John Kruk picks Phillies broadcast booth over eating all day

John Kruk picks Phillies broadcast booth over eating all day

John Kruk spent six of his 10 major league seasons with the Phillies. He coached in the organization’s farm system and was part of the team’s TV broadcast team in 2003.

After working as an analyst for ESPN the last 12 seasons, Kruk is back with the Phillies. He was officially named to CSN Philly’s broadcast team earlier this week.

“I’ve had so many people say, ‘Welcome back,’ but once you’re with this organization you never leave,” Kruk said at an introductory news conference Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park. “You’re always part of the Phillies family and even though I played for three teams I’ll always be a Phillie.”

Kruk, who turns 55 on Thursday, made it clear he was part of a retrenching at ESPN.

“Basically, they were cutting back,” he said. “They were cutting payroll.”

That allowed him the opportunity to bring his broadcasting career full circle. He joins Tom McCarthy, Ben Davis, Gregg Murphy and Mike Schmidt on the CSN Philly broadcast team. Kruk will do color on about 90 games.

“My wife said I’m too young to retire,” he said. “What else am I going to do? My God, if I sat around and ate all day ...

“This is something I should do. It’s going to be fun.”

Kruk has a working knowledge of the Phillies' roster from his time at ESPN. In recent months, he’s received more intel from bench coach Larry Bowa. Kruk and Bowa go way back. Bowa managed the San Diego Padres when Kruk was a young player with that club and was the Phillies' third base coach when Kruk was a key member of the 1993 National League champions.

“I’ve got the best resource in the whole world in Larry Bowa,” Kruk said. “Now, I can’t tell you the things he says about some of the players, but ... no, there’s going to be some studying, but I watch enough that it’s not going to be that hard. I’m going to rely on Ben and Tom and Murph to help me with pronunciations, but I’m Polish and from West Virginia, so there’s Strike 2 already.”

Kruk has probably done a little more studying about the state of the Phillies than he let on. He seemed clued-in on the team’s plan of building a young pitching staff then filling in with a free-agent bat or two once the team is ready to contend.

“They finally separated themselves from some long-term deals,” Kruk said. “It could be difficult this year, but I think the future looks really good because they’re going to be able to get what they need, hopefully. They need to get the young pitching up to where they can throw 180, 200 innings and if they get that we can try to convince someone to come here and play, right?”

Kruk was asked about his style as a color man.

Will he be critical of players?

“I’m going to take it for granted that if they screwed up they know it,” he said. “Ever since I came here in 1989, all anyone ever said is how knowledgeable the fans are, so if I sugarcoat something they’re going to know I’m being a little you-know-what.

“But I’m not going to go out of my way to bury someone. Look, I was here a week when I forgot how many outs there were and a guy scored from second while I’m jogging in from the outfield. I understand. I made every mistake you can make — on and off the field.”

Phillies trim roster, send Tyler Goeddel, Jake Thompson to minors

Phillies trim roster, send Tyler Goeddel, Jake Thompson to minors

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- With a week to go before they leave Florida, the Phillies made several roster moves on Friday morning.

Outfielder Tyler Goeddel, who spent all of last season in the majors, was optioned to the minor leagues.

Pitcher Jake Thompson, who made 10 starts in the majors for the Phillies last season, was also optioned to the minors. He is expected to open the season in the starting rotation at Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Goeddel, 24, joined the Phillies organization in December 2015 after being selected in the Rule 5 draft. He had originally been a first-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011.

Players selected in the Rule 5 draft must spend an entire season in the majors or be exposed to waivers and offered back to their original club. The Phillies kept Goeddel all of last season, fully securing his rights, but he received only 213 at-bats and hit just .192 with four homers and 16 RBIs.

The news on Goeddel was not completely surprising. The wintertime additions of outfielders Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders had made Goeddel a long shot to make the team.

"I knew going into camp I was going to have to earn my spot," he said. "There's a lot of guys in here that have been playing well. Whatever happened happened."

