Phillies

Massages in, alarm clocks out at Phillies camp

Massages in, alarm clocks out at Phillies camp

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Change has spread dramatically throughout the Phillies organization in recent years. The front office has turned over. There's been a shakeup on the scouting staff. Analytics went from being a non-thing to a really big thing.

And now Gabe Kapler, full of progressive, outside-the-box ideas, has arrived as manager.

With him comes more change.

Remember how Chase Utley and Roy Halladay used to famously duel to see who could arrive in the clubhouse earlier each day in spring training? And, by early, we’re talking pre-dawn, dew-on-the-grass, the owls-are-still-hootin’ early.

Well, under Kapler, showing up before sunrise will not earn a player a badge of honor, and it certainly won't earn him an Egg McMuffin. Oh, a player can still drag his bones out of the rack super early if that’s what makes him tick, what makes him be the best version of himself, as Kapler says. But rest and recovery and waking up naturally can be important too, says the first-year skipper.

So …

Workouts will begin a little later this spring. Figure on pitchers and catchers hitting the field at 11 a.m. Wednesday for their first workout. In previous years, the Phillies stretched about 9:30 a.m. and got into workouts at 10.

“It gives our guys a chance to rest a little bit longer,” Kapler said Tuesday. “We are going to focus on rest, recovery, our guys being the strongest versions of themselves.

“Spring training is pretty long. One of our themes is: how can we be healthy and strong when camp closes? We want to have quick, efficient practices that mimic game conditions so that they can get used to it and when we hit Atlanta (for the March 29 season opener) those guys are strong and not broken down.”

Kapler is also rather fanatical about nutrition.

The Phillies, however, may have beaten him to the punch on that one.

“We have — what came way before me — among the best strength and conditioning staffs in baseball, among the best medical staffs in baseball, a chef already in house who cooks exceptional food, nutritionally dense food,” he said. “This organization was in really good shape. I'm just lucky to be inserted into that and add a little spice.”

New bench coach Rob Thomson, formerly the Yankees’ bench coach, will oversee scheduling for camp. Players will still do extra, early work — small groups with specific instructors before the official workout — but even that will start a little later.

“Thoms will talk about how early work is just better a little bit later,” Kapler said. “Guys come in a little bit more refreshed, they're in a better mood, and the balls stay a little bit drier. So the drills are just a little bit more effective.”

Kapler will encourage players to monitor their own workloads in camp then communicate about those workloads with coaches and the athletic training staff.

“A major focus will be on tracking and logging reps,” he said. “A rep is a swing, it’s a throw, it’s a squat, it’s a sprint, it’s a run down the line, it’s a home to third. Everything should be considered a rep and they should all be tracked and logged and factored in, so that we can keep guys healthy and strong and recovered through not just April and May, but through September and October, as well.

“If we can communicate to make sure that we all have that information, we might be able to back people off, whereas before we just sort of powered through because we didn’t know what was happening on other areas of the field. This is for the players. We want the information because it is our responsibility to put them in the best position to succeed.

“So, by way of example, if a player comes in and we know he had some extra activity the day before, maybe we don’t have anything specific planned for him the following day, then don’t come to the ballpark today. Stay home. Recover. Get a massage. Relax. Sleep. And then come back the next day and we’ll pick things back up.”

The Phillies aren’t the only team to stress recovery, not the only team to push back the start time of the workday.

“I don't think we're setting any precedent here," Kapler said. "There's other clubs who start practice a little bit later. The Rays have done that. The Yankees have done that.

"For me, personally, I love it. Guys are going to get to sleep a little bit longer. We're going to stress to them that doesn't mean they change anything the night before. Go ahead and do exactly what your routine is. Rather than having an alarm clock wake you up in the morning, get up when you get up. Come to the ballpark when it's time to work.

"I don't think there's any value in getting to the ballpark when it's dark, just to get to the ballpark when it's dark. Although, we have a lot of guys who that is their best method of being great. We're not going to strip that out of them either. All of our players are individuals and will be treated as such. Not everybody is the same. And we don't want to make everybody the same. We’re going to stress being great your way.”

