Phillies

It's hittin' season — Charlie Manuel back with Phillies as hitting coach; John Mallee out

It's hittin' season — Charlie Manuel back with Phillies as hitting coach; John Mallee out

The Phillies on Tuesday made a stunning move, hiring former manager Charlie Manuel as hitting coach and relieving John Mallee of his duties.

Manuel, 75, spent eight-plus seasons as the Phillies' skipper, capturing five N.L. East titles, two N.L. pennants and a World Series in 2008.

He replaces Mallee, who was brought in after being let go by the Cubs in 2017.

The Phillies have been a disappointing offense and have been even worse since the All-Star break, ranking 25th or worse in the majors in runs, batting average, OPS and extra-base hits. Coming off of a 2-5 road trip, it seemed some sort of change was coming.

Could more changes loom?

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Phillies' Aaron Nola: I did not have the virus

Phillies' Aaron Nola: I did not have the virus

Aaron Nola reported to Phillies camp on Monday, threw in the bullpen, then announced that he did not have COVID-19.

“All my tests have been negative,” the right-hander said.

Nola said his absence from camp — which officially began Friday — was because he came in contact with someone who tested positive.

“I’m glad to clear this up,” Nola said. “I was exposed to another person who tested positive. I had no symptoms. By MLB protocol, I had to stay home for seven days.”

Nola said he “stayed home” in the Philadelphia area. He added that he did not know where the exposure happened. He had previously been in Clearwater and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, his hometown.

Nola would not say if he had been exposed to a teammate or a club official who had tested positive. The Phillies have had several positive tests.

Nola has thrown regularly during the shutdown. He said his arm felt good and that he expects to face hitters in the next few days. That would put him in line to start during the first week of the season, perhaps even the July 24 season opener. The schedule will be announced tonight.

“I’m glad to be back,” he said after his workout Monday. “It felt good to throw off a nice mound.

“Everything felt normal, except we’re wearing masks." 

Manager Joe Girardi said Nola looked good during his bullpen session. Girardi would not put a projected date on Nola's first start, saying he wanted to gauge the pitcher for a few days before he locked anything in.

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Andrew McCutchen says Yankees' hair policy limits individualism in 2020

Andrew McCutchen says Yankees' hair policy limits individualism in 2020

Andrew McCutchen has become something of a fan favorite in Philadelphia despite not having suited up for a game in what feels like forever. That's due in part to his hilarious off-the-field exploits as his "uncle" Larry but also for his thoughtful analysis of many issues.

The latter was on display over the weekend when McCutchen joined The Sports Bubble with Jensen Karp to talk about some of the more topical racial issues facing society today.

The topic of the "good old boys culture" in baseball comes up, inspired by a poweful Instagram post by Ian Desmond last week.

"There needs to be change," McCutchen said of unwritten rules in MLB, pointing to different standards for different players.

The Phillies outfielder then weighed in on the New York Yankees' longstanding policy on limiting facial hair and hair length.

For me it was an honor to (wear those pinstripes). You feel a little more powerful when you put that (Yankees') uniform on. Those policies, shaving and letting the jersey speak for itself, I do think it takes away from our individualism as players and as people. We express ourselves in different ways. When I was on the Pirates and I had those dreadlocks, I'd be lying to you if I got traded to the Yankees and they said you'd have to shave your hair, for me that would have been a very tough thing to do. That was who I was. That was how I expressed myself. That's what made me Andrew McCutchen. That's how people noticed who I was. It made me unique.

"I think especially in 2020, these things are things that people should take to heart and realize we have a way of expressing ourselves in different ways. Maybe there should be some change there in the future. Who knows when. That's just one of many things in the game that needs to be talked about and addressed.

McCutchen had an impressive 25-game stint with the Yankees to finish 2018 before opting to join the Phillies the following offseason.

As far as returning to play later this month during the pandemic, McCutchen believes the Black Lives Matter movement needs to be talked about by those few Black players in the game.

"If we don't talk about it, it will easily be swept under a rug," McCutchen said. "We don't have many people that represent us in this game. There are some guys who aren't in my position who can speak up, who may feel they are over-stepping their boundaries. It takes people like myself and others in this game to be able to speak up and to be able to make this public and not just one clubhouse to the other."

You can listen to the full conversation here and here.

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