Phillies

Phillies to sign Matt Szczur, according to sources

Phillies to sign Matt Szczur, according to sources

The Phillies are about to sign a player with a resume chock-full of impressive — and important — accomplishments.

According to sources, Matt Szczur, the 30-year-old outfielder from South Jersey, has agreed to sign a minor-league contract with the Phils. The deal will include an invite to major-league spring training camp.

Szczur — pronounced SEE-zur — has spent parts of five seasons in the majors with the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres. He is a product of Lower Cape May Regional High School and Villanova University. He was a two-sport star at Villanova.

On the football field, Szczur was a dynamic receiver and return specialist for Villanova’s 2009 NCAA FCS national championship team. He racked up 270 all-purpose yards in the title game win over Montana and was named the game’s Most Outstanding Player.

On the baseball field, Szczur was an all-Big East player and a fifth-round draft pick of the Cubs in 2010. He played in 107 games for the Cubs team that won the World Series in 2016.

Szczur’s accomplishments extend beyond the playing field.

Off the field, he did something extraordinary when he took time off from his junior year baseball season at Villanova in 2010 to donate bone marrow that ultimately helped save the life of a young girl from Ukraine who had battled leukemia. Szczur’s life-saving gift started with his involvement in the Andy Talley Bone Marrow Foundation. Talley was Szczur’s football coach at Villanova. Szczur has subsequently started his own charitable enterprise, the Szcz The Day Foundation.

Szczur hit .259 with five homers and 24 RBIs in 185 at-bats for the World Series champion Cubs in 2016. He was traded to San Diego in 2017. He spent parts of that season and the 2018 season in the majors with that club. He signed a minor-league deal with Arizona last season and hit .322 with eight homers, 28 RBIs and a .967 OPS in 44 games at Triple A Reno. His season was shortened by a quad injury.

The Phillies are set at the corner outfield spots with Andrew McCutchen and Bryce Harper and Adam Haseley is going to get a chance to hold down the center field spot with Roman Quinn in the picture as well. Szczur will give the Phillies some outfield depth and his ability to play center field is a plus. He is an excellent defender at all three outfield positions and could push for a spot on the big club as active rosters will expand from 25 to 26 men in 2020.

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Phillies get a break Friday night with Jacob deGrom scratched

Phillies get a break Friday night with Jacob deGrom scratched

The Phillies have received a break even before playing the New York Mets on Friday night. Jacob deGrom, the Mets' scheduled starter, has been scratched with a stiff neck. The Mets will start right-hander Walker Lockett.

DeGrom, 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in four starts this season, won the last two National League Cy Young awards. He was scheduled to face Phillies rookie Spencer Howard. Howard is still scheduled to make that start, his second in the big leagues. 

The Phillies made a roster move prior to Friday night's game. Lefty reliever Austin Davis was sent to the training complex in Lehigh Valley and lefty JoJo Romero was added to the active roster. Romero, who has never pitched in the majors, gives the Phillies a lefty reliever capable of pitching multiple innings.

Here is the Phillies' lineup for Friday night's game:

1. Andrew McCutchen, DH
2. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
3. Bryce Harper, RF
4. J.T. Realmuto, C
5. Didi Gregorius, SS
6. Jean Segura, 2B
7. Jay Bruce, LF
8. Alec Bohm, 3B
9. Roman Quinn, CF

Spencer Howard, RHP

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Phillies Talk podcast: Could we see front-office shakeup if Phils miss playoffs?

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Phillies Talk podcast: Could we see front-office shakeup if Phils miss playoffs?

If the Phillies miss the playoffs again, even in a shortened season, could we see a front-office shakeup? What would it mean for GM Matt Klentak? Jim Salisbury and Corey Seidman discussed on Friday's Phillies Talk podcast.

• Are Phils even capable of going on a hot streak with this bullpen?

• Starting pitching has also stumbled some, blowing four multi-run leads.

• How much more money has J.T. Realmuto made himself with his ridiculous start?

• The excellence of Harper and Realmuto has been wasted so far.

• The impact of Alec Bohm on Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery and Phillies' infield.

• Factors that will play into Realmuto's free-agent decision.

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