Phillies

Tim Tebow's baseball bid 'kind of a slap in the face,' says Phillies reliever

Tim Tebow's baseball bid 'kind of a slap in the face,' says Phillies reliever

CHICAGO — David Hernandez has great respect for what Tim Tebow did on the football field.

But as for Tebow's bid to become a Major League Baseball player at age 29 after not having played the game since he was a junior in high school — well, Hernandez has some strong opinions.

The Phillies' relief pitcher first voiced them on Twitter when Tebow announced his intentions two weeks ago and echoed them when it was announced Tuesday that the former Heisman trophy-winning quarterback had scheduled a private showcase for major-league scouts to be held next week in Los Angeles. As a matter of curiosity and due diligence, the Phillies will have a scout peek in on Tebow's workout. As many as 20 other teams are expected to be on hand as well.

"I think it's ridiculous," Hernandez said of Tebow's bid to reach the majors. "Hats off to him for getting an opportunity, but I just don't think it's very plausible that he'll get anywhere.

"Nothing against him, but just from the standpoint that getting to the major leagues is a long grind. It's not easy. There's a lot of work that goes into it. 

"It's kind of a slap in the face for him to say, 'I think I'll grab my things and go play pro baseball.' It's not that easy."

Hernandez, 31, pitched in high school and college then spent more than four seasons in the minors before getting to the majors with Baltimore in 2009. Before signing with the Phillies last winter, he pitched for Arizona and survived Tommy John surgery. 

In other words, he's put in the time. He knows how difficult it is to make the climb to the majors.

So does catcher Cameron Rupp. He was recruited to play linebacker at Iowa, but baseball was his first love and playing in the majors his goal. He played three years for his home state Texas Longhorns before being selected by the Phillies in the third round of the 2010 draft. 

Rupp laughed when he first heard of Tebow's intention. 

He remained skeptical when he heard Tebow had lined up a showcase.

"If that's what he wants to do — good luck," Rupp said. "Guys play a long time trying to get where we are. And those that are here are trying to stay here. Staying here is the tough part.

"High school is one thing. A lot of guys play high school and were good and get to pro ball and are overmatched. He's an athlete, no question. But you can't go 10 years without seeing live pitching and all of the sudden some guy is throwing 95 (mph). That will be a challenge. 

"I don't know if he thinks baseball is easy. It's not. It'll be interesting."

Bench coach Larry Bowa is a huge sports fan, loves football and loves what Tebow did on the field at the University of Florida. 

But Bowa has been in pro ball for 50 years. He played in the majors for 16 years and has managed and coached in the majors. Like Hernandez and Rupp, Bowa is skeptical about Tebow's chances and he wonders about the former quarterback's overall understanding of the challenge he faces.

"Whosever idea it is, they don't respect the game of baseball," Bowa said. "It's a hard game. You don't come in at age 28 or 29. I'm not saying he's not a good athlete, but this is a hard game and there are a lot of good athletes in pro ball that never get to the big leagues. 

"I don't think it can happen. There are guys 28 or 29 that are getting released everyday. How can you take 10 years off and all of the sudden be facing guys throwing 95, guys throwing sliders?"

Tebow did show some baseball tools as an outfielder/pitcher in high school. He hit .494 with four homers and 30 RBIs as a junior at Nease HS in Ponte Vedra, Florida, before giving up baseball to focus on football. He played three seasons in the NFL with the Broncos and Jets but failed to stick. 

Clearly, he still has the competitiveness, desire and work ethic that he took to the gridiron. It's just difficult to see that ever getting him to the major leagues. 

But if he ever does ...

"Who knows, maybe I'll face him," critic David Hernandez said with a laugh. "Hopefully he doesn't hit a home run off me. That would be the ultimate comeback."

Phillies add Adonis Medina and 2 others to 40-man roster, avoid losing them in Rule 5 draft

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Phillies add Adonis Medina and 2 others to 40-man roster, avoid losing them in Rule 5 draft

The Phillies on Tuesday added three minor-league prospects to their 40-man roster, thus protecting them from being selected by another club in next month’s Rule 5 draft.

The team added right-handed pitchers Edgar Garcia and Adonis Medina as well as middle infielder Arquimides Gamboa.

Garcia, a 22-year-old reliever, split the 2018 season between Double A and Triple A and recorded a 3.64 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 52 games. He struck out 72 batters and walked 27 in 64⅓ innings and held opposing hitters to a .206 batting average. He could push for work in the Phillies' bullpen sometime in 2019.

Medina, 21, is one of the organization’s top starting pitching prospects. He went 10-4 with a 4.12 ERA in 22 games (21 starts) for Single A Clearwater in 2018. He struck out 123 and walked 36 in 111⅓ innings. He projects to pitch at Double A in 2019.

Gamboa, 21, is a talented defensive shortstop who could eventually be pushed to second base as top prospect Luis Garcia rises. A switch-hitter, Gamboa batted just .214 with a .304 on-base percentage in 114 games at Clearwater in 2018. He struck out 111 times.

Among those left unprotected were outfielder Jose Pujols and catcher Deivi Grullon.

Pujols, who turned 23 in September, was the Florida State League player of the year in 2018. He hit .301 with 18 homers, 58 RBIs and a .887 OPS in 95 games at Clearwater. He struck out 127 times in 352 at-bats.

Grullon, a rugged 22-year-old, hit .273 with 21 homers, 59 RBIs and a .825 OPS in 90 games at Double A Reading.

The additions left the Phillies’ 40-man roster at 38. Justin Bour remains on the roster even though multiple sources say he has cleared waivers. The next important roster date arrives on Nov. 30, which is the deadline for offering a contract to a salary arbitration-eligible player.

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Phillies to hold 3 retirement ceremonies for Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard

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Phillies to hold 3 retirement ceremonies for Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard

Phillies fans should prepare for another nostalgic year at the ballpark. 

Prior to games in May, June and July, the Phillies will hold retirement ceremonies for Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.

Rollins' ceremony will take place Saturday night, May 4, when the Phillies host the Nationals at 7:05.

Then comes Utley's night, Friday, June 21 against the Marlins at 7:05.

Howard will be honored Sunday, July 14, when the Phils face the Nationals at 1:05.

Rollins never officially retired but hasn't played since June 2016 with the White Sox. 

Howard retired the first week of September, and Utley hung up his cleats once the playoffs ended. 

In many ways, 2018 was the final chapter in the book of the 2008 Phillies. Jayson Werth also retired in late June after his situation with the Mariners didn't work out. Carlos Ruiz hasn't officially retired but did not find a team in 2018.

Cole Hamels and Ryan Madson, though, are still going strong as the final two active members of that championship team.

Fans interested in making it to all three ceremonies can do so with the six-game Phillies Legends Ticket pack, which includes the three retirement nights along with any other three games.

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