Former first-round pick Adam Haseley makes an impression in his first big-league camp

Former first-round pick Adam Haseley makes an impression in his first big-league camp

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Outfielder Adam Haseley, the Phillies’ first-round pick in the 2017 draft, is in big-league camp for the first time. He knows he is not a candidate to open the season in the majors, but that doesn’t mean he can’t make an impression.

He did just that in a 12-7 win over the Detroit Tigers on Monday.

Though he had none of the Phillies’ 13 hits, Haseley still caught manager Gabe Kapler’s attention with his offense. In particular, Kapler loved how Haseley beat out a ground ball to second base (it was scored an error), stole second and came around to score on a pair of fly balls in the eighth inning.

“He generated a run almost entirely on his own,” Kapler said.

Earlier in the game, Haseley rocketed a fly ball to right-center. On a still day, it would have landed on the grassy berm beyond the wall. On a windy afternoon, it was an out.

But Kapler was still impressed.

“Oh, my gosh, that ball was blistered,” Kapler said. “That wind was knocking down balls all game. But he crushed it. We thought it was a home run off the bat. I don’t think anyone could have gotten the ball out right there.”

One of the things that jumps out to folks seeing Haseley play for the first time is the downward plane on his left-handed stroke. It is a throwback swing, starkly different from the uppercut that many hitters are being taught and employing as they look for launch angle to get the ball in the air.

“I’m certainly not trying to go opposite of how baseball is going,” Haseley said. “I just think that there are different ways that different players can get to the same result. I think for me it looks different than other players.

“I’ve always handled the ball into left-center and left field well and I think it’s just more of a handsy kind of swing. It’s what I’ve always been used to. It’s the only way I’ve ever swung.”

Haseley said he has not been pressured to add more loft to his swing, but it is something he is aware of.

“It’s something I work on,” he said. “I want to drive the ball in the air more. But for any swing, if you hit the ball out in front, you’re going to hit the ball in the air.”

Kapler likes Haseley’s swing and believes it has benefits.

“He gets a lot of back spin,” Kapler said. “You’ll see a lot of crisp ground balls. You’ll see a lot of line drives back through the middle, so much so that we’ve joked when he’s going against our pitchers in live BP we need to be careful about it because we don’t want to get one of our guys hurt.

“It’s a good swing. Look, a swing that is a little bit more level (like Haseley’s) sometimes can play well with fastballs at the top of the zone. It’s one of the things that we know pitchers are strategizing to do around the league, especially guys with a lot of life at the top of the zone. So sometimes to combat that, a little less uphill attack angle can be advantageous at those times.”

Haseley, who turns 23 in April, was picked No. 8 overall out of the University of Virginia in 2017. He hit a combined .305 with 11 homers, 55 RBIs and a .795 OPS between Single A Clearwater and Double A Reading last season. It will be interesting to see where he opens the season. He had just 136 at-bats at Double A last season, but hit .316 with an .880 OPS. Maybe the Phils will push him to Triple A at the outset of the season or maybe they’ll start him back in Double A and have him work his way there.

Haseley is ready for whatever comes his way.

“I just want to build on what I did last year and keep trying to climb the ladder,” he said.

Health update

Odubel Herrera’s hamstring injury is now classified as a Grade 1 strain. Kapler had initially hoped that Herrera would play early next week, but that probably won’t happen and there is no timetable for his return.

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Joe Girardi asks Phillies players to give him their hearts — and their trots

Joe Girardi asks Phillies players to give him their hearts — and their trots

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Joe Girardi officially opened his first Phillies spring training camp by telling the players to give him their hearts.

“He knows if he can get our heart, he’ll get our best on the field,” J.T. Realmuto said.

Both Girardi and managing partner John Middleton stressed that the goal was to play deep into October. The Phillies have not been to the postseason since 2011.

Middleton reminded the players of the passion that Philadelphia fans have and urged them to give back to the fans by playing the game hard and respecting it.

Girardi roamed the fields of Carpenter Complex during the workout. He lightened the mood at the end of a base-running drill by asking a group of players, including Jean Segura, to show off their home run trots.

