Interesting names on Phillies' minor-league coaching staffs

Interesting names on Phillies' minor-league coaching staffs

The Phillies announced all of their minor-league coaching staffs for the 2020 season and it includes some interesting names. 

Matt Hockenberry, the Phils' ninth-round pick out of Temple in the 2014 draft, enters his second season as Class A Lakewood's pitching coach. It was just five seasons ago that Hockenberry dominated at Lakewood, saving 19 games with a 2.24 ERA. He was unable to sustain that kind of success above the Single A level and quickly shifted to coaching.

Kimera Bartee, one of my favorite baseball names from my childhood, joins the Phillies as a roving baserunning/bunting coordinator. He served a similar role with the Pirates from 2017-19.

Former Phillies reliever Héctor Mercado joins Class A Advanced Clearwater as pitching coach. He had previously been in that position with the Gulf Coast League Phillies East. Mercado appeared in 44 games with the Phils in 2002 and 2003.

Jason Ochart enters his third season as minor-league hitting coordinator for the Phils. Ochart is the Director of Hitting at Driveline Baseball, a company that has become popular in the baseball world and attracted some big names for its data-driven training programs for hitters and pitchers.

Here are all of the staffs for 2020:

Lehigh Valley (AAA)

Gary Jones (manager)
Aaron Fultz (pitching coach)
Darryl Robinson (hitting coach)
Greg Legg (coach)
Mickey Kozack (athletic trainer)
Mike Lidge (strength & conditioning coach)

Reading (AA)

Shawn Williams (manager)
Brad Bergesen (pitching coach)
Tyler Henson (hitting coach)
Nelson Prada (coach)
Kris Terrian (athletic trainer)
Kenny Matanane (strength & conditioning coach)

Clearwater (Class A Advanced)

Pat Borders (manager)
Héctor Mercado (pitching coach)
Chris Heintz (hitting coach)
Mycal Jones (coach)      
Steve Torregrossa (athletic trainer)
José Salas (strength & conditioning coach)

Lakewood (Class A)

Chris Adamson (manager)
Matt Hockenberry (pitching coach)
Christian Marrero (hitting coach)
Geoff Jimenez (coach)
Andrew Dodgson (athletic trainer)
Bruce Peditto (strength & conditioning coach)

Williamsport (Class A)

Milver Reyes (manager)
Héctor Berrios (pitching coach)
Joel McKeithan (hitting coach)
Jonathan Prieto (coach)
Raul Perez (athletic trainer)
Holly Hansing (strength & conditioning coach)

Gulf Coast League Phillies East (rookie league)

Roly DeArmas (manager)
Pat Robles (pitching coach)
Rafael DeLima (hitting coach)
Adan Ordonez (coach)
Mac Seibert (coach)
Meaghan Flaherty (athletic trainer)
Orlando Crance (strength & conditioning coach)

GCL Phillies West (rookie league)

Bobby Wernes (manager)
Bruce Billings (pitching coach)
Zack Jones (hitting coach)
Angel Peguero (coach)
Ray Ricker (coach)
Troy Hoffert (athletic trainer)
Vanessa Gomez (strength & conditioning coach)

Dominican Summer League Phillies Red

Waner Santana (manager)
Alex Concepción (pitching coach)
Feliberto Sánchez (assistant pitching coach)
Samuel Hiciano (hitting coach)
Cristino Henríquez (coach)
Jesus Tiamo (coach)
Argelis Pérez (athletic trainer)
Samantha Myers (athletic trainer)
Bernardo Curiel (strength & conditioning coach)

Dominican Summer League Phillies White

Orlando Muñoz (manager/VZ camp coordinator)
Les Straker (pitching coach)
Homy Ovalles (hitting coach)
Felix Castillo (coach)
Silverio Navas (coach)
José Betancourt (athletic trainer)
Keito Homma (athletic training and strength & conditioning liaison)
Manuel Javier (strength & conditioning coach)

Roving Staff/Support Staff

Chris Truby (field coordinator)
Rafael Chaves (director, pitching development)
Travis Hergert (assistant pitching coordinator)
Jason Ochart (hitting coordinator)
Rob Segedin (assistant hitting coordinator)
Andy Abad (outfield coordinator)
Manny Amador (coordinator, DR academy)
Kimera Bartee (baserunning & bunting coordinator)
Marty Malloy (infield coordinator)
Ernie Whitt (catching coordinator)
Mike Hefta (athletic training coordinator)
Alex Plum (minor league physical therapist)
Furey Leva (strength & conditioning coordinator)
Ellen Rice (nutrition coordinator)
Ben Werthan (minor league player information coordinator)
Cesar Ramos (player information assistant)
Carlos Arroyo (roving pitching coach)
Ray Burris (rehab pitching coach)
Max Dutto (hitting consultant)
Hannah Huesman (mental skills coach)
Frances Cardenas (mental skills coach)
Connor Carroll (assistant video coordinator)
Dustin Sleet (assistant video coordinator)
Kiah Villamán (manager, language education and cultural assimilation)

Jake Arrieta confident in 'strict' protocols, sees unique opportunity for 'something special'

Jake Arrieta confident in 'strict' protocols, sees unique opportunity for 'something special'

A number of high-profile major-league players have opted out of the shortened 2020 season because of concerns about coronavirus. San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey was the latest.

