Why the Phillies let Neil Walker go 9 days after he won a game for them


Nine days after helping the Phillies beat the Washington Nationals and three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, Neil Walker is gone.

The 35-year-old utilityman was designated for assignment before Friday night's doubleheader against Miami. He was replaced on the roster by another utilityman, Ronald Torreyes, who had been at the Phillies' satellite camp in Lehigh Valley.

Why shuffle one utilityman for another?

"We just feel like we need more defensive flexibility," manager Joe Girardi said.

Walker plays multiple infield positions and he has played in the outfield during his career, but he doesn't play shortstop or center field, two areas where the Phillies are thin with Scott Kingery and Roman Quinn on the injured list. Torreyes, who played for the Yankees when Girardi managed that club, can play both of those spots and others.

"Torreyes had been playing outfield down (in Lehigh Valley)," Girardi said "He can play the infield. I feel pretty comfortable putting him anywhere and I think that's why we made the swap. Neil did a good job for us in this crazy schedule. We had a lot of off days in the beginning. We didn't play a lot and he had some big hits for us at times."

Walker, a classy veteran of 10 big-league seasons, mostly as a regular with Pittsburgh, came to spring training as a non-roster player with the Phillies. He made the 30-man roster out of summer camp and made a contribution to the club with his bat. On the last homestand, he got a rare start against Scherzer and had three hits and drove in two runs to lead an important 3-0 win.


In addition to Torreyes, the Phillies added lefty reliever Adam Morgan from the injured list. Reliever Connor Brogdon was sent to Lehigh Valley. Pitcher Ramon Rosso was added as the extra man for Friday night's doubleheader.