Phillies start to really find out about young relievers as win streak ends

Phillies start to really find out about young relievers as win streak ends


ANAHEIM, Calif. — Drew Anderson was called up from Double A Reading on Tuesday. He’s headed back there Wednesday, manager Pete Mackanin said after the Phillies’ 7-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, with a corresponding roster move set to be announced (see Instant Replay)

In between those two cross-country flights, the 23-year-old made his major-league debut. He got to pitch against two-time American League MVP Mike Trout. And with his mom, dad and girlfriend in the crowd at Angel Stadium, Anderson struck out the best player in the game.

“It was a rush,” Anderson said, a mixture of awe and giddiness still evident on his face. “It was fun. I’m glad I got in, got an inning and struck out Mike Trout.”

After the Phillies traded Joaquin Benoit on Monday — a transaction Mackanin found out about in the fifth inning of the 7-6 win over the Atlanta Braves — and with Luis Garcia and closer Hector Neris not available after pitching against the Braves, Anderson became the stopgap option to fill out the roster for a night. 

In the eighth inning, Anderson got his chance to play. He gave up one earned run, while another was scored as unearned because of a throwing error. 

When Trout came up to bat, Anderson threw the first pitch over his head. 

“It was like, ‘Oh, boy. Here we go,’” Anderson said. 

But then he got after the perennial All-Star. Trout struck out on a foul tip, and Anderson had the story of all stories to share, whether it is in the Fightin Phils’ locker room later this week or at home 20 years from now. 

For the Phillies, the story in the bullpen now is about figuring out who can contribute. Mackanin knew what relievers Benoit and Pat Neshek, also dealt in the last week, could provide as the bridge from a starting pitcher to Neris. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough chances this season for the veterans to protect a lead.

After the Phillies traded the two proven arms, Mackanin wants to see if any of the youngsters on his roster can show signs of that same consistency. Garcia is set to handle the eighth inning for the moment, Neris has converted 10 of 13 save opportunities, but everything else is to be determined 

The time is right to see what 24-year-old Jesen Therrien, 26-year-old Mark Leiter Jr., 26-year-old Hoby Milner or 27-year-old Adam Morgan can provide, Mackanin said.  

“I don’t think we’re going to win the pennant. You never know, but I've got to find out if they can be a piece,” Mackanin said before the game. 

Leiter handled the seventh inning against the Angels. He was promptly taught a harsh lesson by Albert Pujols, who crushed his 608th career home run to put the game out of reach. 

Aaron Nola had pitched a solid game before that, giving up a two-out, two-run double to Pujols in the fifth that erased an early 1-0 lead for the Phillies on a Tommy Joseph RBI. But the offense finally cooled off after five straight wins. Add in a couple of mistakes to an all-time great, the streak was over.    

“I wish that (Angels manager Mike) Scioscia gave Pujols the night off because he did some damage,” Mackanin said. “Nola pitched very well, did a good job, continued to pitch well. We stranded too many baserunners, couldn’t get any offense going after winning those five in a row. We kind of just didn’t swing the bats that well.”

Still, the Phillies had one moment worth remembering in Anderson’s one strikeout. 

“You know what, the runs that scored aside, he struck out one of the best, if not arguably the best player in baseball,” Mackanin said. “I was thrilled that he did that, just for him. He had a smile on his face.”

Said Anderson: “It was a good experience. Can’t wait to do it again.” 

Injury updates on 7 Phillies, including J.T. Realmuto and Jay Bruce

Injury updates on 7 Phillies, including J.T. Realmuto and Jay Bruce

WASHINGTON — Some updates on the wounded Phillies, who not only have eight players on the injured list but also have a shorter bench than usual with two everyday starters banged up.

CF Roman Quinn

Quinn was activated off the IL Monday and will bat sixth in Monday's lineup against tough Nationals lefty Patrick Corbin. Formerly a switch-hitter, Quinn will now bat exclusively from the right side.

Because he has been hurt so frequently, the Phillies will be cautious with Quinn. The tentative plan is to use him off the bench Tuesday as the Phillies pay attention to how he bounces back from the start Monday.

Quinn can still provide value for this team, especially with the collection of injuries to centerfielders.

OF Jay Bruce

Bruce (hamstring) was out of Monday's lineup as a precaution — and also because Corbin was the opponent — but will likely be available to pinch-hit.

C J.T. Realmuto

Realmuto got a second straight day off Monday as he recovers from taking a foul ball to the groin midway through Saturday's game.

Realmuto caught the first 105 innings in the month of June and was due for a day off but didn't want it to come like this.

"We want him to be feeling himself," manager Gabe Kapler said. "Doesn't mean that he's going to feel perfect by the time we put him back in the lineup but we definitely want to be sensitive to the fact that he's still a little bit sore. I don't think it's so much about him re-injuring the area as it is not doing anything else that might cause a problem."

RHP Tommy Hunter

As expected, Hunter (flexor strain) will begin a rehab assignment Monday night with Class A Clearwater. He isn't too far away from making his season debut.

LHP Adam Morgan

Morgan (flexor strain) threw a bullpen session Sunday for the second time in four days. Last week, Kapler indicated Morgan may be able to return this upcoming weekend. There should be more clarity tonight or Tuesday on his status.

RHP Jerad Eickhoff

Eickhoff was placed on the injured list Monday with biceps tendinitis, a day after allowing five runs and two more homers in one inning of relief.

Eickhoff first felt the nagging injury in Milwaukee on May 24 but tried to play through it, as most guys do, for better or for worse.

"Just been something that's been bugging him a little bit and not allowing him to get loose the way he wants to get loose," Kapler said. "Out of respect for one of our hardest workers and most prepared individuals, it makes sense to really pay attention to that and protect him and get him back in his best physical baseball condition."

It's the second Phillies injury this week in which a player tried to play through pain and had to miss some time because of it. Bruce first felt his hamstring tightness "three or four days" before exiting Saturday's game, according to the player.

Would Kapler rather his guys tell him when they first start feeling pain?

"I understand what it's like to be a player and want to play through things that feel nagging," he said. "These guys are professionals, they all want as many opportunities as they can possibly get. We talk a lot about the more communication, the better. I also understand the position our players are in."

OF Adam Haseley

Haseley remains out with a groin injury but is making some progress. He took batting practice and shagged fly balls Monday in D.C.

The next step would be practicing baseball-like movements such as bursting out of the batter's box and simulating a stolen base attempt.

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Odubel Herrera's administrative leave extended through July 1

Odubel Herrera's administrative leave extended through July 1

Administrative leave for Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera has been extended through July 1, Major League Baseball announced on Monday afternoon. 

Herrera, 27, has been on administrative leave since May 28 after he was arrested last month in New Jersey on a charge of domestic violence. 

Earlier on Monday, the Atlantic City Municipal Court announced that Herrera’s attorney waived an initial arraignment scheduled for today. His next court appearance will be scheduled by the court. 

Herrera could face a suspension without pay from MLB. Discipline in these cases is handed down directly from the commissioner. 

The alleged incident took place at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, according to the police report. The police report also said the victim “had visible signs of injury to her arms and neck that was sustained after being assaulted by her boyfriend, David Odubel Herrera, during a dispute.” 

As the legal process plays out, the Phillies have already removed five banners that featured Herrera’s likeness — four from light poles and one from the concourse at Citizens Bank Park. 

In early June, Phillies vice president of communications Bonnie Clark said, “We don’t believe it’s appropriate to display them while the investigations is going on.”

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