The opt outs, coupled with spikes in the virus in several states that have big-league teams, have fueled doubts that the season, due to start in 12 days, will even get off the ground.

Phillies pitcher Jake Arrieta is not one of those doubters. 

“I don’t see any reason why we can’t execute a full season,” Arrieta said Saturday. “The protocols and safety guidelines we’re following here in Philadelphia are strict and for good reason. We have to take it upon ourselves to be safe. Limit interactions away from the field. We need to wear masks outside or in the clubhouse. That’s just what we need to do, be respectful and courteous to those around us.

“I don’t mean to be pessimistic. I feel like it will happen. It was scary to see Scotty (Kingery) get it and (Atlanta’s) Freddie Freeman get hit really hard the way he did. If it can happen to them, it can happen to any of us.

“There’s a lot on the line and we have an opportunity to do something special in a very strange year if we follow the protocols and I think everyone here is willing to do that.”

Arrieta was the Phillies’ pitcher the day the game was shut down by the pandemic back on March 12. He spent nearly four months at home in Austin, Texas with his wife and young son and daughter. His son, Cooper, teared up when dad left for the airport last week, but it was time to go back to work. Arrieta, 34, threw consistently during the shutdown. He got back on the mound with his teammates in Saturday’s intrasquad game.

Arrieta got 10 outs on 48 pitches. Half of the outs came on ground balls. He struck out one and walked one.

“Today was nice, very efficient,” Arrieta said. “The sinker was good. I threw some great cutters. Got a strikeout on a changeup.”

If Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler stay healthy and on track — Wheeler has the extra variable of a baby being due to arrive in a couple of weeks — Arrieta is likely to slot in third in the Phillies’ rotation. He is 18-19 with a 4.26 ERA in 55 starts over two seasons with the Phillies. He is healthy after having elbow surgery late last season. If you’re looking for X factors, or players who need to stand and deliver for this team to have success, Arrieta is right up there with Rhys Hoskins and others.
A good two-month run by Arrieta would help the Phillies’ chances greatly and springboard him into free agency this winter. 

The shutdown has hurt the sport’s revenues and that could soften the market for players like Arrieta next winter. 

For now, Arrieta is not concerned about that.

“If you look at (Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick) Mahomes’ deal, it shows that sports, and baseball is no different, will generate a tremendous amount of revenue regardless of what’s going on right now. We’ve seen certain TV deals be signed. Every free-agent class has obstacles. We can’t predict the future.

“We just have to play it out and see. There will be a lot of guys in the same boat as I am. I’ll handle that when time approaches.

“First and foremost, I’m concerned about the health and safety of our players and coaches and the people who provide everything they do for us, and trying to win some games.”

Arrieta will look to jump to 65 or so pitches in his next outing. He believes he will be ready to push 85 pitches in his first outing of the regular season. That could be as soon as two weeks from Sunday.

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After COVID-19 battle, Scott Kingery rejoins Phillies teammates

After COVID-19 battle, Scott Kingery rejoins Phillies teammates

Phillies second baseman Scott Kingery, who was hit hard by coronavirus, rejoined his teammates and went through a workout at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday.

Kingery took batting practice and did some fielding and throwing drills. He did not play in the team’s intrasquad game.

“I feel good physically,” Kingery said. “I’ll keep easing into things for a couple of days. I hope to get some live at-bats soon then get into a (intrasquad) game.”

It remains to be seen if Kingery will be ready to play when the season opens in 12 days. He believes he can be.

“I’m in pretty good baseball shape,” he said. “I’m just going to need to get into a live game and feel it out a little bit.”

Manager Joe Girardi said it was too early to tell whether Kingery would be ready for the opener. He said he would have a better idea where Kingery stood in a few days.

"I don't want him to end up on the injured list if his legs aren't ready," Girardi said.

The Phils have a number of veterans -- Josh Harrison, Logan Forsythe, Phil Gosselin and Neil Walker -- who can all play second base if Kingery isn't ready.

Kingery’s battle with coronavirus started on June 11. He has been healthy for more than two weeks but could not travel from his hometown of Phoenix to Philadelphia until he tested negative for the virus twice. His second negative test came back Wednesday afternoon and he took a red eye to Philadelphia that night. He arrived early Thursday morning.

Shortly after arriving in Philadelphia, Kingery was checked out by doctors. His exam included an EKG.

“They wanted to look at my heart and see if anything got messed up from COVID,” Kingery said.

All was good.

“It’s been a month-long process to get back on the field,” Kingery said. “I’m glad to be back.”

Kingery, who experienced shortness of breath when he was ill, experimented wearing a mask during drills in the field. He found it a little difficult to breathe with the mask. He’s not sure if he will continue to wear one in the field, but definitely will in the clubhouse and when around others.

Kingery knows how rugged coronavirus can be. He’s committed to following protocols.

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