Phillies

Phillies cut loose first baseman Justin Bour and reliever Luis Avilan

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Phillies cut loose first baseman Justin Bour and reliever Luis Avilan

The Phillies have cut loose two players.

First baseman Justin Bour and relief pitcher Luis Avilan were not offered contracts by the club for 2019. Both are now free agents.

Bour and Avilan were two of 11 Phillies players eligible for salary arbitration. The other nine were all offered contracts by Friday night’s 8 p.m. deadline.

That group includes pitchers Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Hector Neris, Adam Morgan and Luis Garcia, infielders Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco and outfielder Aaron Altherr.

Teams and players will exchange salary proposals on Jan. 11 and arbitration hearings will be held the first two weeks of February, if necessary. The two sides often reach agreement on a contract before a hearing.

The departures of Bour and Avilan leave the Phillies with four openings on their 40-man roster. Those spots will likely be filled in the coming weeks as the team looks to sign free agents and make trades.

Bour and Avilan were both acquired in late-season trades by the Phillies in 2018.

Looking for power off the bench, the Phillies acquired Bour from Miami for minor-league pitcher McKenzie Mills. Bour had 54 plate appearances with the Phils and hit .224 with a homer and five RBIs. He was hampered during part of his stay with the club by a hamstring injury that landed him on the DL.

Bour, 30, has averaged 21 homers and 66 RBIs the last four seasons and could be attractive to clubs looking for a left-handed platoon bat at first base. The Phillies are not in need of that type of player as they are committed to using Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana at first base. Santana is a strong candidate to be traded. If he were to be dealt, Hoskins would play at first base full time.

Avilan, 29, joined the Phillies from the White Sox in an August trade for minor-league pitcher Felix Paulino. The left-hander pitched in 12 games and recorded a 3.18 ERA.

The Phillies are attempting to add a frontline left-handed reliever for 2019 and have had longstanding interest in free agent Zach Britton.

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How will Phillies handle center field with oft-injured Roman Quinn down again?

How will Phillies handle center field with oft-injured Roman Quinn down again?

The Phillies are going through centerfielders as fast as they’re going through shortstops.

Roman Quinn, who went down with a strained right groin muscle in Wednesday night’s game in New York, was placed on the 10-day injured list Thursday. He was replaced on the roster by outfielder Dylan Cozens.

Quinn is going to be out a lot longer than 10 days. An MRI performed on Thursday afternoon revealed a Grade 2 strain, which is worse than a Grade 1 or mild strain. Quinn is a player who relies on the speed that his legs generate. The Phillies will be very cautious in bringing him back.

“I don’t know what the timetable is but it’s at least several weeks,” manager Gabe Kapler said.

Quinn is the second centerfielder to go down in a week. Odubel Herrera went on the IL with a mild hamstring strain last week. He could be ready to return sometime next week, according to Kapler. Also in the last week, the Phils lost shortstops Scott Kingery and Jean Segura to hamstring injuries. Segura is expected back in the lineup Saturday or Sunday.

With Quinn and Herrera out, Aaron Altherr got the start in center field Thursday night. Kapler said it was possible that Andrew McCutchen could get some time in center in the next few days. That would allow seldom-used Nick Williams a chance to get a start in left field. It’s also possible that Cozens could help fill the breach in center. Williams played some center field two years ago, but Kapler does not seem inclined to use him there.

“I don’t want to say it’s off the table but it’s not at the front of my mind right now,” Kapler said. “I’d prefer to ease him back in in left field if we’re going to go that route.”

Quinn, three weeks shy of his 26th birthday, has been plagued by a long list of injuries since being selected by the Phillies in the second round of the 2011 draft.

He has missed significant time with a torn quadriceps, a torn Achilles tendon, a strained elbow ligament, a torn ligament in his middle finger, a concussion and a broken toe. He missed the start of this season while recovering from an oblique strain suffered in spring training.

“Same ol’, same ol’,” Quinn said Thursday. “I’ve never had [a groin] issue before. Put it on my list.”

Quinn, a 5-foot-9 inch package of lean muscle, has done about everything he can to avoid injuries. He spent the winter in Clearwater two years ago in a program dedicated to stretching. He’s had his diet analyzed.

Another injury, suffered running out a bunt, has left him very frustrated and it’s fair to wonder if he’ll ever be able to exhibit the durability needed to be an everyday player.

“Roman is not trying to get hurt,” Kapler said. “To his defense, he has done everything in his power to stay on the field and his body has just not cooperated. I feel terrible for him. He is an uber-talented individual. He’s got special talent. He’s as athletic as anyone on the field. He’s as fast as anyone on the field. He’s got speed, power, athleticism, quickness. We’re doing everything in our power to keep him healthy. I feel personally responsible for digging in and not leaving any stone unturned for helping him stay on the field.”

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