Phillies

Freddy Galvis a Gold Glove finalist for 2nd straight year

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Freddy Galvis a Gold Glove finalist for 2nd straight year

For the second straight year, Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis is a Rawlings Gold Glove finalist.

Galvis had by far the best defensive season of his career in 2017, making almost all of the routine plays and most of the difficult ones. He committed just seven errors in 637 defensive chances for a .989 fielding percentage.

Last season, Galvis committed eight errors in 625 chances. The 2016 award went to Giants SS Brandon Crawford.

The only three shortstops in Phillies history to win a Gold Glove award are Jimmy Rollins, Larry Bowa and Bobby Wine.

Gold Glove winners will be announced on MLB Network and MLB.com at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 17. The other two National League finalists are Crawford (Giants) and Corey Seager (Dodgers).

The Phillies are at a crossroads with Galvis. He played all 162 games for them in 2017 but has an uncertain role moving forward with J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery ready and Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco still in the fold. 

It would be extremely surprising if the Phillies open next season with all five of Crawford, Galvis, Hernandez, Kingery and Franco still in the organization.

Offensively, Galvis hit .255/.309/.382 this past season with 12 homers and 61 RBIs. He hit eight fewer home runs than he did in 2016 but his on-base percentage was 35 points higher. The league average OBP from shortstops last season was .318.

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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Kale, Pilates and text messages from Tom Brady are all part of Bryce Harper's longevity plan

Kale, Pilates and text messages from Tom Brady are all part of Bryce Harper's longevity plan

CLEARWATER, Fla. – It’s a relationship between two of the biggest superstars in American sports.

One is still on top of his game at age 41.

The other wants to be on top of his game when he’s that age.

Bryce Harper and Tom Brady.

Yep.

They’re buddies.

Not buddies in the typical hang-out-and-have-a-cold-one kind of way. In truth, they’ve never met each other in person, nor have they ever actually spoken to each other.

But the two stars do communicate fairly regularly via text message. Harper sent a congratulatory text after Brady won his sixth Super Bowl with the New England Patriots in February. A month later, Brady reached out after Harper signed his $330-million deal with the Phillies.

The relationship between the two men started a couple of years ago when Harper reached out to Brady on Instagram.

“I love watching the NFL,” Harper said. “Seeing the type of person he is, the type of player and teammate he is, the type of work ethic he has -- I just wanted to get to know him.

“You see what he does on a daily basis, how he goes about it, his life on and off the field, how he takes care of his body, a family man like he is – he’s somebody I want to follow, somebody you look at and try to understand how he got to that point, how he keeps doing it, how he maintains it.”

Harper, 26, broke into the majors when he was 19 and wants to play – productively – into his 40s, like Brady has. Part of Harper’s motivation in initially reaching out to Brady was to pick up a few tips on that. Brady has been generous in sharing his wisdom with Harper. The two men communicate about exercise programs, diet and other keys to competitive success.

“He’s given me advice on conditioning and I try to incorporate that into my workouts,” Harper said. “The big thing is you have to find out what works for you. Pliability is huge for me. Pilates really works for me. Every Tuesday and Thursday, I’m in there with pregnant women doing Pilates with them.”

Harper has a copy of Brady’s cookbook, The TB12 Nutritional Manual, and uses many recipes from it.

“Eating right is huge,” Harper said. “He signed one of his cookbooks for me and I follow that. Dairy-free. Avocado ice cream.”

Huh? Dairy-free? Didn’t Harper recently reach out to Phillies fans on social media and ask where he could find the best ice cream in Philadelphia?

“Yeah, I cheat now and then,” he said with a laugh. “But I do try stay away from a lot of that stuff so my body doesn’t break down.”

Harper has his diet analyzed every offseason.

“I don’t eat quinoa because it’s a big inflammatory for me,” he said.

His personal superfood?

“Kale,” he said.

Yum.

Harper has only seen Brady in person one time; he was in the stands in Phoenix when Brady led the Patriots to victory in Super Bowl XLIX in February 2015.

“I’d love to meet him,” Harper said.

Hmm. The Phillies will be in Boston in August.

"I’ve already let him know that," Harper said.

If a meeting takes place, maybe these two buddies can hang out and have a cold one.

Uh, scratch that idea.

Harper doesn’t drink. Never has.

“My body is my temple,” he said. “Everyone talks about the money. But, for me, I wanted years, I wanted to play this game for a long time and build roots somewhere. For me, a 13-year deal was huge. I have to be able to prolong my career and prolong my body and that starts with what I do now.”

Tom Brady would offer a thumbs-up emoji to that.

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