Phils to peek at Wilson, review Hernandez's status

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Phils to peek at Wilson, review Hernandez's status

ST. LOUIS – The Phillies, on the lookout for bullpen help, will be one of a handful of teams to send a scout to watch free-agent reliever Brian Wilson throw Thursday in Los Angeles.

Wilson, 31, is recovering from Tommy John surgery. He has not pitched since April 2012.

“No stone unturned,” said GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who has spoken to a number of teams about acquiring a reliever.

The price to acquire relief help is high. That’s why Amaro wants a fresh report on Wilson. This will not be the first time the Phils have watched the bearded right-hander, Amaro said.

Amaro was asked if he had real interest in Wilson.

“I don’t know yet,” he said. “That’s why we’ll look at him.”

Wilson reached at least 30 saves with the Giants four times. He led the NL with 48 saves in 2010 and has made three NL all-star teams.

MLB checking Hernandez’s status
The Phillies have asked Major League Baseball to review Cesar Hernandez’s career record to see if he is eligible for a fourth minor-league option. Most players have three minor-league options (they exhaust one per season) once they are placed on the 40-man roster. Some players who sign at a young age are eligible for a fourth option. According to Amaro, MLB is looking at Hernandez’s time in the Venezuelan summer league in 2007 to determine if he warrants a fourth option.

“It would be helpful if he had the fourth option because we had to protect him when he was so young,” Amaro said.

If Hernandez does not get a fourth option, the Phils will have to keep him in the majors out of spring training next year or risk losing him on waivers.

Hernandez, 23, is a strong prospect at second base. He has recently begun playing the outfield as well, as the team tries to increase his versatility for a possible utility role.

Phillies prospect Dylan Cozens honored with Joe Bauman Award

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Photo courtesy of Donald Holohan

Phillies prospect Dylan Cozens honored with Joe Bauman Award

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Phillies prospect Dylan Cozens stopped by the winter meetings on Monday and left with a little something extra in his wallet.

Cozens was honored with the Joe Bauman Award, given annually to minor league baseball’s home run king. The award came with an $8,000 check -- $200 for each homer he hit in 2016.

“That will make shopping this holiday season a lot easier,” Cozens joked.

Cozens, a left-handed-hitting rightfielder, hit .276 with 40 home runs and 125 RBIs for the Double A Reading Fightin Phils. He was named Eastern League MVP. During his acceptance speech at Monday’s awards luncheon, Cozens thanked his Reading teammate, first baseman Rhys Hoskins, for pushing him to his power heights. Hoskins also had a huge season with the bat. He hit 38 homers and had 116 RBIs on his way to becoming the Eastern League’s Rookie of the Year. Night after night in Reading, Cozens and Hoskins staged a friendly power competition. At the end of the season, they shared the Paul Owens Award, given annually to the Phillies’ minor-league player of the year.
Cozens, 22, recently finished a 25-game hitch in the Dominican winter league. Despite hitting just .165 for the Aguilas club, he had four home runs – all against lefty pitching, which has been a nemesis.

Cozens, a 6-6, 250-pound behemoth, made some off-the-field news in the DR when he was involved in a pregame fight with teammate Boog Powell, a Seattle Mariners prospect. Cozens downplayed the incident.

“Just a little boys-being-boys type thing,” he said. “I feel like it was blown out of proportion like almost everything is these days. But, after it happened we became good friends. It was more the level of respect there and I’d say we’re still friends, so it’s good.”

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said the incident was in the past and would have no long-range ramifications for Cozens.

“There is no concern,” Klentak said. “Dylan is an intense kid and he plays the game really hard. That is a good thing. If you’ve watched that, you can see that in his at-bats and when he runs the bases and is running around in the outfield. That’s just his style of play. That aggressive nature at times can boil over. You hope that it doesn’t boil over into altercations with teammates. But we have no long-term concerns with that at all.”

Cozens was recently added to the 40-man roster and will be in big-league spring training camp. Though he projects to open the 2017 season at Triple A, he’s conceding nothing.

“I’m just going to go out there and try to get better, turn some heads and make people notice and hopefully get called up as soon as possible,” he said. 

Plate discipline and strike-zone management are the areas in which Cozens needs the most improvement. He struck out 186 times and walked 61 times in 134 games in 2016. Phillies officials would like to see the strikeouts come down.
 
“I’m learning how to take my walks more often, having better strike-zone judgment, maybe not chase after as many pitches,” Cozens said. “I want to be aggressive, but if they don’t want to pitch to me, just take a walk. I feel like I did not do a good job of that and it’s something I can improve on next year.”

Emily Youcis, aka 'Pistachio Girl,' fired from vendor position at Citizens Bank Park

Emily Youcis, aka 'Pistachio Girl,' fired from vendor position at Citizens Bank Park

A popular food vendor at Citizens Bank Park who supports the white nationalist movement has been fired.

Aramark, which operates food concessions at Citizens Bank Park, tells The Philadelphia Inquirer that Emily Youcis is no longer employed after "publicly connecting our company to views that contradict our values."

Youcis, aka "Pistachio Girl," tweeted Monday that she was let go last week.

Youcis was involved in a tussle last month outside the conference of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist group. Youcis tried to interview protesters, asking questions like: "Do you hate white people?" A protester spray-painted Youcis' hair and a photographer was bloodied. Some protesters were taken into police custody.

The conference drew headlines after some attendees evoked Adolf Hitler's Third Reich with cries of "Heil Trump" and use of the Nazi salute.

CSNPhilly.com added to this report.