Phillies

Phillies

CLEARWATER, Fla. — It was an emotional scene in the Phillies' clubhouse early Sunday morning as popular catcher Cameron Rupp hugged teammates, wished them luck and walked out the door for what he called “a new start.”
 
Rupp, 29, was designated for assignment as the Phillies cleared a spot on their 40-man roster for pitcher Drew Hutchison, who apparently has won a spot on the big-league pitching staff.
 
The Phillies have seven days to dispose of Rupp’s contract. He could be traded, picked up by another team on waivers or released. If he clears waivers, he could be outrighted to Triple A. Rupp’s Phillies contract calls for him to make $2.05 million in 2018, but the Phillies would only be on the hook for a quarter of that if he is released by 2 p.m. Monday.
 
Rupp’s departure means the Phillies will open the season with Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp as their catchers. The Phils will lose some organizational depth at the position if Rupp does not stay in the system. Logan Moore and Matt McBride are expected to be the catchers are Triple A. Moore, a strong defender, has been in the system since 2011. McBride, a Lehigh University product who signed with the Phils as a minor-league free agent this winter, has played in the majors with Colorado and Oakland.
 
Hutchison, 27, made 74 starts from 2012 to 2016 with the Blue Jays and Pirates. He spent all of last season with the Pirates’ Triple A club and signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies last month. The right-hander made the club by posting a 2.75 ERA in 19 2/3 innings. It’s not clear if he will pitch at the back end of the starting rotation or out of the bullpen as a long man. Roster questions are expected to be cleared up by the time the Phils leave Florida late Tuesday afternoon.
 
Rupp, a former Texas Longhorn, was the Phillies’ third-round draft pick in 2010. He got to the majors briefly in 2013 and 2014, was a teammate of World Series heroes Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard, and spent all of the last three seasons with the big club as successor to fan favorite Carlos Ruiz. The Phillies are now moving on with Alfaro, a rookie who is out of minor-league options.
 
“It's just the way the team is shaping up,” Rupp said. “There wasn't room for me. At the end of the day, you know, it's just a tough day. But that's part of it. There's a business side of it. That's the decision they chose to make. We'll see what happens now. 
 
“It's tough. I saw the end of Jimmy, Chase, Howie, Cole, all the guys who won in 2008. You see them walk out the door and you see a bunch of new faces. Then you see the guys who are really going to be good. They're really going to help this organization win. It sucks. But it's a business, too, unfortunately. This is the business side. I have to deal with it and keep moving forward.”