Phillies

Health update on prospect Sixto Sanchez; Future rotation excites Gabe Kapler

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NBC Sports Philadelphia

Health update on prospect Sixto Sanchez; Future rotation excites Gabe Kapler

Three weeks after going on the minor-league disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow, prized pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez continues to go through a rehabilitation program at the Phillies’ complex in Clearwater.

According to director of player development Joe Jordan, Sanchez recently traveled to Philadelphia for a follow-up exam.

“The news was good,” Jordan said. “He’s much improved.”

Sanchez, who turns 20 on July 29, will remain on a rehab program for the foreseeable future as the Phillies continue to exercise caution with him.

“Hopefully we’ll get him back out there sometime this summer,” Jordan said.

Sanchez had been pitching for Single A Clearwater at the time of his injury. In four starts leading up to the injury, he had allowed just two earned runs in 25 2/3 innings while striking out 29 and walking four. In his last start on June 3, he delivered seven shutout innings, walked two and struck out five in a win over the Florida Fire Frogs. He reported to the ballpark the next day complaining of elbow tenderness.

Sanchez’s mix of control and power stuff has made him one of baseball’s top pitching prospects and an untouchable in trade discussions. The Phillies envision him as being a mainstay in their rotation in the coming years.

Right-hander Enyel De Los Santos and lefty Cole Irvin are also projected to be members of the big-league rotation in the not-too-distant future. Both pitchers have been named to the International League roster for the Triple A All-Star Game on July 11.

De Los Santos, 22, acquired in December from San Diego for Freddy Galvis, will start the game. Through 14 starts, he was 7-3 with a league-best 1.74 ERA for Lehigh Valley.

Irvin, 24, was 8-3 with a 2.54 ERA in his first 15 starts for Lehigh Valley.

Both pitchers are considered worthy of a big-league look should the Phillies have a need in their rotation.

Manager Gabe Kapler mentioned both pitchers on Thursday as he talked about Zach Eflin, Nick Pivetta, Aaron Nola, Vince Velasquez and some of the young starting pitchers that the Phillies have assembled.

“I think it's exciting how De Los Santos and Irvin are performing at the minor-league level, as well, and given what this rotation might look like given everybody's health and experience level, six months, nine months, a year from now,” Kapler said. “It's all kind of fascinating.”

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Joe Girardi and John Kruk relive their painful introduction

Joe Girardi and John Kruk relive their painful introduction

One of the first things Joe Girardi brought up during his introductory press conference as Phillies manager back in October was a bittersweet memory about John Kruk. 

Kruk, a three-time All-Star with the Phils, bowled Girardi over during a collision at home plate in the summer of 1991. Girardi held on for the out but his nose was broken. 

It’s the kind of violent play you’d never see again. Home-plate collisions have been outlawed in MLB since 2014. Colloquially, it’s referred to as the Buster Posey rule. Posey’s left leg was broken in 2011 when the Marlins’ Scott Cousins collided with him at home plate.

That play in 1991 didn’t lead to any kind of beef between Girardi, then a catcher for the Cubs, and Kruk. In fact, Kruk was one of the first people to contact Girardi while Girardi was in the hospital. 

"The bill of his helmet hit my nose, so that was my introduction to John Kruk,” Girardi told the Phils’ announcers during the Phillies-Pirates game Sunday on NBC Sports Philadelphia.

"If I'm not mistaken, being the sweetheart of a guy he was, you either called me when I was in the hospital or you came and saw me when they were examining my nose. I think I got a couple of stitches."

Kruk remembers it well.

"I didn't like many people, Joe., but you were actually one of them I did like,” Kruk said. “That's why I called you. If it was ... well I'm not going to name any names, some other catchers, I wouldn't have called them. I just enjoyed competing against you."

It’s all love, but they won’t be reenacting that experience any time soon.

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Watch Phillies fans' hilarious live reaction to seeing the 'new' Phanatic for first time

Watch Phillies fans' hilarious live reaction to seeing the 'new' Phanatic for first time

The Phillie Phanatic and his "new look" took flight for the first time on Sunday and, well, let's just say he didn't reach great heights.

Fans across the Philadelphia area were understandably shook by the changes to the Phanatic's look. I think it's safe to say most fans did not react positively to the changes. Just take a look at the responses to the above tweet for a sampling.

The Phanatic did have a few defenders, however, like his furry pal from across Pattison Avenue and current It Boy, Gritty.

Pretty much everyone had a strong reaction to the scales, the eyebrows, and most definitely the newly-accented tail.

But not everyone went the to great lengths like comedian and Phillies fans Paul F. Tompkins and Christine Nangle who did a 10-minute breakdown in their most natural Philly accents that included their reactions to seeing the new look for the first time.

It's a wide-ranging reaction, complete with tears at at least one point.

"They said it was going to be, like, an evolution but this seems like more than an evolution, you know," Tompkins said.

"Like he's in there, I can see him, but if I met him and had not said to me that's his cousin, I'd be like..." Nangle added.

The duo attempted to put their feelings into terms we can all understand.

"It's like you're walking down South Street," Tompkins said. "You know what, I haven't been to Jim's in a while, I'm gonna go in there, and then you order a whiz wit and then what you get is, like, what everybody else thinks a cheesesteak is where it's, like, provolone and green peppers on it. You know what I mean? That's what this feels like to me."

"That makes a hundred percent sense. That's a beautiful way to say it," Nangle responded.

They both come to a similar conclusion to what feels like the consensus in Philly right now.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

For more on the Phanatic's new look, check out our piece from yesterday.