Pete Mackanin admonishes Edubray Ramos, hopes Odubel Herrera's bat filps don't cause incident

Pete Mackanin admonishes Edubray Ramos, hopes Odubel Herrera's bat filps don't cause incident

As promised, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin spoke with reliever Edubray Ramos on Tuesday afternoon, the day after the right-hander buzzed a 96-mph fastball over the head of the Mets' Asbrubal Cabrera in the eighth inning of a tie game.

Ramos assured Mackanin that he did not do it intentionally.

"I'll take him at his word," Mackanin said.

Ramos and Cabrera have some history. Back in September, Ramos gave up a three-run, walk-off homer to Cabrera in a 9-8 Phillies' loss in 11 innings in New York. Cabrera celebrated the game-inning poke with a big bat flip. Ramos admitted after Monday night's game that he remembered Cabrera's celebration and did not like it at the time.

But he insisted it had nothing to do with the pitch "that got" away Monday night.

Cabrera got the last laugh Monday night. He ended up drawing a walk and scored when Jay Bruce belted a decisive two-run homer two batters later.

After the game, Mackanin said Ramos had acted "inappropriately, especially in a tie game in the eighth inning."

Ramos is from Venezuela and English is his second language. Mackanin had third-base coach Juan Samuel, a native of the Dominican Republic, sit in on his meeting with Ramos, just to make sure his message was delivered.

The Ramos-Cabrera incident Monday night set up an interesting subplot for Tuesday night's game. Would there be any carryover of bad blood? Mackanin actually held a brief team meeting Tuesday afternoon in which he covered several topics. One of them was reminding his team to play ball.

But one still had to wonder if the Mets would retaliate. After all, this all started with a bat flip that a Phillies pitcher apparently did not like, and the Phillies have a big-time bat flipper on their roster in Odubel Herrera.

Mackanin does not like bat flips and does not believe they have a place in the game. He has spoken to Herrera, but Herrera continues to launch.

"I know there’s a big contingent of people that think it’s fun, let the players enjoy it," Mackanin said. "But if I’m a pitcher on the mound and I’m trying to make a team or stay on a team or not get sent down, I don’t want somebody rubbing it in when a guy hits a home run off me. Fans might like to see it, I guess, but for me it’s just unprofessional.

"Odubel has been spoken to many times. The one thing I will say: I don’t like when players flip the bat on a home run, but how can you be mad at a guy that when he walks he flips the bat? I don’t see why you get mad at that."

Mackanin believes Herrera can one day win a batting title. But you can't win a batting title on the disabled list and there has to be a fear that some pitcher might drill Herrera (and cause an injury) in retaliation for one of his bat flips.

Mackanin was asked if he worries about that.

"We saw it happen last year," Mackanin said. "He was drilled a half dozen times last year. He is who he is and he’s been spoken to about that, and told to be careful about that type of thing. But once again, you can only do so much, if that’s who he is and who he wants to be, then he has to suffer the consequences."

Phillies Notes: A setback for Aaron Nola? Howie Kendrick an option at first base?

Phillies Notes: A setback for Aaron Nola? Howie Kendrick an option at first base?

LOS ANGELES — Aaron Nola is eligible to come off the disabled list on Monday, but that's not going to happen.

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin on Saturday indicated that the pitcher's recovery from a lower back strain was not going as smoothly as hoped.

Did Nola experience a setback?

"If you want to call it that," Mackanin said.

Nola threw a bullpen session on Friday and, according to Mackanin, did not bounce back as well as hoped.

"After he completed it, he had some symptoms, some soreness or tightness, I guess," Mackanin said. "It was decided he will not make his start on Monday. He will be reevaluated to determine his next bullpen.

"A couple of days ago he said he felt great and then [Friday] not so great. He's improving but he's not 100 percent. There's something bugging him. We're just going to take it day to day. We're being cautious with him this early in the season."

Nola experienced soreness in his lower back after his last start, April 20 against the Mets. The Phils have been filling the opening on their pitching staff with reliever Mark Leiter Jr. Nick Pivetta will be activated on Sunday and make his major-league debut with a start against the Dodgers.

Kendrick works at first base
First baseman Tommy Joseph and catcher Cameron Rupp, both hitting under .200, were not in the starting lineup on Saturday night as Mackanin went heavy on lefty hitters against Dodgers' righty Brandon McCarthy.

Mackanin stressed that he doesn't like to make judgments on hitters until they get around the 100 at-bat mark — Joseph has 63; Rupp 50 — but it's worth noting that first baseman Rhys Hoskins and catcher Jorge Alfaro are both off to hot starts at Triple A and could be eventual replacements if the club looks for more production.

There also could be another option brewing at first base.

Howie Kendrick has worked at first base during batting practice the last two days. On Friday, he merely tracked balls off the bat and worked on first-step breaks. He did so with a regular fielder's glove.

But on Saturday, Kendrick brought his first baseman's mitt to the field. He took some groundballs and throws from across the diamond.

This stuff doesn't happen just by accident.

Over an 11-season career, Kendrick has played in 89 games at first base. He opened the season as the Phillies' leftfielder and hit .333 (13 for 39) with an .883 OPS before suffering an oblique injury two weeks ago in Washington. Kendrick probably needs at least another week of recovery time before coming off the disabled list, but it's now reasonable to wonder if he will go back to left field or get time at first base when he returns. Using Kendrick at first would allow the Phillies to keep Aaron Altherr's bat in the lineup in left field.

Joseph can have a say in all this if he gets his bat going. He is hitting .190 (12 for 63) with just a .505 OPS.

Last May, it was Joseph who earned his way to the majors after his hot start in Triple A coincided with Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf struggling in the majors. Joseph got 347 plate appearances in the majors last season and hit .257 with 21 homers, 47 RBIs and a .813 OPS.

Tonight's lineup: Struggling Tommy Joseph, Cameron Rupp sit

Tonight's lineup: Struggling Tommy Joseph, Cameron Rupp sit

Tommy Joseph and Cameron Rupp, both struggling mightily through the first month of the season, will get Saturday night off when the Phillies take on the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

Joseph is hitting .190 with one homer and 18 strikeouts in 18 games, while Rupp is batting .180 with one homer and 20 strikeouts through 15 games. Last season, Joseph had 21 home runs and Rupp 16.

Brock Stassi will spell Joseph at first base and bat seventh. Andrew Knapp takes over for Rupp behind the plate and will bat eighth.

Daniel Nava also receives a start, playing left field. The first-year Phillie is hitting .346 with a pair of homers and as many walks as strikeouts (seven).

Zach Eflin takes the mound in a meaningful start for the right-hander (see story). He opposes resurgent Dodgers righty Brandon McCarthy (see game notes).

Here are tonight's lineups:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Michael Saunders, RF
6. Daniel Nava, LF
7. Brock Stassi, 1B
8. Andrew Knapp, C
9. Zach Eflin, P

1. Andrew Toles, CF
2. Corey Seager, SS
3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
4. Yasmani Grandal, C
5. Yasiel Puig, RF
6. Cody Bellinger, LF
7. Chase Utley, 2B
8. Chris Taylor, 3B
9. Brandon McCarthy, P