). This is the same path Adam Haseley, the eighth overall pick in the 2017 MLB draft, took last year before starting his first full season of professional baseball in Clearwater.

As a 21-year-old who played three years of collegiate baseball, it’s not unfair to expect strong production from Bohm this year, as he will be playing against competition his age or younger than him, for the most part. Two at-bats into his career, he’s already off to a good start.

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