JUPITER, Fla. -- An intrasquad matchup Wednesday between two precocious talents left Giancarlo Stanton dazed and Jose Fernandez shaken.
Stanton was hit in the back of the helmet during a Miami Marlins practice game by a fastball that got away from Fernandez, the team's top pitching prospect. Stanton remained on his feet but left the game and said the beaning affected his eyesight.
"I wasn't dizzy," he said. "I saw a little grayness and fuzziness on the outside of my eyes, but it's subsiding now."
Stanton bruised the back of his neck, and X-rays were planned, but there was no sign of a concussion, manager Mike Redmond said.
After the game, Stanton stood in the clubhouse with an ice bag on his neck, while Fernandez sat alone at his locker with his head down. The 20-year-old right-hander, the Marlins' first-round draft pick in 2011, said the pitch slipped from his hand but still had plenty of velocity.
"Over 95 mph, I know it was. It's a scary moment," Fernandez said. "My hands were sweating a lot. It was just not a good pitch. I feel bad. It's not a good feeling, I promise you."
The pitch, the first from Fernandez to Stanton, struck the slugger on the lower edge of the helmet above his neck. Fernandez followed Stanton into the clubhouse to apologize (see full story).
Gonzalez waiting to hear from MLB
VIERA, Fla. -- Washington pitcher Gio Gonzalez says he and the Nationals are still waiting to hear from Major League Baseball, which is conducting an investigation linking him and other players to an anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables.
Gonzalez has denied he ever received performance-enhancing drugs from Tony Bosch's now-closed Biogenesis of America clinic. ESPN reported Tuesday that Gonzalez was the only client named so far who had not received PEDs.
The 27-year-old left-hander did not answer questions about the report on Wednesday, but he did make a statement to reporters, saying he hadn't heard anything yet officially from MLB," but plans "on sitting down and cooperating with them."
Gonzalez says he is "confident this is going to come out good." (see full story)
Hughes could be out two weeks
TAMPA, Fla. -- New York Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes could be sidelined for two weeks because of a bulging disk that will be treated with anti-inflammatory medication.
"I'm convinced I'll be symptom free in the next four or five days," Hughes said Wednesday. "I felt like I was kind of ahead of the game with my throwing. I threw a bunch of bullpens before I got here, and, thankfully, it's early enough in spring. It's a setback, but I still have a lot of time to get it right."
Hughes said he will be treated with the anti-inflammatory medication for four or five days. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said it could be two weeks before Hughes could resume throwing off a mound (see full story).
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CLEARWATER, Fla. – Phillies pitching prospect Nick Pivetta had one of those pinch-me moments Saturday.
He met his boyhood idol, Roy Halladay, at a charity event.
Someone had filled in Halladay that Pivetta had grown up in Canada and had regularly watched Toronto Blue Jays games on television. Pivetta loved watching Halladay pitch, as he talked about a few weeks ago here.
“I got to briefly shake his hand,” Pivetta said Sunday morning. “He knew I was like a stalker. He said, ‘Oh, right, you’re the guy from British Columbia.’ “
Halladay, who pitched for the Phils from 2010 to 2013, lives in the Clearwater area. Pivetta said he expected to speak more with Halladay in the coming days.
Halladay was honored at the 44th annual Clearwater For Youth banquet and Pivetta attended with a number of his teammates and Phillies officials. Phillies chairman David Montgomery and his wife Lyn were also honored for their charitable works.
Pivetta will pitch for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic in March.
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Just pitch.
Don’t worry about the role.
That’s Adam Morgan’s mindset this spring.
“I’m just trying to show whoever needs to see it that I can be an asset to this team,” the left-hander said after his spring debut against the New York Yankees on Saturday (see story). “I’m just keeping it simple that way. I’m not trying to go out for that fifth (starting) spot. If the fifth spot opens up, I’d be more than willing to do that. If they want to put me in the bullpen, I’d be more than willing to do that. If they want me to be the backup catcher, I’ll be the backup catcher.”
The Phillies have plenty of candidates for backup catcher.
And the top five spots in their starting rotation, barring an unforeseen development, are accounted for.
But there is a way for Morgan to make this team.
“He’s definitely a bullpen candidate,” manager Pete Mackanin said.
Mackanin is on record as saying he’d like to have two lefties in what likely will be a seven-man bullpen. It might not work out that way, but that would be Mackanin’s preference.
Morgan is one of what appears to be four candidates along with Joely Rodriguez, Cesar Ramos and Sean Burnett. Ramos and Burnett are experienced major-league veterans in camp on minor-league contracts. Rodriguez is the only pure lefty reliever on the 40-man roster. Morgan, of course, is on the 40-man roster, but he’s mainly been a starter in his career.
There’s a long way to go in spring training and it would not be surprising to see general manager Matt Klentak add to the list of lefty relief candidates with some type of pickup before the end of camp.
But for now, it’s just these four.
Morgan, who turns 27 on Monday, started and pitched two scoreless innings against the Yankees on Saturday and will likely continue to have his innings stretched out throughout the Grapefruit League season, just in case he’s needed as a starter.
Ramos and Rodriguez both pitched an inning Saturday. Ramos allowed a hit and a run. Rodriguez had a clean inning. Burnett was tagged for two hits and two runs on Friday.
Morgan made 21 starts for the Phillies last season. He also made two relief appearances and finished the season with a 6.04 ERA. He was sent to Triple A in July and returned in mid-August. He made nine starts after returning and pitched at least six innings and gave up two or fewer earned runs in four of them.
During his time in Triple A, Morgan started throwing a two-seam fastball or sinker. He’s continued to throw it this spring and believes it will help him.
“I learned to trust the two-seamer last year and that’s what I hope to keep moving forward with,” he said.
Will it take him to the Phillies’ bullpen?
He hopes so. He got a taste of relieving last season and liked it.
“Oh, yeah, I loved it,” he said. “Every time the phone rang down there, I was on high alert. It was awesome. It’s a rush.
“But wherever I land, I land. I’d be willing to play anywhere on this team.”