Phillies

Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernandez likely headed to disabled list

Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernandez likely headed to disabled list

ST. LOUIS -- Phillies leadoff man Cesar Hernandez did not simply get a day off on Saturday. The second baseman is hurting and will probably end up on the disabled list.
 
Hernandez suffered an oblique/abdominal injury making a throw in Friday night's game at Busch Stadium.
 
Andres Blanco started at second base Saturday afternoon. The Phillies are expected to use Howie Kendrick at second base during Hernandez' expected absence. Kendrick broke into the majors as a second baseman but has been playing left field for the Phillies. Daniel Nava could move into the outfield rotation and get time in left field.
 
Hernandez's injury is sure to get fans clamoring for a look at Scott Kingery, who impressed in spring training and is tearing up the Double A Eastern League, hitting .304 with 17 homers, 33 RBIs and a 1.000 OPS. It's unclear whether Kingery, 23, would come up if Hernandez was out for an extended time. The Phillies' front office has been steadfast in saying it will not jeopardize a player's development by rushing him to the majors. Kingery, in fact, has not even made the jump to Triple A yet despite the indications that he is ready for that challenge.
 
It usually takes a minimum of three weeks for a player to recover from an oblique/abdominal injury. Kendrick missed six weeks earlier this season with an injury in that area.
 
Reliever Joaquin Benoit (knee) will be ready to come off the disabled list Sunday. He could move into Hernandez's roster spot if Hernandez is placed on the disabled list, as expected.

Former Phillie Chase Utley to join Dodgers broadcast team for select games

Former Phillie Chase Utley to join Dodgers broadcast team for select games

Chase Utley wasn't the biggest or fastest player.

He always found advantages, though, through preparation and guile, outsmarting the opposition and capitalizing on the finest of details.

Phillies fans will never forget the fake throw to first to then nab Jason Bartlett at the plate during Game 5 of the 2008 Fall Classic, such an Utley-type play on the night the city was crowned world champions of baseball.

And how about the moment in 2006 when Utley was bestowed his famous nickname? "Chase Utley, you are the man!" the great Harry Kalas said after No. 26 raced home from second base on a high chopper to the mound.

Everyone knew Utley's smarts would make him a great coach.

They would also make him a hell of an analyst.

Fans will get the pleasure of hearing Utley provide his insight this season out in Los Angeles. It was announced Wednesday night that the retired second baseman will join SportsNet LA in studio for a few Dodgers games.

Utley joked that he'll need some pointers from retired Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully.

Imagine putting those two together in the broadcast booth?

Now that's talkin' ball.

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Bryce Harper launches a rocket — and that wasn't even his most impressive clout on 2-HR day

Bryce Harper launches a rocket — and that wasn't even his most impressive clout on 2-HR day

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Bryce Harper is heating up. One day after stroking his first base hit of the Grapefruit League schedule, he swatted a pair of home runs in the Phillies’ 13-6 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.

Harper crushed both balls and they disappeared over the right-field wall in the blink of an eye.

“I thought the first one was a rocket and had incredible carry, and the second one, I thought, was squared up even better," manager Gabe Kapler said. 

“And there was one foul ball before the second home run that he hit that we saw such tremendous bat speed. We were at a perfect angle on the side to see the bat whistling through the zone. Looks great.”

The Phillies had 12 hits in the game and six were homers. J.T. Realmuto clubbed his fourth of the spring. Andrew Knapp, Andrew McCutchen and Gift Ngope also homered.

Velasquez inconsistent

Vince Velasquez allowed five hits, including a pair of homers, and three runs over 3 1/3 innings.

Velasquez has not shined in Grapefruit League action. He gave up five runs in two innings in his previous Grapefruit League outing.

Velasquez is out of minor-league options and the Phillies are committed to giving him a look in the rotation. But his leash might not be long with Jerad Eickhoff and Drew Anderson percolating in the minors.

The Phillies will likely skip Velasquez’s spot in the rotation during the first 10 days of the season. He could work out of the bullpen in that time. His next outing will likely be Tuesday, the day after the Phillies head north, in a minor-league game in Clearwater. He will look to get to 90 pitches in that outing.

Roster stuff

With opening day a week away, the Phils continued to thin their spring roster. Outfielders Dylan Cozens and Adam Haseley and pitchers Anderson and James Pazos were sent to the minors. Infielders Gregorio Petit and Trevor Plouffe and pitchers Edward Parades and Jeremy Bleich were released.

In addition, infielders Phil Gosselin, Gift Ngope and Matt McBride and outfielders Shane Robinson and Lane Adams were informed that they will not make the big-league club. They will stay in camp through Monday then report to minor-league camp.

The Phillies don’t have to set a roster until noon on opening day, but will likely do it before then. We examined the likely roster here (see story).

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