Phillies

Phillies leadoff man Andrew McCutchen out for opening day

Phillies leadoff man Andrew McCutchen out for opening day

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The knee injury that cost Andrew McCutchen four months last season will cost him more time this season.

McCutchen, who had surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee on June 14, will open the season on the injured list, Phillies manager Joe Girardi announced on Friday afternoon.

Girardi's announcement came less than two weeks after McCutchen said it was his "plan" to be ready for opening day.

According to Girardi, McCutchen did not experience a setback and the club hopes to have him back sometime in April.

"The tests continue to improve," Girardi said. "He has made improvements as we've gone along. He continues to get better.

"But as we start to put it together, there's some things, some hurdles that he still has to clear, like cutting. We've seen him out there taking fly balls, we've seen him taking batting practice. But we haven't seen him run full speed.

"Opening day is awful early. It's March 26. I think that had he been ready for opening day it would have been pretty quick. He would have been on the short end of the rehab scale. But we don't expect it to be a real long time. Our thought process is we will get him sometime in April. If it was a normal year, the season used to start April 4th or 5th. But with a high-end athlete like him, he's just not quite ready to go."

McCutchen had already left the ballpark when Girardi made the announcement so he was not available for comment.

The news on McCutchen was not a complete surprise. Less than a month before opening day, he had yet to play in an exhibition game and had shown a limp in supervised outfield drills.

McCutchen's situation creates some camp competition as the Phillies look to fill his spot in left field. It's possible that Adam Haseley and Roman Quinn could both be in the opening day outfield, either in left field or center field. It's also possible that Jay Bruce could play some left field, though he's had elbow issues that impact his throwing. The Phils have two other outfielders, Nick Williams and Kyle Garlick, on the 40-man roster, and there are a host of non-roster players in camp who can play the outfield, including Josh Harrison, Phil Gosselin, Mikie Mahtook, Logan Forsythe, Nick Martini and Neil Walker.

The Phils will also have to fill McCutchen's leadoff spot. Quinn would seem to be a good bet there. Losing McCutchen from the leadoff spot was a huge blow to the Phils last season. He had a .378 on-base percentage, second-best in the majors among leadoff men, when he went down on June 3. Phillies leadoff men had a paltry .295 on-base percentage the rest of the season and that ranked 29th in baseball over that span.

McCutchen, 33, is signed through 2021 as part of a three-year, $50 million contract signed before the 2019 season. 

With McCutchen out, the Phillies will have a different opening day left fielder for the 10th time in as many years.

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Phillies Talk podcast: Just how crazy could the 2020 MLB season get?

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Phillies Talk podcast: Just how crazy could the 2020 MLB season get?

Ricky Bottalico and Corey Seidman discussed some of MLB's reportedly radical ideas to begin playing by June in the latest Phillies Talk podcast.

• Per ESPN's report ... Is a one-city season realistic?

• What if COVID-19 cases increase in Arizona?

• How would players scattered throughout the country get to Arizona? 

• What if one, two or three players test positive after baseball operations open back up?

• Players sitting in the stands is the most amazing visual.

• Is Ricky on board with the electronic strike zone?

• Building relationships with umpires.

• Which Phillies would be most affected by the lack of a crowd?

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How Phillies would have matched up this week against the young Blue Jays

How Phillies would have matched up this week against the young Blue Jays

A beautiful day to begin the week as the Phillies should have been greeting the Toronto Blue Jays at CBP.

I don’t know about you, but Toronto will always have a special place in my Philadelphia sports heart because we share the memory of Hall of Fame pitcher, the late Roy Halladay. Halladay played most of his stellar 16-year career in Toronto, but he played the last quarter of it in Philadelphia.

What he gave us ... was perfect. Literally.

In 2010 alone — Halladay's first season in Philadelphia — he authored a perfect game, a playoff no-hitter and won his second Cy Young Award (he gave Carlos Ruiz a replica trophy for putting down the right signals that season, remember?)

The Phillies would've been playing their second home series. The teams have played six times during the past two seasons with one run separating the total score (27-26). Toronto won four of the six, however.

The teams were scheduled for two more in Toronto in mid-September.

Despite missing the playoffs last season, the Jays have some talent, starting at shortstop with 22-year-old leadoff man Bo Bichette. Bichette played in 46 games last season and hit .311 with a .930 OPS, projecting nearly 40 home runs over a full season. Good glove, good speed too.

Toronto's first four spots in the roster are homegrown talent ending with cleanup up hitter, the young stud, Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. Guerrero made his major league debut last season at age 20 and hit .272 with 15 home runs and 69 RBIs in 123 games.

His father was a former MVP primarily for the Expos and Angels and young Vlad could be headed for a similar career. The elder Guerrero was a major Phillie-killer — his .371 batting average and 31 home runs (91 games) against the Phillies were his most vs. any team.

The first three starters are new faces in the Blue Jays rotation. The club solid lefty signed Hyun-Jin Ryu from the Dodgers, traded for Chase Anderson from the Brewers and signed Tanner Roark from the A’s.

Toronto's closer? Former Phillie Ken “100 Miles” Giles. After a shaky end to his run in Houston, Giles bounced back last season with a 1.87 ERA in 53 innings with 83 strikeouts.

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