Injury updates on 7 Phillies, including J.T. Realmuto and Jay Bruce

Injury updates on 7 Phillies, including J.T. Realmuto and Jay Bruce

WASHINGTON — Some updates on the wounded Phillies, who not only have eight players on the injured list but also have a shorter bench than usual with two everyday starters banged up.

CF Roman Quinn

Quinn was activated off the IL Monday and will bat sixth in Monday's lineup against tough Nationals lefty Patrick Corbin. Formerly a switch-hitter, Quinn will now bat exclusively from the right side.

Because he has been hurt so frequently, the Phillies will be cautious with Quinn. The tentative plan is to use him off the bench Tuesday as the Phillies pay attention to how he bounces back from the start Monday.

Quinn can still provide value for this team, especially with the collection of injuries to centerfielders.

OF Jay Bruce

Bruce (hamstring) was out of Monday's lineup as a precaution — and also because Corbin was the opponent — but will likely be available to pinch-hit.

C J.T. Realmuto

Realmuto got a second straight day off Monday as he recovers from taking a foul ball to the groin midway through Saturday's game.

Realmuto caught the first 105 innings in the month of June and was due for a day off but didn't want it to come like this.

"We want him to be feeling himself," manager Gabe Kapler said. "Doesn't mean that he's going to feel perfect by the time we put him back in the lineup but we definitely want to be sensitive to the fact that he's still a little bit sore. I don't think it's so much about him re-injuring the area as it is not doing anything else that might cause a problem."

RHP Tommy Hunter

As expected, Hunter (flexor strain) will begin a rehab assignment Monday night with Class A Clearwater. He isn't too far away from making his season debut.

LHP Adam Morgan

Morgan (flexor strain) threw a bullpen session Sunday for the second time in four days. Last week, Kapler said Morgan may be able to return this upcoming weekend. There should be more clarity tonight or Tuesday on his status.

RHP Jerad Eickhoff

Eickhoff was placed on the injured list Monday with biceps tendinitis, a day after allowing five runs and two more homers in one inning of relief.

Eickhoff first felt the nagging injury in Milwaukee on May 24 but tried to play through it, as most guys do, for better or for worse.

"Just been something that's been bugging him a little bit and not allowing him to get loose the way he wants to get loose," Kapler said. "Out of respect for one of our hardest workers and most prepared individuals, it makes sense to really pay attention to that and protect him and get him back in his best physical baseball condition."

It's the second Phillies injury this week in which a player tried to play through pain and had to miss some time because of it. Bruce first felt his hamstring tightness "three or four days" before exiting Saturday's game, according to the player.

Would Kapler rather his guys tell him when they first start feeling pain?

"I understand what it's like to be a player and want to play through things that feel nagging," he said. "These guys are professionals, they all want as many opportunities as they can possibly get. We talk a lot about the more communication, the better. I also understand the position our players are in."

OF Adam Haseley

Haseley remains out with a groin injury but is making some progress. He took batting practice and shagged fly balls Monday in D.C.

The next step would be practicing baseball-like movements such as bursting out of the batter's box and simulating a stolen base attempt.

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Odubel Herrera's administrative leave extended through July 1

Odubel Herrera's administrative leave extended through July 1

Administrative leave for Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera has been extended through July 1, Major League Baseball announced on Monday afternoon. 

Herrera, 27, has been on administrative leave since May 28 after he was arrested last month in New Jersey on a charge of domestic violence. 

Earlier on Monday, the Atlantic City Municipal Court announced that Herrera’s attorney waived an initial arraignment scheduled for today. His next court appearance will be scheduled by the court. 

Herrera could face a suspension without pay from MLB. Discipline in these cases is handed down directly from the commissioner. 

The alleged incident took place at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, according to the police report. The police report also said the victim “had visible signs of injury to her arms and neck that was sustained after being assaulted by her boyfriend, David Odubel Herrera, during a dispute.” 

As the legal process plays out, the Phillies have already removed five banners that featured Herrera’s likeness — four from light poles and one from the concourse at Citizens Bank Park. 

In early June, Phillies vice president of communications Bonnie Clark said, “We don’t believe it’s appropriate to display them while the investigations is going on.”

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