Goeddel needs to recoup some at-bats in the minor leagues. The question is: where? The Phillies have three top outfield prospects -- Roman Quinn, Nick Williams and Dylan Cozens -- who will require regular playing time at Triple A. It's possible that Goeddel could open the season at Double A.

Team officials discussed that possibility with him.

"They want me to get more at-bats," Goeddel said. "That's the main thing. Only getting 200 in your age-23 season is not enough.

"They said there's a chance I'm at Reading. I'm not too happy about that but you can't control it. That's where their most openings are and most consistent playing time.

"I want to play every day. It was tough last year playing sparingly. Getting at-bats is going to be great. Obviously, I wish it was up here. But at the end of the day, you can't control it."

Goeddel is still on the 40-man roster and as long as he stays on it can come back to the majors quite easily if a need arises.

"They said that," Goeddel said. "Last year (pitcher Alec) Asher started at Double A and was called up. They said that in there. They just want me to get at-bats. That was their main thing."

Thompson could be one of the first to return to the majors if a need arises in the starting rotation.

The 23-year-old right-hander was one of five prospects that the Phillies acquired from Texas for Cole Hamels in July 2015. He went 11-5 with a 2.50 ERA in 21 starts at Triple A last season and 3-6 with a 5.70 ERA with the big club.

The Phils also reassigned pitcher Dalier Hinojosa, catcher Logan Moore and infielder Hector Gomez to minor-league camp.

Twins 4, Phillies 2: Aaron Nola encouraged by good health, still looking for command

Twins 4, Phillies 2: Aaron Nola encouraged by good health, still looking for command

BOX SCORE

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Aaron Nola has not had a great spring.

But in the big picture, well, maybe he has.

Nola was one of the Phillies' biggest and most important question marks coming into camp. He had missed the final two months of the 2016 season because of an elbow injury. All he needed to do this spring to be in the starting rotation was show that he was healthy.

He's done that.

He pitched 5 2/3 innings against the Minnesota Twins and threw 82 pitches in his fifth start of the spring on Thursday. He gave up six hits, including a two-run homer, walked one and struck out six.

He's up to 17 2/3 innings for the spring -- without an elbow issue.

"I'm over that," Nola said after the game. "My elbow feels really good. I haven't had any pain or problems with it. I don't even think about it throwing or in games.

"Everything has been very positive. My body is healthy."

Nola, who lines up to fill the fifth spot in the Phillies' rotation, hasn't had good results this spring. He has given up 19 hits and 13 earned runs. But, again, the Phillies were only looking for good health.

"He's been working on his changeup," manager Pete Mackanin said. "Today, he threw more changeups than I've ever seen him throw. The changeup he threw for the home run, he admitted, 'I would never throw that pitch in a game.' But he's working on it, trying to get it going for him, and I think it's going to be a good pitch for him. 

"He really pitched better than the result he got. He had a lot of work with his changeup, which is important. He was as sharp as we've seen him."

Coming into camp, Mackanin was concerned about Nola's health.

"I'm less concerned right now," the manager said. "It's always going to be in the back of my mind. But it's good to see 92, 93, 94 (mph) coming out of his hand, which is important. Once he regains that command, and he showed real good command of his fastball down in the zone today, he's going to be back to where he was -- with even maybe a little more velocity. We'll see. But the changeup is going to help him. I'm very encouraged."

The game
The Phillies lost, 4-2, to the Twins.

The Phils had 10 hits, two by Odubel Herrera, who homered.

Andrew Knapp, pushing to make the club, started behind the plate and had a double.

The Phillies were just 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.

The Phils' bullpen -- Sean Burnett, Edubray Ramos and Hector Neris -- accounted for 3 1/3 innings of scoreless ball.

Up next
The Phils play the Yankees in Tampa on Friday. Jeremy Hellickson will start against CC Sabathia.