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Phillies call up shortstop Sean Rodriguez, who's known for his competitive fire

Phillies call up shortstop Sean Rodriguez, who's known for his competitive fire

NEW YORK — All signs point to Jean Segura returning to the Phillies on Saturday, but in the meantime, the Phils have another shortstop: Sean Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was called up from Triple A on Wednesday, two days before his 34th birthday. He will immediately get the start at shortstop for the Phillies, batting seventh on Wednesday night against Mets left-hander Jason Vargas.

Rodriguez's call-up was one of several roster moves the Phillies made ahead of their series finale in New York. Right-handed pitcher Enyel De Los Santos was also recalled from Triple A, while Mitch Walding and Drew Anderson were optioned back to Lehigh Valley. 

Additionally, left-handed reliever James Pazos was designated for assignment. Acquired in the Segura trade with Seattle, Pazos wasn't sharp in spring training and had a rough go with the IronPigs, allowing six runs and seven walks in 7⅓ innings.

The Phillies have had to utilize more of their 40-man roster than they would have liked these last two weeks. Scott Kingery was Segura's replacement, but then Kingery suffered a hamstring injury of his own. The next man up was Phil Gosselin, who had two singles in his Phillies debut last Friday and a three-run double Saturday but is 0 for 12 since. Gosselin also committed a throwing error in the first inning of Tuesday night's loss.

Enter Rodriguez, who last season in the majors played every position except pitcher and catcher. He's spent most of his career as a bench utilityman but had a lot of success in 2016 as a platoon player with the Pirates, hitting .270/.349/.510 with 18 homers and 56 RBI in just 342 plate appearances.

Even through his struggles the last two seasons, Rodriguez has more than held his own against left-handed pitching. Since 2016, he has a .384 OBP against lefties, which you'd think factored into the timing of this call-up. The Phillies face the lefty Vargas on Wednesday and another southpaw in Caleb Smith Thursday. 

Rodriguez, who's tight with Andrew McCutchen and thrilled to again share a clubhouse with him, had an opt-out in his contract if he didn't make the team out of spring training but decided to stay in the organization and accept the role at Triple A. 

"I'm in it to win," he said. "That's what I told (Gabe) Kapler and (Matt) Klentak. It was clear this offseason this team was trying to win."

Rodriguez had been hitting for power at Triple A, going 11 for 25 with four homers, a triple, two doubles and 12 RBI in his last six games before Tuesday night. Despite that and the Phillies' growing injured list, he tried his best to not sit by his phone and await the call.

"We can try to play GM but I learned a long time ago not to do that," he said. "You obviously see the injuries and all that but you don't buy into it, you just try to show up every day and do your job on a daily basis."

Rodriguez is perhaps best-known for his fire and competitiveness in the field, on the bases and in the dugout. He's the consummate good teammate, the kind of guy who's usually the first one out when benches begin to clear in a situation like the Phillies experienced Tuesday night when two fastballs were thrown above Rhys Hoskins' head.

He has no intentions of dialing that back as he gets reacclimated to the group of guys he spent spring training with.

"I think if you've identified pretty early on that's who you are as a player and competitor, it's hard not to just continue to be that guy," he said. "If you're not, then you're almost taking yourself and your competitive nature and putting it aside. Basically, you're putting it in the closet. You don't want to do that. 

"If that's who you are, that's who you are. You learn to somewhat not let the rage come out in a bad or negative way. That's what you try to harness and buffer up a bit. But definitely not turning it off."

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Phillies are suddenly very thin at shortstop as 3 players go on injured list

Phillies are suddenly very thin at shortstop as 3 players go on injured list

DENVER — The Phillies' injured list keeps on growing.

As expected, infielder Scott Kingery was placed on the injured list Saturday. He strained his right hamstring in Friday night's 4-3 loss to the Rockies.

