Phillies

Bryce Harper's storytime with the Phanatic is just as wholesome as you'd think

Bryce Harper's storytime with the Phanatic is just as wholesome as you'd think

Get ready to be transported back in time to simpler days ... no, not when sports were still happening — though that’s also a solid answer. We’re going back to storytime. 

Bryce Harper joined the Phillie Phanatic on Instagram to read a story to the best mascot in baseball (and the best fans) … and he came prepared. When he joined the video, it looked like he was ready to take the field in Spring Training —  decked out in a red jersey, the iconic pinstripes, Phillies cap and eye black. All while rocking his famous flow, of course. 

Harper did his best impersonation of an elementary school teacher while reading, “The Phillie Phanatic’s Philadelphia Story.”

“Have you ever wanted to travel back in time? Where would you go? Who would you visit? While studying for a history test, the Phanatic’s mom, Phoebe, presents her son with a time travel helmet and that’s when the Phanatic’s Colonial Philadelphia adventure begins! Suddenly, history comes alive as the funny mascot walks the cobblestone streets of Philadelphia during a time when our country was formed. With the help of Ben Franklin, Betsy Ross and Thomas Jefferson, the Phanatic doesn’t just learn about American history, he makes history!”  — Description of "The Phillie Phanatic's Philadelphia Story" 

From inflections, to adding instant page-by-page analysis, asking questions and displaying the illustrations for all of the viewers to see — it’s safe to say Harper did a great job. Even though this storytime was catered to kids … adults definitely had to smile when watching it all unfold. Wholesome, happy content — you can’t help but enjoy it these days. 

Not to mention, the Phanatic had just about every special memento that was mentioned in the book to show everyone — Harper’s favorite being the time traveling helmet (which lights up and is completely awesome). Hopefully the Phanatic remembers to bring it to Citizens Bank Park so the right fielder can test it out for himself. 

Once the book was completed,  Harper had a crazy realization. Even though they are best friends, he still doesn’t have the Phanatic’s signature — but do you know who does? His son, Krew. 

There’s enough Phanatic love to go around, but he better get on it and send his buddy a signature of his own. 

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Phillies 28-man roster: Kyle Garlick, Enyel De Los Santos optioned to Lehigh Valley

Phillies 28-man roster: Kyle Garlick, Enyel De Los Santos optioned to Lehigh Valley

To trim their roster from 30 to 28 ahead of Thursday's deadline, the Phillies optioned outfielder Kyle Garlick and right-handed reliever Enyel De Los Santos to their satellite site at Lehigh Valley.

MLB rosters will stay at 28 the rest of the regular season and postseason. Initially, rosters were set to be cut to 26 two weeks from now but MLB has revised that rule amid so many game postponements already related to COVID-19.

The Phillies now have 13 position players and 15 pitchers, a.k.a a four-man bench and 10-man bullpen. Garlick was the likeliest bench candidate to go given that he has options remaining. The Phillies didn't need to remove Garlick, or De Los Santos for that matter, from their 40-man roster to remove them from the active roster.

Garlick's ability to hit lefties for power was why the Phillies carried him on their opening day roster. He went 0 for 2 in the Phillies' first six games, both at-bats coming in the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader started by Yankees lefty J.A. Happ. 

De Los Santos had not pitched yet this season. He pitched 30 innings for the Phillies across 2018 and 2019 with a 5.70 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. Still, there was a belief he could help in this bullpen which lacks right-handed threats beyond closer Hector Neris and right-handed velocity overall.

It appeared that Austin Davis, a fringe reliever, might be the bullpen casualty after he allowed four runs to the Yankees while recording one out, but the Phillies opted to keep the extra lefty over the extra righty.

This is their bullpen, which has a 9.18 ERA and .338 opponents' batting average this season with no magic potions in sight:

Hector Neris
Tommy Hunter
Adam Morgan (LHP)
Jose Alvarez (LHP)
Deolis Guerra
Trevor Kelley
Nick Pivetta
Ramon Rosso
Cole Irvin (LHP)
Austin Davis (LHP)

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Bryce Harper has company in the J.T. Realmuto Fan Club with Zack Wheeler

Bryce Harper has company in the J.T. Realmuto Fan Club with Zack Wheeler

If Bryce Harper is president of the J.T. Realmuto Fan Club, Zack Wheeler is vice president.

Wheeler notched his second win in as many starts with the Phillies in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Yankees on Wednesday. The right-hander pitched six innings of three-run ball and was supported by homers from Harper and Realmuto.

In recent weeks, Harper has been outspoken in his desire to see the Phillies extend Realmuto's contract.

Wheeler chimed in with his own subtle endorsement of the All-Star catcher after Wednesday's game.

"Playing against him all these years, I was wishing he was my catcher and now he is," Wheeler said. "That was part of me coming over here, and I love throwing to him."

Wheeler, a former New York Met, signed a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. The Chicago White Sox actually offered Wheeler more money but staying on the East Coast and in the National League East appealed to the pitcher. And now we know that joining Realmuto was a factor in his decision, as well.

Wheeler has pitched 13 innings and allowed just four runs over two starts with his new club, both with Realmuto behind the plate.

"Against a lineup like the Yankees, you have to make pitches," Wheeler said after Wednesday's game. "Me and J.T. were on the same page all day. He can call a game and that's what you need back there.

"And he's a great receiver, one of the best in the game at that. And when guys get on base, you don't have that thought in the back of your head about being slow to the plate because he'll make up for it with his arm. And, of course, he can swing it."

Realmuto will become a free agent at season's end. The Phillies hope to sign him to an extension. Time will tell if that happens.

In the meantime, you can bet that Realmuto's agent will save Wheeler's endorsement for his client's free-agent dossier.

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