Phillies 6, Red Sox 5: Situational hitting, small ball led by Roman Quinn impresses Pete Mackanin

Phillies 6, Red Sox 5: Situational hitting, small ball led by Roman Quinn impresses Pete Mackanin

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- If the Phillies can bring a culture and expectation of winning into the clubhouse it will be days like Sunday that manager Pete Mackanin can look back at to see where it began.

Situational hitting, advancing runners, stealing bases, playing defense, dropping bunts and solid relief pitching all played a part Sunday in a 6-5 win against the Red Sox at Spectrum Field.

Boston got to starter Aaron Nola early when Pablo Sandoval sent a fastball well over the 401-foot sign in center field in the first inning and Steve Selsky added an RBI single in the second inning.

But Roman Quinn got the Phillies on the board with a solo home run off Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez and Daniel Nava went 4 for 4 with a run scored. The Phillies had nine base hits but made just as many productive outs to advance baserunners.

"I'm excited about the fact that Cesar [Hernandez] hit that ground to second with men on second and third, got a run in and got a man over," Mackanin said. "[Howie] Kendrick battled in his at-bats and put the ball in play on the right side and got us a run. Freddy [Glavis] dropped down the bunt for a base hit. That's the type of stuff that catches my eye. That's the type of thing I hope we can do all year."

Mackanin said he was excited the Phillies battled back from an early deficit and added that it goes in hand with the development of a winning culture.

"We're trying to get these guys in a winning frame of mind," Mackanin said. "Winning is a big part of development. Everyone talks about development but winning is part of development and if you get in that frame of mind where you're used to winning, that's what we're looking for." 

Nola settled down after the early struggles and struck out six over 3 1/3 innings. He gave up five hits and three runs but said he felt good about where he is at this point.

"I felt pretty on point today, maybe the best I've felt all spring training," Nola said. "I made a couple mistakes over the plate. They hit some good balls but other than that all my pitches felt good."

Quinn looks mighty
Not only did Quinn get the Phillies started with the homer but the centerfielder had a single, stole a base and advanced a runner on a fly ball that would eventually score. 

Mackanin says Quinn has the ability to do several things during the course of a game to chance the outcome.

"He can win a game for you in a lot of different ways," Mackanin said. "Stealing a base late in a game. He's got enough pop to where teams won't worry about his size and they'll try to throw him fastballs because they don't want to walk him and have him steal a base. 

"But he's got the ability to hit a ball in the gap or out of the ballpark from both sides. He covers a lot of ground in the outfield. He's got an above-average arm. He can beat you in a lot of ways."

Learning off of television
When Mackanin was asked what he knew about newly acquired reliever Pat Venditte (see story), he simply replied "nothing". But Mackanin might get a sneak preview if he catches Team Italy in a World Baseball Classic game.

"Is he pitching for Italy?" Mackanin asked. "Maybe I'll watch him on TV."

Four head to minor-league camp
Infielder Rhys Hoskins, second baseman Scott Kingery, catcher Chace Numata and outfielder Andrew Pullin were assigned to minor-league camp after the game. The Phillies now have 58 players in major-league camp.

Up Next
Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, the likely opening-day starter, will make his fourth start of the spring. Hellickson pitched four innings in his last start on March 8 against the Braves.

"We are looking for another solid outing from him," Mackanin said. "The most important thing is to lengthen him out and raise up the pitch count."

MLB Notes: Tigers star Miguel Cabrera could return soon from back stiffness

MLB Notes: Tigers star Miguel Cabrera could return soon from back stiffness

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera could soon return to the lineup after being sidelined by back stiffness.

Cabrera has been out since leaving the Dominican Republic's game last Saturday in the World Baseball Classic.

Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said Cabrera might play Friday against Atlanta.

"Just not going to rush it," Ausmus said before Wednesday's game against Toronto. "There's no reason to rush it. He's got plenty of at-bats. We'll see how he is on Friday."

Cabrera hit .316 with 38 homers and 108 RBIs last season.

Outfielder J.D. Martinez, who sprained his right foot making a shoestring catch Saturday, is scheduled to be re-examined Friday.

