Phillies

Odubel Herrera exits with hamstring injury; is Roman Quinn call-up imminent?

Odubel Herrera exits with hamstring injury; is Roman Quinn call-up imminent?

Updated: 5 p.m.

Roster crunches always seem to have a way of working themselves out.

Odubel Herrera left Wednesday's game in the top of the fifth when he appeared to pull his hamstring on a lineout to center field. He walked around gingerly in center field as Phillies trainers looked at him before being removed by manager Gabe Kapler.

After the game, Kapler called the injury a right hamstring cramp. Herrera, who was his typical happy self in the clubhouse, will be reevaluated tomorrow.

"Sometimes a cramp can be a strain and we just wanted to be careful," Kapler said.

Aaron Altherr replaced Herrera in center field, but another replacement could be joining the Phillies in Colorado. Centerfielder Roman Quinn, who missed most of spring training and the first week of the season with an oblique strain, is ready to go. He's played four games at Triple A and has hit .370 with a double, triple, homer and two steals during his rehab assignment.

If a 10-day IL stint is next for Herrera, the easy move for the Phils would be to recall Quinn from Triple A in time for Thursday night's game at Coors Field. Altherr, Scott Kingery and Andrew McCutchen can also play center field. The Phillies do not view Nick Williams as an option there.

The Herrera injury may turn out to be minor and require no missed time. However, Jean Segura is also dealing a hamstring issue and was not placed on the IL Wednesday. The belief is Segura will need to miss only a few days. The Phillies will not be able to afford carrying two dinged-up players on the active roster who can't pinch-hit. It would leave them thin for a few days.

Before Herrera exited Wednesday, the Phillies' choices were designating Altherr for assignment or working out a trade, or optioning Williams to Triple A. Neither move may need to be made now.

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Joe Girardi doesn't see penalty for Astros players as a deterrent

Joe Girardi doesn't see penalty for Astros players as a deterrent

The calls for Astros players to get suspended have gotten louder and louder as players have descended upon Florida and Arizona for spring training this past week. From Cody Bellinger to Mike Trout to Trevor Bauer to Nick Markakis and everywhere in between, players have made clear how angry they are about Houston's cheating scandal. 

It's going to take a long time for Astros players to gain back the respect of their peers.

It's not some easy fix, though. Astros players were granted immunity from discipline in order for their cooperation in MLB's investigation. MLB cannot, after the fact, revoke that immunity and decide to suspend players knowing what it now knows. That would never fly, and it shouldn't. Whether immunity should have been granted in the first place is the big question, but that point has passed.

Joe Girardi was asked on ESPN's Golic and Wingo Show Wednesday whether he thought MLB's punishment was sufficient.

The Phillies' first-year skipper doesn't think the current punishment serves as much of a deterrent.

"There are some people that lost their jobs that really were the people that had to pay for it, but there were a lot more people involved," Girardi said. "The financial gain for the players is substantial if they have big seasons because of this, so if there's no punishment for them, I'm not sure that it stops. I'm really not sure. Because the financial gain, similar to the steroid era, is very similar. If you know it's coming and you have a big year and you're a free agent, there's a lot (of money) to be made there and players want to take care of their families.

"I'm not exactly sure what the right answer is, but I don't know how much of a deterrent it is for players right now. There's not a huge deterrent for the players and I think there has to be to make sure that it stops."

People made fun of commissioner Rob Manfred for saying this but it should be acknowledged that the public ridicule the Astros are feeling right now will actually serve as some sort of deterrent. That doesn't mean MLB made the right call, that their decision-making process has been sound or that Manfred has done himself any favors publicly. But the disrespect factor around the league and around the country is real. Guys like Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, George Springer, even a Justin Verlander — will they ever again command the respect they did before this? This is a permanent stain.

MLB recognized how difficult an investigation would have been without cooperation from key figures and went the route of immunity. It's a decision that will be questioned for years.

"If you're not in the clubhouse and you don't admit yourself that you did it, how do you take the word from another player that he was doing it? That's the hard part," Girardi said. "Like, if you get caught with something on your body, that to me definitely should be a suspension and a huge fine. But to say that someone was using it, it's his word against his word, that's pretty tough to penalize a player."

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A small step in Phillies camp for pitching prospect Spencer Howard

A small step in Phillies camp for pitching prospect Spencer Howard

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Spencer Howard, the Phillies' top pitching prospect, returned to a bullpen mound Wednesday and threw 27 pitches.

Ordinarily, a bullpen session in spring training is not news, but Howard had temporarily stopped his bullpen work after sustaining a minor knee injury — manager Joe Girardi called it a "tweak" — 10 days earlier.

Howard threw all of his pitches during the bullpen session as a gaggle of fans watched at Carpenter Complex.

"I only saw two pitches," said Girardi, who was busy bouncing around four fields. "But he felt great. That's the important thing."

Girardi said there was no timetable for when Howard would pitch in a Grapefruit League game. The Phillies are on record as saying they will take things slowly with Howard in the early part of the season. The 23-year-old right-hander is on an innings/workload limit this season and the Phillies would like to get a good chunk of those innings in the big leagues.

"Spencer has an innings limit so we have to think about this because we believe at some point he's going to play a role for us," Girardi said earlier in camp. "We can't go wear him out by June so we have to think about that. We're not going to waste a lot of innings in spring training."

It's possible that the Phillies could hold Howard back in extended spring training in the month of April so they can maximize his innings later in the season.

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