They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression, but for former Phillies prospect Cord Sandberg, that may not be entirely true.
After playing his final baseball game on July 2, Sandberg announced his retirement from the game to pursue playing football. On Monday, we found out where that would be.
A highly sought-after two-sport athlete in high school, Sandberg, now 23, committed to Mississippi State out of Manatee High School in Bradenton, Florida, to play football in 2013. However, the Phillies selected him with the 89th overall pick in the MLB draft and he decided to sign with the club for a signing bonus of $775,000.
He would spend the next six seasons in the Phillies' organization, hitting .243 with 29 home runs in 496 games. The outfielder spent 2018 in Reading, where he hit .231 in 54 games.
A dual-threat quarterback, Sandberg was the 232nd-ranked player and a four-star recruit back in 2013 by 247Sports. Astonishingly, Sandberg threw for nearly 2,500 yards in his senior season with 35 TDs and just one interception. During his prep career, Sandberg tossed 79 TDs with just eight picks.
He will attend Auburn University, and does so hoping to follow in the footsteps of some other successful baseball players-turned-QBs like Chris Weinke, a Heisman Trophy winner, and Drew Henson, who played for the Yankees before being drafted by Houston and traded to Dallas.
Sandberg will arrive on campus this week, but does not figure to be a starter for a few seasons.
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A few interesting items on the injury front from Citizens Bank Park:
• Nick Williams is not in Tuesday night’s lineup. He left Monday night’s game after getting hit in the nose by a ball that ricocheted off the right field wall. At first, it looked like Williams had suffered nothing more than a bloody nose. Further evaluation revealed a break. Both Williams and the Phillies are confident he can avoid the disabled list and return very soon.
“I thought I could play today,” Williams said. “I’m ready.”
It does not appear as if Williams suffered a concussion though the team was awaiting the results of some tests.
“As of right now, we don't think there is a concussion,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Our feeling is that he's going to be able to go [Wednesday]. This is nothing long term; it's not a DL. But we do want to be careful with the concussion stuff for today."
• Reliever Pat Neshek, who has not pitched this season because of a shoulder injury then later a forearm injury, is making good progress in Florida. He could be out on a minor-league rehab assignment next week and be back in early July.
“When Pat thinks he’s ready and our evaluators think he’s ready, we’ll gladly get him here right away,” general manager Matt Klentak said. “I couldn’t tell you if that’s going to be one or two outings or four or five outings.”
Klentak signed Neshek to a two-year, $16.25 million contract in the offseason. He believes the veteran right-hander will provide a big boost to the bullpen.
“That may be the single biggest bullpen acquisition any team makes — Pat Neshek rejoining us,” Klentak said. “This guy was as good a setup reliever as there was in all of baseball for six months last season.”
• Mickey Moniak has been out of the Clearwater lineup recently. He had his wisdom teeth removed. He is working his way back into action. Moniak, 20, was the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft.
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Oft-injured Phillies prospect Roman Quinn is on the shelf again. The team announced Monday night that Quinn had surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn ligament in his right middle finger. Quinn will be out six to eight weeks, the team said.
Quinn, who turned 25 last week, has long been one of the Phillies’ most exciting prospects, mostly for the electricity he generates on the bases and in the outfield. His career, however, has been marked by one injury after another. The team’s second-round draft pick in 2011 has missed time over the years with a torn Achilles tendon, a torn left quadriceps, a concussion and a strained elbow ligament.
Quinn suffered his latest injury diving into a base last week while playing for Triple A Lehigh Valley.
Quinn has been a standout in big-league spring training for the Phillies. The team considered carrying him as an extra man on the opening day roster this season, but sent him back to Triple A to play every day. Quinn spent some time in the majors in September 2016. He had 15 hits in 57 at-bats (.263) and recorded a .373 on-base percentage. In one memorable play, Quinn threw out a runner at home plate from center field. The throw registered 96 mph to the plate on MLB’s Statcast. That’s some serious heat. Now, Quinn is on ice again.