Pedro Florimon

Phillies make 1st wave of September call-ups

Phillies make 1st wave of September call-ups

Gabe Kapler has an expanded roster at his disposal, and it seems he’s going to make the most of it.

With rosters expanding Saturday, the Phillies recalled Aaron Altherr, Dylan Cozens and Yacksel Rios from Triple AAA Lehigh Valley. The team also activated relievers Edubray Ramos and Austin Davis off the 10-day DL and Pedro Florimon off the 60-day DL.

Jesmuel Valentin was designated for assignment. Mark Leiter Jr., who had been designated for assignment earlier this week, was claimed on waivers by the Blue Jays and is headed to Toronto.

Kapler hasn’t been hesitant to use his full bench and bullpen, and he now has a few more resources he can use.

All the players activated have spent time with the Phillies this season. Altherr was demoted in July after a disappointing start to the season. He hit just .171 in 248 plate appearances. He should provide another good defensive replacement and pinch-running option late in games, along with another powerful bat off the bench.

Cozens is 2 for 20 with 14 strikeouts at the major-league level. Like Altherr and recent addition Jose Bautista, he's an option who Kapler can turn to for power.

Florimon, who had been sidelined since May 18 with a broken foot, is a versatile defensive player. 

Rios, Ramos and Davis should give Kapler even more flexibility out of the bullpen.

After Friday night’s 2-1 win in 10 innings over the Cubs, the Phillies trail the Braves for first place in the NL East by two games with 28 games remaining. Seven of the Phillies’ final 11 games are against Atlanta.

This is the first wave of September call-ups for the Phillies. More moves could be coming later in the month once Lehigh Valley's playoff run ends. 

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Players Phillies are most likely to call up on Sept. 1

Players Phillies are most likely to call up on Sept. 1

As depressing as this is to everyone who loves summer, Saturday is Sept. 1.

In the baseball world, that means expanded rosters.

Starting on Sept. 1, teams can activate everyone on their 40-man roster if they so choose. You typically do not see a team make use of all 40 spots because it crams the clubhouse and dugout and some of them aren't needed.

But the 2018 Phillies figure to use more extra men in September than the last few years because of two reasons: They are in contention, and Gabe Kapler loves to match up.

Here's a look at the players most likely to be called up to the majors on Sept. 1. Keep in mind that the Triple A IronPigs will be going after a championship this month, so you could see a few players left at Lehigh Valley until they're actually needed.

SP Jerad Eickhoff
Eickhoff has started five games in August in his attempt to come back from lat and hand injuries. He has a 1.83 ERA in those five starts, including six shutout innings for Triple A Lehigh Valley on Saturday.

Eickhoff figures to work as a long man for the Phillies in September because their rotation is full. He could still make a spot start if there's an injury, if Nick Pivetta struggles or a rainout forces the Phils to play a doubleheader.

C Andrew Knapp
Knapp is currently on the Phillies' 25-man roster, serving as a bench bat and third catcher with Wilson Ramos' lingering wrist and hamstring issues.

Knapp could be the odd man out by Tuesday afternoon if the Phillies are able to acquire Jose Bautista from the Mets (see story). But even if Knapp is sent out to make room for Bautista, he will definitely be back by the weekend. Every team in baseball calls up a third catcher for the month of September.

SS/3B J.P. Crawford
Crawford, who homered Monday night, last appeared in a game with the Phillies on June 19. He is the type of player who might benefit from some more regular playing time at Triple A before a mid-September call-up. 

But the Phillies could also bring him back as a patient bat off the bench. This has mostly been a lost season for Crawford because of a forearm strain and a broken hand that kept him out for nearly six weeks each.

INF/OF Pedro Florimon
Florimon had his rehab assignment transferred to Triple A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday. He's been out since May 30 because of a broken foot caused by a foul ball.

Florimon has played shortstop, third base, center field and right field for the Phillies this season. He's pitched too, of course.

The Phillies could utilize Florimon's defense on the left side of the infield late in games. He's a better defender at this point than Asdrubal Cabrera and is obviously more seasoned than Scott Kingery.

OFs Aaron Altherr, Dylan Cozens
Altherr hasn't done a lot of hitting since being demoted to Triple A on July 22. Entering Monday night, he had hit .245/.314/.340 in 30 games with the IronPigs.

But the Phillies could use his speed and defense late in games. He's still a better and more instinctive outfielder than everyone on the Phillies' 25-man roster other than Roman Quinn.

Cozens, theoretically, could provide left-handed power off the bench, but he hasn't hit much lately — .156 with 19 strikeouts in his last 54 plate appearances.

The Phillies could call up both Altherr and Cozens on Sept. 1 but it seems more likely they wait to bring Cozens back until a bit later in the month, when he's seeing the ball better.

LHP Austin Davis and RHP Edubray Ramos
Both are on the 10-day DL — Davis with a back injury and Ramos with a blister.

Davis started a rehab assignment at Triple A on Monday.

Both have spent plenty of time up with the big club this season and had their share of successes. Davis is not a conventional lefty specialist. Lefties have actually hit .293 against him compared to .213 for righties. 

The Phillies value Davis' endurance, though. Of his 22 appearances in the majors this season, seven were scoreless outings longer than an inning.

Ramos has a 2.00 ERA in 42 appearances and was arguably the Phillies' most consistent reliever in the first half.

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J.P. Crawford, Jerad Eickhoff and Pedro Florimon getting healthier, nearing returns

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J.P. Crawford, Jerad Eickhoff and Pedro Florimon getting healthier, nearing returns

Three Phillies injury updates ahead of Wall of Fame night:

SP Jerad Eickhoff

Eickhoff will start tonight for the Class A Clearwater Threshers and pitch two innings. It will be his first game action since May 20 when he started for the IronPigs.

Eickhoff has been out all season, initially with a right lat strain and lately because of lingering numbness in his fingers. 

The Phillies' rotation is solidified but there could be opportunities for Eickhoff in September, provided he's healthy. The Phils could find strategic ways to start Eickhoff while giving their young starting pitchers an extra day.

"If Jerad comes back healthy and strong, we're going to look for ways to get him on the field in September," manager Gabe Kapler said Saturday. "If it happens faster than that ... right now we're in early August. We could see this progressing fast. If it does and he's feeling strong and there's a way for us to incorporate him, we will."

SS/3B J.P. Crawford

Crawford has been out since June 19 with a broken hand. The injury carried a 4-to-6-week timetable and Crawford is just past the 6-week mark.

He could be back in the majors by the middle of next week.

Crawford will play nine innings at shortstop Saturday night, then have an off-day Sunday before playing back-to-back nine-inning games on Monday and Tuesday. The Phillies will then reassess and decide where he plays next.

Crawford has hit .194/.312/.333 in 112 plate appearances this season. His injury came at an unfortunate time because he was finally starting to settle in at the bottom of the Phillies' order. Crawford reached base 13 times in 29 plate appearances (.448 OBP) before breaking the hand on a hit by pitch.

Utilityman Pedro Florimon

A broken foot caused Florimon to land on the DL at the end of May. He ran the bases Saturday, however, and looked "awesome," according to Kapler.

When the Phillies head out West following this series against the Marlins, Florimon will travel to Florida where he'll begin a rehab assignment.

Getting Florimon back will be nice for the Phillies. He's a better defender at shortstop than either Scott Kingery or Asdrubal Cabrera. Let's just hope the Phils don't play it cautious and stop pitching him in blowouts.

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