Martinez hit .307 last year with 22 home runs and 68 RBIs.

Blue Jays: Bautista says he is over lower back stiffness
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista says the lower back stiffness that prevented him from playing for the Dominican Republic at the World Baseball Classic last weekend is no longer an issue.

Bautista was in the original lineup for Wednesday's spring training game against Detroit. But with an off-day Thursday, it was determined to have him play Friday instead.

"I'm feeling great," Bautista said. "I talked to the staff and it makes no sense to just kind of crank it up. Just take a day off."

Bautista is hopeful that his strong start, hitting .563 with two homers and six RBIs in six games before leaving for the WBC, will continue.

"I'm seeing the ball well and feeling good at the plate," Bautista said. "Just excited to be back in the swing of things with the guys, and looking forward to getting ready for the season” (see full story).

Twins: May has Tommy John surgery
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Minnesota Twins right-hander Trevor May has undergone Tommy John elbow surgery that will keep him off the mound this season.

The Twins announced on Wednesday that the replacement of May's torn ulnar collateral ligament was successful. The 27-year-old was transitioning back to starting, following a move to the bullpen halfway through the 2015 season.

With May's injury and their release on Tuesday of veteran right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, the Twins are down to Jose Berrios, Tyler Duffey and Adalberto Mejia in the competition for the fifth spot in the rotation.

May was placed on the 60-day disabled list, making room for the Twins to add left-hander Craig Breslow to the 40-man roster. The 36-year-old Breslow is among the finalists for a middle relief role.

Cardinals: Martinez to pitch on opening night
JUPITER, Fla. -- The St. Louis Cardinals have picked Carlos Martinez to start on opening night against the World Series champion Chicago Cubs.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told Martinez about the choice before he pitched Wednesday in an exhibition game against Washington.

The Cardinals host the NL Central rival Cubs on April 2.

Adam Wainwright had started the past four openers for the Cardinals. Matheny said Wainwright took the news well about Martinez getting the assignment this year.

The 25-year-old Martinez was an All-Star in 2015. He went 16-9 with a 3.04 ERA last year.

Yankees 7, Phillies 3: Long balls hurt Vince Velasquez; Daniel Nava auditions at first base

Yankees 7, Phillies 3: Long balls hurt Vince Velasquez; Daniel Nava auditions at first base


CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Pete Mackanin got right to the point after this one.

"Well, I wish Joe Girardi didn't bring Bird along," he said after the Phillies' 7-3 loss to the Yankees. "It would have been a different ballgame if he didn't show up."

Mackanin was referring to Greg Bird, the Yankees first baseman and owner of a sweet lefty swing that has produced six home runs this spring, including a pair on Wednesday.

Both of the home runs came on down-and-in fastballs from Vince Velasquez. On one of them, Velasquez missed his spot badly.

"Velasquez pitched better than what he gave up," Mackanin said. "He had a good fastball. He got his pitch count up and he got through six innings. We're happy about that."

Velasquez lines up to pitch the home opener on April 7.

Nava auditions at first 
Daniel Nava, fighting to make the club as a non-roster player, played the entire game at first base. He had a walk, drove in a run and made a nifty play with the glove at first.

The Phillies have a serious roster crunch. If Andrew Knapp makes the club as the backup catcher -- a strong possibility because he is already on the 40-man roster -- then Nava could be battling with Chris Coghlan and Brock Stassi for one of the final two spots on the bench. Nava and Stassi are similar in that they both play first base and outfield, so it could come down to one or the other. Both have swung the bat well this spring (see 25-man roster projection).

"I could go out there and do everything right and they could go in a different direction, and I could do everything wrong and they could want me," Nava said. "I've been in this spot numerous times so I'm just trying to control things that I can control. That's a classic cliché or phrase, but there's a reason it's a phrase because there's a lot of truth to it. I just don't look into that stuff because it's out of my control.

"They could go a lot of different ways and that's actually good because it's so far out of your control you can't worry about it.

"We have a bunch of guys here who are good players. We'll see what happens."

Up next
The Phillies host the Twins on Thursday (1:05 p.m./TCN). Aaron Nola will start.