Phillies

Phillies

Phillies manager Joe Girardi, at home in South Florida, is busying himself watching college football classics, cooking and throwing batting practice to his son, Dante, during baseball's hiatus.

Girardi is also doing some thinking about what his roster might look like when the sport gets going again.

A short "spring training," either back in Florida or in Philadelphia — Major League Baseball will likely make an industry-wide call on that one — is expected and teams will probably be able to compensate for the shortened prep time by employing an expanded roster for a few weeks.

Teams will likely look to add to their bullpens as they allow their starting pitchers time to build innings and endurance during the first few weeks of the regular season.

"If we're out a long time and spring training is short, I think we're going to need multiple-inning (relievers)," Girardi said.

Regardless of the length of the season, the Phillies will go with a five-man starting rotation because that is just how pitchers are conditioned these days. Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Jake Arrieta and Zach Eflin are expected to fill the top four spots. (Arrieta experienced shoulder stiffness in his last start before spring training was paused last week, but he insisted it was normal and not an injury, and, in fact, he is not being treated as an injured player.)

Before camp was halted, Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta and Ranger Suarez were competing for the fifth starter's job. With Seranthony Dominguez expected to have elbow surgery any time now, the Phillies are pretty low on power arms in their bullpen so they will benefit from either Velasquez or Pivetta in the bullpen. Could both end up there? It's something to think about. Suarez opened eyes with his work in camp and he would give the Phils a lefty in the rotation. The Phils are already deep in lefties in the bullpen with Adam Morgan, Jose Alvarez and Francisco Liriano, who is expected to make the club.

 

In addition to power, Velasquez and Pivetta — and Suarez for that matter — could give the Phils multi-inning flexibility because all have worked as starters and were stretched out when camp was open.

"We're not going to have a six-and-a-half week spring training and the multiple-inning guys are going to become even more important," Girardi said.

The delay in opening the season until at least mid-May could allow relievers Tommy Hunter and Victor Arano, both of whom had elbow surgery last season, the time they need to finish their respective rehab programs and be ready for opening day.

Ditto for left fielder and leadoff man Andrew McCutchen.

"I think we kind of expected them all back in April and seeing that we will not play before May 15th or whatever, I think we all feel pretty good about that," Girardi said of having the trio ready when the season starts.

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