“Just to have some fun,” Girardi said after the workout.

The home-run trot "drill" came with some instructions.

“Make sure you run hard before you know it's out,” he told the players. “The big thing is if you run hard to first, there is a great chance it'll be out by then. Then you don't get caught on first base or caught on second base when you should be a base ahead. Just run hard.”

Phillies pitchers will begin throwing live batting practice during Tuesday’s workout.

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Jean Segura hopes better lifestyle choices equal better season in 2020

Jean Segura hopes better lifestyle choices equal better season in 2020

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Phillies infielder Jean Segura bared his soul a little before Monday's first full-squad workout at Camp Clearwater.

He talked about the mental effect that his connection to teammate Andrew McCutchen's season-ending knee issue had on him last year. He talked about the difficulties that moving around the batting order around caused him. He talked about giving up whiskey and eating better this winter, about losing 14 pounds, all in hopes of having a better season in 2020.

"I have to enjoy what I do," a noticeably trimmer Segura said. "I think last year, I didn't do it too much because there was a lot of stress — Cutch went down, you know, a lot of situation going on with the lineup, you know, I'm hitting four, I never hit four in my life. So, there were a lot of things going on in the season that sometimes affect players."

Segura hit .280 with a .743 OPS last season, significant drops from the marks of .308 and .803 he'd averaged the previous three seasons.

His work at shortstop also slipped as he went from a plus-5 to a minus-5 in defensive runs saved, according to Fangraphs.

Declines like these might lead a front office to consider moving on from a player, but the Phillies figure to have Segura for a while as they owe him $45 million through 2022.

The Phils will look for ways to get more out of Segura this season and one of them is a position change. With newcomer Didi Gregorius taking over at shortstop, Segura figures to open the season at second base, a position he thrived at for Arizona in 2016. Segura will get some looks at third base during spring training, but he's never played there and when the curtain goes up on the regular season, he will likely be at second with Scott Kingery at third.

Segura, who turns 30 next month, said he was not slighted by the addition of Gregorius.

"We added another good player," he said. "As a professional baseball player, I have to understand what's best for the team, what's best for the organization. Whatever they want me to do, I'll do it. I just want to play and have fun."

Segura had a lot of fun the first two months of last season. He ended May hitting .301 with an .809 OPS. 

On June 3, in the first inning of a game at San Diego, the good vibes that Segura had been feeling went away when McCutchen went down with a season-ending ACL tear in his left knee. McCutchen blew out the knee in a rundown that resulted from Segura's not running out an infield popup.

McCutchen's injury was a huge loss for the Phillies. At the time, he had the second-best on-base percentage (.378) of any leadoff man in the majors. After the injury, Phillies leadoff men recorded at .295 on-base percentage, second worst in the majors, over the remainder of the season.

Though McCutchen absolved his teammate of any blame — and continues to do so — Segura was and still is bothered by the incident.

"It was frustrating for me," he said. "We were hot. I was hot. And when that happened because I didn't hustle down the line, a lot of people judged me for that. A lot of people didn't, but at the end of the day, it's what I think and I think I didn't hustle. I don't think it was my fault. He got hurt maybe because that day he was going to get hurt. At the end of the day, people looked at it like it was my fault, but it's a baseball game and you can't control a baseball game.

"But at the end of the day it affected my mentality because one of my teammates went down because I didn't run down the line. I thought about it a lot through the season. My body, my energy level went down. I was kind of frustrated about it because at that time he was hot, he was leading off and I was hitting second. It was like a two-punch right away and when you don't see that two-punch right away when we start a game, it's tough."

Segura spent the winter getting in better physical shape and he believes it will help him.

"You can put 14 pounds on your shoulder and go running and you'll feel how heavy it is when you get tired," he said. "That happens sometimes when you're overweight and you play shortstop and you stress a lot."

His off-season fitness program included eating better, sleeping more and giving up whiskey. He still might have an occasional glass of wine with his wife, but no more whiskey.

"I think everybody in this sport drinks whiskey and now I'm not drinking anymore," he said. "Now I feel pretty good. I feel excited and ready to go."

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