Today's lineup: Phillies repeat opening day lineup for home opener

Today's lineup: Phillies repeat opening day lineup for home opener

The Phillies decided to repeat Monday's opening day lineup for their home opener against the Nationals.

Despite Tommy Joseph's struggles in the Phillies' opening series with the Reds, manager Pete Mackanin kept Joseph at first base, batting sixth, for the Phillies' duel with Max Scherzer on Friday afternoon (see game notes).

The only change from Monday's lineup, of course, is that Vince Velasquez will be pitching and batting ninth instead of Jeremy Hellickson. Velasquez will be making his season debut vs. a stout Nationals lineup. The third-year starter was strong over 131 innings last season and his best start came in his Citizens Bank Park debut last April 14, when he struck out 16 in a three-hit shutout.

Of today's starters for the Phillies, only Cameron Rupp has a career home run off Scherzer. Both Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera have seven hits off the 2016 National League Cy Young winner while Andres Blanco, on the bench Friday, is 5 for 14 against him with a double and a home run.

Here's the full lineup.

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Howie Kendrick, LF
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Michael Saunders, RF
6. Tommy Joseph, 1B
7. Cameron Rupp, C
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Vince Velasquez, P

And the Nationals' lineup: 

1. Trea Turner, SS
2. Adam Eaton, CF
3. Bryce Harper, RF
4. Daniel Murphy, 2B
5. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
6. Jayson Werth, LF
7. Anthony Rendon, 3B
8. Matt Wieters, C
9. Max Scherzer, P

Mets promote Tim Tebow to high Class A St. Lucie

Mets promote Tim Tebow to high Class A St. Lucie

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Tim Tebow is moving up and heading south -- to some very familiar territory.

Tebow has been promoted to the New York Mets' high Class A affiliate in St. Lucie, Florida. The 29-year-old Tebow led the University of Florida to two national championships in football and won the 2007 Heisman Trophy during his stellar career with the Gators.

"I'm not sure how much of an additional challenge it will be," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Sunday in San Francisco. "Clearly it's a step up. I certainly think he can handle it."

Tebow began his first pro baseball season with Class A Columbia, drawing huge crowds at home and wherever the Fireflies went in the South Atlantic League. He entered his final Fireflies game batting .222 with three home runs and 23 RBIs.

"I wouldn't say he has excelled there, but at the same time, what he's done there -- given all the circumstances -- justified the promotion to Port St. Lucie," Alderson said.

Phillies play wait-and-see game with Jerad Eickhoff and Howie Kendrick

Phillies play wait-and-see game with Jerad Eickhoff and Howie Kendrick

PHOENIX -- Jerad Eickhoff and Howie Kendrick both tested their achy body parts on Sunday.

Eickhoff, on the disabled list with an upper back strain, threw two 15-pitch "innings" in the bullpen and was pleased with the results.

"It felt good, no sense of pulling," he said. "We'll see how it feels tomorrow."

Eickhoff's turn in the rotation will come up Wednesday in Seattle. If he can't make the start, Mark Leiter Jr. will. Leiter pitched six shutout innings in his first big-league start on Friday night.

As for Kendrick, who is battling left hamstring tightness, he was not in the starting lineup for a fourth straight game on Sunday. He did run some sprints under the watchful eye of head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan before the game.

"He still feels it, but he's available to pinch-hit," manager Pete Mackanin said.

Is this getting close to being a situation that would require a trip to the disabled list?

"Hopefully not," Mackanin said. "Hopefully he's better tomorrow. If not, I'm hoping he can at least DH in Seattle (on Tuesday). He's one of our best hitters and I want to get him in there. But I've got to be cautious."

Kendrick already spent six weeks on the disabled list with an abdominal injury earlier this season. He's played well when healthy, hitting .355 (43 for 121) with a .414 on-base percentage in 31 games.

The Phillies need to be certain that Kendrick is healthy when they turn him loose because he could hold some trade value in the month of July and a full-blown injury would hurt that.