Where’s Bryce Harper? How about Roamin’ Roman? A few observations from Phillies camp

Where’s Bryce Harper? How about Roamin’ Roman? A few observations from Phillies camp

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies came out with four runs in the bottom of the first inning and held on for a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in exhibition play Sunday afternoon at Spectrum Field.

Didi Gregorius, Jay Bruce and newcomer Kyle Garlick — picked up in a trade with the Dodgers last week — had the big hits in the first inning.

But when manager Joe Girardi sized up the win, he pointed to the guy in center field.

Roman Quinn led off the bottom of the first with a double and eventually scored, but his biggest contribution of the game came on defense, where he made two standout catches in the fifth inning.

“He was probably the reason we won the game,” Girardi said.

Quinn raced to his left and made a diving catch for the first out in the fifth inning. He ended the frame by going back to the wall and making a tough catch. Both of the catches came with runners on base.

“Quinn’s defense was really good,” Girardi said. “Two different types of catches in the same inning. He has the ability to run down so many balls. I don’t think you can ever outrun a baseball but he can come close. He gets really good jumps.”

Several times early in camp, Girardi has recalled seeing Quinn a few years ago when Girardi was still skippering the Yankees. Like so many others, Girardi was always impressed with Quinn’s speed and electricity. Quinn, of course, has never been able to stay healthy. That’s probably why the general consensus is that Adam Haseley has come into camp tops on the depth chart in center field. But this will end up being a good position battle as camp unfolds if Quinn stays healthy.

“I believe it’s a competition,” Girardi said earlier in camp. “Both good players. Haseley made great strides last year and Roman can be a difference-maker when he’s healthy and on base. He can create a lot of problems. Switch-hitter. He has the ability to take the pitcher’s attention off the hitter at times and score on balls in the gap.”

The third base experiment

Jean Segura made his first start at third base on Sunday and made several plays. He also had a ball bounce off his glove. It was a play he probably should have conceded to shortstop Didi Gregorius.

Segura is moving off of shortstop to make room for Gregorius, who signed as a free agent in the offseason.

Segura has never played third base before. The Phillies are hoping he can handle the position so Scott Kingery can play second. But a final decision on where Segura — and Kingery by extension — plays is probably still several weeks away. Segura can play second and has told the team he’d be comfortable there. His ability to play third base is under evaluation by both him and the team.

“The plays don’t look hard for him,” Girardi said. “It’s the reads he has to get accustomed to. We just have to continue to get him reps there because as he has said all along that he can play second in his sleep. Third is the trickier one for him.

“He has the hands, he has the quickness, he has the range, he has the arm. It’s embracing it and if you make a wrong read, it’s not being embarrassed. It’s saying, ‘OK, I learned from that.’ “

Embracing a position change, Girardi added, “is a lot of the battle.”

Where's Bryce?

Bryce Harper has not played in the first two games. Nothing is wrong. It’s a long camp and Girardi said Harper would start Tuesday in Clearwater.

“That’s just the schedule we planned out a while back,” Girardi said.

Where's Wheeler?

Zack Wheeler has been throwing to hitters at the minor-league complex. His first start is slated for Saturday in Dunedin against the Blue Jays.

More on the Phillies' starting pitching plans for the coming days here.

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Virus has Phillies in holding pattern with J.T. Realmuto and Seranthony Dominguez

Virus has Phillies in holding pattern with J.T. Realmuto and Seranthony Dominguez

Because of the coronavirus health crisis and the delay in starting the Major League Baseball season, the Phillies remain in a holding pattern on a couple of significant baseball matters, general manager Matt Klentak said Thursday.

It's still unclear whether reliever Seranthony Dominguez will opt to have his injured right elbow surgically repaired. The health crisis has prevented Dominguez from getting a second opinion from orthopedic surgeon James Andrews. Dominguez is currently with family in his native Dominican Republic.

"Medicine is not always black and white," Klentak said. "There's a possibility it may head down that (surgical) road, but until he gets the second opinion, we have no firm declaration. For a lot of players, surgery is a last option, particularly when the surgery keeps you out as long as Tommy John surgery does. Before we go down that road, we want to make sure everyone is in agreement on what the right course of action is."

Dominguez saw Andrews shortly after injuring his elbow in early June last season. Surgery was not recommended at that time, but Dominguez missed the remainder of the season. He had a setback in August and again in March and all signs point to his needing surgery. Andrews would be a likely person to handle the surgery, but he is not seeing patients at the moment because of the health crisis.

Surgery, whenever it happens, would sideline Dominguez for more than a year.

The other matter currently on hold involves All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto and the team's effort to sign him to a contract extension before he becomes a free agent in the fall. The two sides had begun negotiations in February, but those talks, by mandate from Major League Baseball, are now on hold because of the health crisis.

Could the freeze on negotiations and the uncertainty of whether or not there will be a 2020 season hurt the Phillies in their quest to keep Realmuto off the free-agent market?

"Whenever we resume playing, we'll see what the circumstances are and re-engage," Klentak said. "Nobody can predict what the parameters will be at that point or what will happen, but I think everyone knows we love J.T. and he's a player we'd love to have for the long haul."

Thursday would have been the Phillies' home opener. They had been scheduled to play their first seven games on the road before MLB suspended action on March 12 and encouraged players to head home. Training facilities have subsequently been closed except to a handful of players who are rehabilitating from injuries. 

MLB still hopes to have a season in some form, but nothing is certain. Like the rest of the world, it is at the mercy of the virus.

"I don't have enough information to know what's going to happen and I'm not sure anyone does," Klentak said. "What I am confident about is owners, players, front offices, fans, media, everybody is aligned in wanting to play baseball as quickly as we can. When all parties are as aligned as that, it gives me confidence that we'll get back as soon as we can get back. But I'm not in a position to make any predictions as to when that might happen.

"We'll do the best we can in the interim to prepare for the season. If it's a traditional season, we'll be prepared. If it's a modified season, we'll be prepared. I have a lot of confidence in league operations."

A resumed spring training would be required before any type of regular season, but Klentak would not speculate on what that might look like.

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Layoffs? Pay cuts? Phillies hope to avoid measures like that with full-time staff

Layoffs? Pay cuts? Phillies hope to avoid measures like that with full-time staff

The suspension of the Major League Baseball season due to the coronavirus health crisis has already hurt the revenues of all teams and will continue to do so as long as the game is shut down.

This has some people who work for teams all over baseball concerned about their jobs. 

Every MLB team, according to sources, has informed its full-time employees that business will run as usual through the end of April at which point teams will assess their respective situations.

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak on Thursday was asked about the potential for layoffs or salary cuts within the organization.

"That's a situation that is not unique to baseball, unfortunately," Klentak said. "A lot of decisions will be made above my pay grade, obviously. For all of us, we are hopeful that we'll resume and not have to take measures like that. We trust that the Phillies are owned and run by very good people — and have been for a long time. Everybody is trying to do the best thing right now."

Layoffs and salary cuts were a big issue during the work stoppage in 1994-95. Some teams did cut full-time staff and pay. The Phillies did not.

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