Kingery had been playing shortstop in place of Jean Segura, who also had been nursing a hamstring issue. The Phillies had hoped that Segura would be ready to play this weekend. He obviously is not because he, too, was placed on the 10-day IL on Saturday, retroactive to April 17.

Also, the Phils placed reliever Victor Arano on the IL with right elbow inflammation.

So, that's three players placed on the IL on one Saturday afternoon. Kingery, Segura and Arano joined previously sidelined outfielder Odubel Herrera and reliever David Roberston on the IL. Reliever Tommy Hunter has been on the IL all season.

With Kingery and Segura on the IL, the Phils are very thin at shortstop. Phil Gosselin figures to get significant time at the position. Cesar Hernandez has seen some time at the position in his career. Roman Quinn can also help out.

In reaction to Saturday's moves, the Phils recalled infielder Mitch Walding and relievers Austin Davis and Drew Anderson from Triple A.

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Trevor Plouffe hits walk-off homer to give Phillies 16-inning win over Dodgers

Trevor Plouffe hits walk-off homer to give Phillies 16-inning win over Dodgers

BOX SCORE

The Phillies rallied from three runs down in the seventh inning then needed what seemed like an eternity to post a wild, 7-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.

The Phillies won it on a three-run home run by Trevor Plouffe with one out in the bottom of the 16th inning.

The homer came against Kike Hernandez, a Dodgers infielder who had taken over on the mound. Hernandez walked two before Plouffe’s big hit.

Vince Velasquez, who is scheduled to start on Saturday, was pressed into duty and got the win with a scoreless inning of work in the top of the 16th.

The game took five hours and 55 minutes to play. It ended at 1:14 a.m.

The win improved the NL East-leading Phillies to 56-44. They lead Atlanta by a game. The Braves lost at Miami.

The Phillies will look for a series win over the Dodgers on Wednesday with Jake Arrieta on the mound.

The Phillies’ bullpen delivered 11 innings of one-run ball — including 10 scoreless innings in a row — after Aaron Nola departed. Victor Arano, who was originally signed by the Dodgers and acquired by the Phillies for Roberto Hernandez in August 2014, pitched scoreless ball in the eighth and ninth after the Phillies rallied to tie the game with three runs against starter Kenta Maeda in the bottom of the seventh. Two of those runs came on a booming, game-tying, two-out homer by Jorge Alfaro with two outs.

Luis Garcia and Austin Davis both pitched two scoreless innings in relief.

Nola lasted just five innings in his shortest outing since April 4. He allowed five hits, including a solo homer, and walked two on his way to giving up three runs. However, two of the runs would not have scored had the Phillies’ defense not made another poor showing.

Centerfielder Odubel Herrera and second baseman Jesmuel Valentin combined to botch a pop up to shallow center field that would have ended the first inning. The inning stayed alive and Nola threw a wild pitch to score a run from third. Alfaro, the catcher, could have saved Nola, but he was unable to block a ball that appeared quite blockable. It was the second night in a row that happened with Alfaro behind the plate and both times it cost the Phillies a run.

In the fifth inning, leftfielder Rhys Hoskins could not make a play on a catchable ball to the wall by Joc Pederson. It went for an RBI double, giving the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.

The Phillies got a run back in the bottom of the fifth on a solo homer by Nick Williams, but the Dodgers went right back up by three runs on a homer by Yasmani Grandal against Adam Morgan in the sixth. Grandal had homered against Nola earlier in the game.

Maeda did not allow a hit until there were two outs in the fourth inning. Williams’ homer got the Phils on the board in the fifth and the bats fully awakened against Maeda in the bottom of the seventh.

Carlos Santana started the uprising with a single. He scored on a double by the resurgent Maikel Franco to make it a 4-2 game. Two batters later, Alfaro unloaded on a 1-0 fastball and sent it far over the center-field wall to tie the game at 4-4. Alfaro crushed the ball. It came off the bat at 114 mph and traveled 446 feet. Alfaro knew he hit it well and he admired the shot for a second or two before breaking into his home-run trot.

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