Spring Training Update: Freddy Galvis Plays Left Field, Hits Home Runs

Spring Training Update: Freddy Galvis Plays Left Field, Hits Home Runs

When the Phillies parted ways with Yuniesky Betancourt and
his career .290 on-base percentage (much to many fans’ delight we’re sure),
that more or less solidified a roster spot for Freddy Galvis. You may remember
him from such roles as 2012 Opening Day starter at second base, but today
Galvis is here to talk about playing in the outfield.

Galvis has already flashed Gold Glove potential at second
and shortstop, but recently the 23 year old has been getting some experience in
left,
perhaps so Charlie Manuel can find ways to maximize his playing time this
season. A few weeks back Manuel told reporters he thought Galvis would be more
valuable to the big club
than in the minors.

“Freddy’s a tremendous ballplayer,” Manuel said earlier in
camp. “I think he can help us more getting 250 at-bats in the majors than 450
in the minors.”

Unless somebody gets hurt, Manuel might have to get creative
to get him that many. Chase Utley looks healthy and has been absolutely mashing
the baseball, and Jimmy Rollins is Jimmy Rollins. Jim Salisbury suggested some
looks at third base are is even a possibility, but that could mostly be as a
defensive substitute for Michael Young or Kevin Frandsen.

It’s not hard to understand why management wants Galvis to
get to the dish though. He filled in admirably for Utley last year after
basically skipping Triple-A before a back injury and 50-game suspension cost
him the rest of the season. This spring, Galvis is hitting .293 with 10
extra-base hits and 9 RBI.

Why just today in his second outfield appearance, Galvis hit
his third bomb of the year. If he can continue to grow at the plate, and with
that kind of versatility, Galvis could be a real weapon for the Phillies this
season.

>>> VIDEO: Galvis' two-run homer [MLB]

>> Galvis Diversifies Portfolio [High Cheese]

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Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

NEW ORLEANS — Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to coexist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right foot fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."