andres blanco

2 former Phillies find new teams

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2 former Phillies find new teams

It's been a busy few days in the ex-Phillie roster moves department.

Cameron Rupp and Andres Blanco both signed minor-league deals, Rupp with the Rangers and Blanco with the Brewers.

Rupp was a free agent after being released by the Phils on March 26. It wasn't surprising that he found a new team just a week later because of how few quality backup catchers there are leaguewide. At the very least, a team knows Rupp can provide some power off the bench.

Rupp was the odd man out among Phillies' catchers and his poor spring did not help. He went 7 for 37 (.189) with 15 strikeouts and was designated for assignment as camp came to a close.

In just over 1,000 career at-bats in the majors, Rupp has hit .234/.298/.407. He's hit 14 and 16 home runs the last two seasons.

Blanco was released by the Giants on March 23. Last season, his fourth with the Phillies, was a struggle. Blanco hit .192 with a .549 OPS after hitting .274 with a .795 OPS the previous three years. He turns 34 on April 11.

Elsewhere, Vance Worley reportedly opted out of his minor-league contract with the Reds and is now a free agent. Late last week, the Rangers designated Tommy Joseph for assignment and he accepted it. He'll play with Double A Frisco, while his former teammate Rupp will be at Triple A Round Rock in the same system.

Phillies mount late rally to squeeze past fast-fading Marlins

Phillies mount late rally to squeeze past fast-fading Marlins


MIAMI — It was revenge for Nick Pivetta, who lasted just four outs the last time he faced the Miami Marlins.

It was redemption for Maikel Franco, who had stranded four runners in a pair of two-out at-bats.

And it was sweet relief for Jorge Alfaro, Andres Blanco and Hector Neris, three of the heroes of a ninth inning that saw the Phillies turn an apparent loss against a pitcher making his major-league debut into a rousing 2-1 comeback win on the road (see observations).

Let’s start with the starter, Pivetta, who left with a no-decision, yes, but with his pride intact.

In two previous starts against Miami, Pivetta was 1-1 but with an ugly 12.15 ERA. On Friday, he pitched six innings, struck out six, allowed four hits and just one run — on a wild pitch.

He had a respectable 4.73 ERA in the first half of this season. But entering Friday, he had a 9.22 ERA in the second half.

“The work I’m doing is coming together,” said Pivetta, a rookie with a 5-9 record and a 6.28 ERA. “I had a rough August, but I’m looking forward to [a better] September and finishing strong.”  
Franco’s night was interesting.

The Phillies had very little in terms of a scouting report to go on against rookie lefty Dillon Peters, who stepped on a big-league mound for the first time on Friday.

Threats of two men on base were mounted in the first and sixth innings. But Franco squashed both of those opportunities, striking out swinging in the first and grounding into a force play in the sixth. On the latter play, another Marlins player making his big-league debut, Brian Anderson, made a diving stop.

But in the ninth, Franco got his first hit of the game, a leadoff double to the left-field corner, and that set the Phillies up for victory.

Franco moved up to third on a grounder by Nick Williams and scored when Alfaro singled softly to right.

“I was trying to put the ball in play,” Alfaro said. “I wasn’t as anxious as earlier in the game.”

The game-winning RBI wasn’t hit that hard, either. With runners on the corners and one out, Blanco grounded out to second baseman Dee Gordon. But Blanco gave it all he had to first base, avoiding a double play.

“That’s how you create a run and win a ballgame,” Blanco said. “Everybody was doing the little things, and I didn’t want to be left behind. I wanted to do something too.“

Neris pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 18th save of the season, but it wasn’t that easy, especially that last out.

Christian Yelich hit what should’ve been a fairly easy comebacker. However, Neris bobbled the ball and threw wildly to first, where Blanco stretched out for a great grab.

It was ironic that Neris, who specializes in saves, needed a save from his teammate, but that’s exactly how it went down.

“I didn’t expect a good throw,” Blanco told CSN’s Gregg Murphy. “I knew something crazy was going to happen. He bobbled it so many times. … But we made it.”

Phillies-Marlins observations: Late rally secures 2-1 win

Phillies-Marlins observations: Late rally secures 2-1 win


MIAMI — The Phillies, one of the youngest teams in baseball, almost got beat by a rookie making his major-league debut.

But not quite.

Maikel Franco, who had struggled earlier in the game, doubled to lead off the ninth, sparking a 2-1 Phillies’ victory over the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on Friday night.

After Franco doubled off closer Brad Ziegler (1-3), who had entered the game with 13 consecutive scoreless innings, the Phillies cashed in when Jorge Alfaro stroked an RBI single and Andres Blanco hit a run-scoring groundout.

Blanco’s heroics weren’t limited to the plate. He dug out a throw in the dirt from Hector Neris at first base and tumbled over onto the ground to record the game’s final out.
It was the Phillies’ second straight win in this series, both by one run. The series concludes on Sunday.

Miami’s Dillon Peters tossed seven scoreless innings but left with a no-decision.

Peters, who turned 25 on Thursday, allowed three hits — all singles — and three walks, striking out eight. He tied the franchise record for longest outing in a debut and also for the number of strikeouts. Several Marlins hold the first record. On the second one, Peters is now tied with the late Jose Fernandez.  

• The Phillies threatened twice against Peters, getting two runners on in each of the first and sixth innings. In the first, Franco struck out swinging to end the threat. In the sixth, Franco grounded into a force play. 

• One night after committing three errors, the Phillies were solid on defense as they turned two double plays and made no miscues. Among their top defensive plays was when first baseman Tommy Joseph grabbed a hot-shot liner with the bases loaded, a slick backhand stop by shortstop Freddy Galvis deep in the hole and when third baseman Franco charged in to start an impressive double play. 

• Perhaps the best defensive play of the night — at least in self-defense — was made by a fan who caught Galvis’ bat when the shortstop let it slip through his hands on a swing. The bat sailed over the third-base dugout and was caught by a young lady in jeans and an orange Marlins T-shirt.

• Right-hander Nick Pivetta gave the Phillies six innings of one-run ball. He worked around three walks and three wild pitches, one of which produced the Marlins' only run. Newcomer Juan Nicasio, acquired Thursday off of waivers from the Pirates, earned the win by recording one out on just three pitches. Neris recorded his 18th save with a scoreless ninth.

• Rhys Hoskins went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts as his 13-game hitting streak was snapped.

• Before Friday’s game, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin, responding to a question about Pedro Florimon, said he hopes to have the utility man back on the team next year. Mackanin said he likes Florimon defensively both in center field and shortstop, and that type of versatility — for those two positions in particular — is rare.

• Mackanin also said that there were no rookies called up on Friday — when rosters were allowed to expand by as many as 15 more players — in part because so many young players have come up already this season (see story). The Phillies have used 16 rookies this year, and they have 10 players on their current roster who made their major-league debut at some point in 2017.

• Centerfielder Odubel Herrera (hamstring) is expected to join the Phillies on Tuesday. He had Friday off, but in a rehab game at Double A Reading on Thursday he went 2 for 2 with two runs scored, two RBIs, one homer to dead center and one bat flip. Outfielder Aaron Altherr (hamstring) is a bit behind Herrera in starting his rehab.